Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Report Card- December 2013

The end of a month and the end of a year. My resolution results? Not so good. Fun levels this month… sky high!

Read or Re-Read at least 10 books

So apparently I only really needed nine books to complete my year goal of fifty books so I'm not sure why I made a ten book goal. So forgive me that I only read nine books, that was hard enough. My reading was very lazy this month. It took me most of the month to read Vanity Fair as I just didn't find it riveting enough. I really should have started another book while I was reading it but I didn't. So with just a few days left in the month, I picked up my old favorites The Homeschool Detective series and whipped through those quite skinny books. Going back and rereading them now, I realize they aren't so amazing as I used to think they were. However, they are still fun books. 

Read Proverbs

Completed! I had a crazy time completing it. The ESV bible app that I always read on kept crashing all of the time so I couldn't read it for awhile and I was too lazy to actually open my real bible so I had to wait until the app was updated before I kept reading so I kind of crammed it at the end. However, it was a really good read and I'm glad I finished it. 

Memorize Psalm 31

I kind of forgot about that. However, it is going into my future resolutions! 

Pray Daily

I was really good about praying every evening at bedtime at the beginning of the month and then I tapered off towards the end. 

Two Blog posts per week

Except for one week which I think was in the middle of studying for finals I did it! I wrote about a wide  variety of topics and you should definitely check those posts out. They were fun to write. 

Looking back over my year of resolutions and report cards I am sort of disgusted with myself. I know I work ten times harder on my school then I do on these resolutions and some of them (praying, reading my bible, memorizing scripture) are far more important than my school. I need to take these resolutions more seriously. I have a very disorganized life, which is mostly my own disorganized doing, and these resolutions have helped me keep some more sanity in it however I still haven't done nearly as well as I could. Hopefully this next year will see some improvements. Tomorrow I'll post next month's resolutions as well as first ever New Year's Resolutions! Thank you blog readers for keeping with me this year and I look forward to the next! 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Movie Review- Mansfield Park (2007)

The things I do for my blog! Next time you want to know if a Jane Austen adaptation is good you might as well look here because unfortunately I've just about watched them all… the good, the bad, and the ugly. The 2007 version of Mansfield Park was the ugly. I almost disliked it as much as the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice… and you guys know how much I hate that movie. I really don't know where to start on my review of it… there was so much done wrong and then there was parts that were done right and wrong. It was a mess!
First off, let me state that this was an hour and a half long movie and obviously with that time limit justice can not eve nearly be done to the book. A lot of things were left out therefore including the Grants, Fanny's visit to her family, the visit to Sotherton and Mr. Yates.

Characters

A lot was done wrong here… a lot. Mistake #1… casting Billie Piper as Fanny Price. What? Not only was it a miscast but the whole screenwriting for Fanny was just wrong anyways. Fanny comes off in the movie not meek, kind, and selfless as in the book but more outgoing, opinionated at times, and not selfless. Fanny also practically flirts with Edmund on several occasions, which she would not have done! The character of Fanny alone ruins the movie. Edmund was okay… but really not. The actor was fine for the part, but again the screenwriting messed him up. Lady Bertram was not shown as the selfish almost invalid character that she is in the book but she is far more alert and actually encourages the match of Fanny and Edmund. Mrs. Norris is not really explained at all, she is just there at Mansfield Park. She wasn't the best cast but I think with more screen time and better writing she might have done the part justice. Sir Thomas was far too grouchy and apparently, according to Fanny in the movie, there was a cloud lifted from Mansfield when he left on his trip to Antigua. That is NOT how it is in the book. The Crawfords, Tom, and the Bertram sisters were cast well I think and did there parts as much justice as the screenwriting and time constraints allowed. I would have been interested in seeing them with a better script and more time. As with Mrs. Norris, the Crawfords were kind of just dropped in the story and never really explained. 

Screenwriting

As I mentioned multiple times above, the screenwriting left a lot to be desired. The time constraints were ridiculous so that obviously made the screenwriting harder but really? I think even I could have written a better screenplay for an hour and a half version of Manfield Park… though I wouldn't… I would make it much longer than that! What was left out; the Grants, Fany's visit to her family, the visit to Sotherton, and Mr. Yates, was I think left out necessarily with the time constraints but not very smoothly. One thing I don't think they should have left out was Sotherton. A lot happens there that is important in my opinion. Pretty much all of Fanny's lines were not right for her character and the same goes for several other of the characters. 

