Friday, January 4, 2013

7 Quick Takes, Volume 11

{story of a soul, condensed}



{1} Merry Christmas!  Happy New Year!  Just like with Thanksgiving, I seem to keep missing doing Quick Takes during actual holiday weeks, so now's when I'm catching up.  Andrew and I spent the week of Christmas bouncing around between our families' and friends' houses, reading by the fire in our PJ's, eating way too much Japanese food, courtesy of my grandma, way too much Arabic food, courtesy of his, and just enjoying some rest. Here is the cookie I decorated to match Andrew's ugly Christmas sweater (see it in its full splendor here), the merry and bright star topping Andrew's grandparents' tree, Christmas Eve dinner, Palestinian style, our kraft paper wrapping job on all the presents we gave, snow, the drink tickets I made for my office party, and scenes from a birthday tea for my grandma.  It was my mom and my sister's idea to treat her, and I'm hoping it can become a yearly tradition!

{2} Remember how I told you a few weeks ago that I planned on eliminating grains from my diet for the month of January (you can read more about my reasons here)?  As a lifelong bread and pasta lover, this is admittedly a lofty goal, but I figure breaking it down into small periods of time is much more achievable and practical than giving them up cold turkey.  I plan to see how I feel after a month, and if there's a noticeable difference in my moods, my energy, and my cycle, I think I'll consider making this a more permanent change.  After a lot of holiday indulgence, it's been nice, actually, to stop eating tons of sugar, starch, and heavy meat dishes.  Our menu for the week has included black bean soup, cabbage and potato curry with cauliflower thrown in, falafel, stuffed peppers and pasta-less minstrone, Caribbean black beans (I may turn into a bean if I keep this up), and acorn squash soup (or a bowl of soup).  With the exception of my nightly bowl of popcorn, I don't miss much so far!

{3} Did you catch my Jane Austen post on Wednesday?  Much as I love her, I actually haven't read every single one of her novels (don't worry, there's only six).  One of my goals for 2013 is to read them all.  A fairly achievable, highly enjoyable pursuit, don't you think?

{4} Speaking of goals for the year, I'm trying something new.  Personally, I don't love the idea of piling tons of ambitious resolutions on yourself all at once in January, and I think that any day of the year is a fine day for deeper conversion, greater curiosity, and new habits.  Still, it really is nice to start fresh, especially, for me at least, after a lack of moderation in spending and health during November and December.  So instead of attacking all my resolutions at once, I've set kind of a project for each month, like money, decorating, spring cleaning, exploring, and blogging, that I can tackle in a more tangible, manageable way.  What do you think?  Tell me if you'd like to read about my monthly pursuits on Captive the Heart, and of course, share your resolutions here, too!

{5} Seriously, if you haven't seen Les Miserables yet, get yourself to the movies ASAP.  Run.  I was a total newcomer to the story, having never been exposed to the show onstage, and was completely blown away by the performances and by so, so many beautiful acts of love.  After you've wiped away all your tears, read Christine's article and tell me what you think.

{6} A song, from me to you: I'm a little late to the Lumineers party, I think, but can't stop listening to this.  I love recommendations--what music can't you get enough of lately?

{7} Christmas, a time for gratitude, and the start of a new year seem like a fitting time to give you some sincere, loving thanks for taking the time to read my humble little blog.  When I started Captive the Heart back in February, I wasn't really sure what I wanted this blog to be and how my posts would evolve.  Ten months later, I'm incredibly, gratefully happy to have met a community of other Catholic young women whom I wish I could meet in person and just hang out with all the time.  Your comments mean so much to me, and your prayers, your sweet words, and your own writing are such a gift to me.  From deep in my heart, thank you so much!

P.S.  I just heard yesterday that Jennifer, who hosts this linkup at Conversion Diary, was admitted to the hospital for pulmonary embolisms (lung issues, I think, in layperson's terms).  Say a prayer for her and her family.  Have a wonderful weekend!



20 comments:

  1. Your Christmas sounds lovely! I am hoping to go see Les Miserables this weekend! Have a wonderful weekend, Stephanie! :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Caitlin! I plan to spend the next few days catching up on all of your wonderful pictures from YOUR Christmas! I hope you enjoyed the movie as much as I did...wait, is that possible?!