The Play

One of the pivotal parts of the story is the play, Lover's Vows, which they decide to put on while Sir Thomas is in Antigua. It is NOT pulled off well and not enough time (once again) is given to it. Mary Crawford really goads Edmund into taking the part, which was shocking and I'm surprised that Edmund took it after that. Also, the way the movie portrayed it, it seemed as if he was only taking it so he could make love to her in the play. What irks me the most though about the play was the fact that Fanny does agree to act in it! That just blows my mind. They missed the whole point doing that! 

Other

It was too romancy. Way too much! Edmund and Mary Crawford almost kiss when rehearsing their lines for the play and (now this really upsets me too) Fanny and Mr. Crawford almost kiss! What?

The more I think about it the more this movie upsets me. It will go down in my memory as one of the worst Jane Austen film adaptations I've ever seen. It actually really made me appreciate the 1983 version and I think that you should all just go read the book and then if you want an okay movie version to watch then watch that one and do not ever waste an hour and a half (as I did) on this atrocious movie! 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Movie Review- Mansfield Park (1983)

Mansfield Park is probably my third favorite of Jane Austen's novels behind Pride and Prejudice, and Persuasion. The heroine in it is very quiet, very sweet, very humble, very selfless and very ill-used for it. As far as Austen's character goes that I most wish I could be like, it wouldn't be Lizzy Bennett, it would be Fanny Price. Realistically, I think I have a better chance of being like any other of Austen's characters, but if I could be like any of her characters, it would be Fanny. Fanny's reserved qualities make her very hard to portray on screen and really I am not sure if it should be attempted. There are two other adaptations that I know of besides this one which in short neither are good. This one is better, but still fails in some aspects.

Characters

The casting was good. Not great, but good. The Fanny was okay, but really I don't think her's is a character that can be portrayed on screen correctly. The Edmund was good but too old I think. I really liked the Mrs. Norris, in that I thoroughly detested her as you are supposed to and I also that Lady Bertram was done quite well. The rest of the casting was adequate. 

Other

The storyline was pulled off well enough. It was a BBC drama and I have a lot of the same complaints about it as I do with the 1980 Pride and Prejudice BBC drama. The scenery is too dark, production quality less than good, scenes somewhat disjointed, and the lines more quoted than acted. 

It's hard to put into words how I felt about this version. It is the better version to watch. It's not as exciting as the other versions but it's truer to the book. However, the long and short of it is that I do not think there will ever be a good film version of Mansfield Park, it just isn't meant to be a film. It is an amazing book though so I recommend you to read it and then try this film out. 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Friday, December 27, 2013

My Christmas!

My sparkling grape juice from the Christmas dinner.
I had fun texting this picture to my friends and saying,
"Look what I'm drinking!" Unfortunately though they
had the brains to figure that one out. ;)
My Christmas was amazing thanks for asking! Oh… you didn't ask? Well that's never stopped me from telling. ;)
My family spent our Christmas up in Minnesota with my mom's side of the family. She had seven (now six) brothers and sisters so there's plenty of them. I had a great time catching up with all of the relatives. I only see them once a year so I try to milk every moment I'm with them for all it's worth. We had a great Christmas dinner at my grandparents' assisted living home and then went to my aunts for Christmas goodies, games, conversation, and general fun. We played Funglish and Apples to Apples and had way to much fun doing so. :) I even won at Apples to Apples, which never happens! All in all it was a great time though not without some heartache. I know the years are wearing on my grandparents and my fear is always that this trip might be my last one to see them alive. However, it doesn't do any good to dwell on that. I need to take those moments I have with them and fill them with all I have to offer. My grandpa here in Kansas tells me that when he was young he thought life would never end, but now that he's older he realizes that it just flew by and that it's drawing to a close. So my closing thought to you is that you don't waste your life because it's going to catch up with you and you're going to look back and you'll wish you could have spent your life differently. So use your life, use it for the glory of God so that you may enjoy Him forever!
Merry Christmas! 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Top 5 Favorite Christmas Songs (With Honorable Mentions!)

I hate making top lists. I always realize later that I left a favorite out! However, here, with the best of my ability and memory, are my top five favorite Christmas songs in no particular order. I've provided links to some of my favorite versions but there are several of them that I haven't just because I can't think of a version I've seen on YouTube (or at least one that really stuck out to me)… though I'm sure there's some great ones out there.

  1. Oh Holy Night- listen to Celtic Woman's version here and here (I honestly can't see any difference in these, just different performances… but why not listen to it twice?). Orla Fallon and Méav ní Mhaolcatha (previously of Celtic Woman) had an incredible version they did as well but I haven't been able to find it on YouTube recently. 
  2. The Hallelujah Chorus (that's considered Christmas right?)- listen to this great production of the  timeless classic! 
  3. O Come, O Come Emmanuel- Listen to Orla Fallon's version… absolutely captivating! 
  4. Angles We Have Heard on High- There's the Piano Guy's version… but they don't exactly sing it. :) 
  5. Go Tell it on the Mountain
And because I feel like that list is severely lacking… here are some honorable mentions. :)

And, I never used to like this song but Celtic Woman made me like it…. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear. Listen to their version here

Also, kind of a joke but… The Twelve Days of Christmas. You have to admit, you feel an amazing sense of accomplishment after signing that whole song. 

By now I'm sure you've seen the Celtic Woman theme… yeah, I'm kind of a fan. :)

Linking up with Mama Kat!
Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fun (and not so fun) Happenings

I write this post from the couch at 3:30 in the afternoon. Why? I am sick, miserably sick. Two afternoons ago I started getting a sore throat and headache and by the evening I was have muscle aches and was shivering. I have been able to get fairly good sleep and mostly have just been laying around. They say rest is the best medicine. :) I've been drinking a lot of tea to keep me going and some chicken broth too.
My new flavors of tea. The pumpkin one is amazing!
Last Saturday we celebrate my grandma's 80th birthday. I doubt last year she could have guessed she would spend it in a wheelchair unable to speak. However, nothing ever really goes how we plan does it? I think we can always be comforted though that everything goes how God planned. Since there was family in town to celebrate the birthday, I was able to have a great time with them and gets lots of laughs in. I also got to shoot a gun for the first time which excited me a lot! :) I forgot to wear my glasses, which didn't help anything. I am though using it as an excuse for my bad aim! My cousin had a board set up with three targets. I aimed for the middle one and hit the left one. :(
Shooting a gun for the first time. 
We also got to sing some Christmas carols with my grandparents. It's so encouraging to sing a favorite of my grandmother's tunes and see her singing along (I'm not sure if she's singing or mouthing to be honest). Since my cousins are from Michigan so have a long trip to make, we went ahead and celebrate Christmas so they wouldn't have to come back for that. I got my own copy of the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice which made me very happy as that is my favorite movie. :) My sweet cousin also made me a gorgeous turquoise colored bag! I'd say I'm pretty happy with my gifts! :)
While I've been sick I've been watching a lot of movies. I watched an old black and white movie with Ginger Rogers and David Niven called Bachelor Mother which was quite funny and pretty good. :) I also watched the 1983 BBC miniseries of Mansfield Park which is okay… I'll right a full review of it soon. I also have been watching a bunch of Disneys that I was never allowed to watch as a child or I only watched once a long time ago and don't remember. I have been discovering that there were very good reasons my siblings and I weren't allowed to watch them. Expect reviews on those in the future as well.
That's all for now. Hope you all are having a great day and that you'll have an amazing Christmas with your family and friends. Merry Christmas! :)

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Must Haves

Today I'm linking up with MamaKat to talk about Christmas must haves.
I think the most important thing to have at Christmas is family. I can't remember a Christmas I didn't spend with family, immediate and extended normally. For me, family is part of what makes Christmas Christmas.
Next important things would be the music, the Christmas goodies (which are a big tradition in my family), and our stocking ornaments. Stocking ornaments you ask? Well every year for a very long time my mother has gotten all of the children an ornament and put it in our stockings. If you're old like me ;) then you have quite a few ornaments by now, so a great collection built up for when you have your own Christmas tree. Those ornaments are very traditional for me and I look forward to finding out what ornament my mother got for me more than I look forward to opening in my presents.
So those are my Christmas must haves. Obviously, the ultimate must have for Christmas that too often we take for granted is Jesus. Without Him there wouldn't be a Christmas and it is important to never forget that. Corny I know but remember the saying, "You can't take the Christ out of Christmas".

P.S. If you haven't liked my blog's Facebook page be sure to do so! The link is in the bar on the right hand side.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Goodbye First Semester of Nursing School!