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  2. I'm planning to do some Jane Austen reading this year myself. I was inspired by the book "All Roads Lead To Austen: A Yearlong Journey With Jane" by Amy Elizabeth Smith. I decided to read a few classics this year, ones that I have always loved or those that I have never read but always wanted too. My kindle is currently loaded up with Little House books, Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Secret Garden, Heidi, etc.

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    1. Nice! I used to try to always be reading one classic and one contemporary or spiritual book, but since I graduated college, and older literature isn't such a constant (read: homework) fixture in my life anymore, it's gotten a little harder. You're inspiring me to keep at it!

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  3. Your Christmas sounds like it was great! I am hoping to see Les Mis soon (because it is one of my absolute favorite musicals of all time). I am so excited!

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    1. Yes! So, so good. Hope you had a wonderful weekend, Emily =)

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  4. So glad you had a great Christmas, Stephanie! An annual tradition of a birthday tea for your Grandmother sounds perfect..and very special :) I love your approach to resolutions and would be all for hearing how you're tackling them each month! And I CAN'T WAIT to see Les Mis!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Deme--I completely agree with you on the tea! Today's post has more on my resolutions, and I'm considering turning it into a linkup (thoughts, anyone who's reading this?):

      http://captivetheheart.blogspot.com/2013/01/project-2013-january.html

      And yes! Get yourself to the movies, woman!

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  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Stephanie! It's nice to meet you. I've heard a couple songs by the civil wars, but I will definitely look up more of their stuff. I appreciate the recommendation! Looking forward to reading more of your blog too :-)

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    1. Absolutely. I hope you enjoyed your weekend, Laura!!

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  6. I love your plan for your resolutions and would love to read about them! Just a quick update about Jen - she has clots in both of her lungs, but is home for now and trying to treat them from home, but it is still a very scary situation! I hope you have a wonderful weekend =)

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    1. Oh wow; I keep hearing pieces of news here and there, and definitely appreciate the update. Thanks, and I hope you had a great weekend, as well!

      I posted today about my resolutions:

      http://captivetheheart.blogspot.com/2013/01/project-2013-january.html

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  7. The Happiness Project is a book about a woman who has a different resolution each month. I think it's much a better (and more effective idea) than simply placing all these expectations one one's self and then expecting to live up to them all at once! I would love to read about your different goals.

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    1. You're the second person to tell me about that book, Lianna; I'll have to look for it! Here's a little more on my monthly goals:

      http://captivetheheart.blogspot.com/2013/01/project-2013-january.html

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  8. Good luck with your Jane Austen reads! She has a way of writing that takes a bit to get used to. And all of your food creations sound delightful!

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    1. Thank you! You're right about her writing style--I love reading the classics, but I always seem to put them off in favor of something newer. Every time I pick one up, it does take a few chapters for me to immerse myself and get a sense for the tone. Hope you had a great weekend, Jiza!

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  9. I still need to see Les Mis!! I can't wait. Reading all of Jane Austen's books sounds great. I don't think I would read them all in one year, as I don't have as much time as I would like, but I loved Pride and Prejudice (it's the only one I've read or seen).

    I am also very interested in the grain-free diet. It helped my fiance's skin issues a lot when he did it this past fall. He is stronger than me!! hhaha! But I've read a lot about how it can be great for everything from skin issues to fertility. I think I could do without bread and probably even pasta, but it'd be tough to give up rice though, especially when I'm living at home. My mom's Filipino so we eat it EVERY DAY, multiple times a day. haha! But eliminating it at certain times seems like a smart way to do it. And I love Wellness Mama too. She definitely has inspired me to look into lots of my lifestyle habits and research natural alternatives.

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    1. I always think I don't have time for reading, too--I'm hoping that by setting reading goals, I can do a little better with my free time!

      And ohh, do I hear you on the grains. My mom is actually Filipino, too, though my family isn't huge rice-eaters, but I am SUCH a bread and pasta girl! I figure that if I approach these things moderately, and for the right reasons, it's all purification, right?

      Congrats on your engagement!!

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  10. Oh that Jane Austen. So hard to choose a favorite though! (Also, reading them all in one year is totally do-able. Last year I read all but Sense & Sensibility (not free on the Kindle...so weird) in just a few months.)

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    1. You're giving me hope! Thanks for reading, Meghan!

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