I know that I woefully neglected my blog past week but I was incredibly busy preparing for my nursing final and my Grandma ended up in the hospital as well (she's fine now). However, I am very happy to say that I am finished with my first semester of nursing school! It's been a really crazy semester and lots of fun but I am so glad to be done. There's so much that I want and, more importantly, need to get done before school starts up again and I'm guessing that I'll be lucky if I get half of it done judging from past breaks. I spent yesterday afternoon after my final watching a lot of Doctor Who, as I had stopped two weeks ago after the end of the fifth season so I could focus on studying. Today I managed to not wake up until about 1:30… I didn't set my alarm and when one lives only with a sister who works until midnight so naturally sleeps in always, you can sleep for a very long time. Who knows how much longer I would have slept if my sister hadn't woken me up. Because I slept away valuable Doctor Who watching time, I have only been able to watch two episodes today so far. Instead I have been doing the many dishes that accumulated whilst I was studying, cleaning up my room, and doing laundry. There's so much more I need to do besides that but I'll get there. I have family coming on Friday so I have to get my house all spiffed up before then.
I'll just close with a little list of things I want to get done over the break. :)

  1. Write on my book… because I have not done any writing since starting nursing school. 
  2. Read a lot… because I should and because I'll have the time, and most importantly BECAUSE I LOVE READING!!!
  3. Finish all current episodes of Doctor Who…. because I'll have the time, and because it's awesome. :) 
  4. Crochet something… because I'll have time. 
Notice how those all are "because I'll have the time"… yet I imagine that despite my having the time, the only one that is for sure going to get done is the Doctor Who one…. :)

P.S. If you haven't liked my blog's Facebook page be sure to do so! The link is in the bar on the right hand side. :)

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Monthly Resolutions- December 2013

There was a reason that I always put the year with the month on the titles of these posts, because I know that there would come a month when I realized that I had been doing this for a WHOLE YEAR! Yes indeed, I've been making monthly resolutions for a year now and I have loved every minute of it! It has kept me far more accountable and has set me up for hopefully making some yearly goals in the future. So here are my resolutions this month.

Read or Re-Read at least 10 Books

I just need ten more books to complete my year's goal of 50 books. With just a couple of more weeks left of school that will leave me plenty of time to read (as long as I don't do a marathon of Doctor Who). ;) 

Read Proverbs

With 31 chapters, that doesn't give me much leeway in my normal read one chapter an evening schedule. I think this will be a really great book for me to re-read and hopefully garner some new wisdom from.

MEMORIZE PSALM 31

Once I'm done with the school semester then I might actually have the time and brain space to do this. 

Pray Daily

I need to stop making excuses and start doing this. This shouldn't be so difficult. 

TWO blog posts per week

Shaking it up! I'm going to be giving you two blog posts per week. So more witticisms, more recipes, and more ME!!!! ;) 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Report Card- November 2013

It was a really crazy month for school, with three tests and another one to prepare for right at the beginning of December. However, I made it through the craziness without completely losing it. So did my resolutions get completed amongst all of the hecticness? Continue reading to find out. :)

Read the Johns, Jude, and Revelations

Completed! Now that I've finished with the new testament I'm not sure what I'm going to read next. Probably Proverbs or Psalms, or maybe both… at the same time! ;)

Read or Re-Read at least 10 books

After I finished Wives and Daughters. I did a marathon reading where I read the last quarter of
it in one afternoon… which was no small chunk. 
I read A LOT to get this goal completed. However, I did complete it! I read The Practice of the Presence of God  by Brother Lawrence, Freddy the Pied Piper and Freddy the Cowboy by Walter Brooks, Hunted and Harried  by R.M. Ballantyne, The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges, Praying Successfully by Charles Spurgeon, Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (Started in previous months but finished this month), and The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton (Started in previous months but finished this month). I re-read Frank Perretti's This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. I recommend all of those books, especially Wives and Daughters. If you've seen and enjoyed the mini-series based off the book, you'll want to read the book too. This is actually only these second time I've made a goal of ten books for the month and made it. 

Write a blog post per week

I overachieved on this one. That's okay though, y'all just love reading my blog posts anyways that you liked having extra ones… right? ;)

Pray Daily

I did the worst on this I've ever done since making this goal. I'm not sure there were more than a handful of days that I prayed. There were really no excuses and I need to get my act together about that. 

Study

In some ways I think I did really well on studying in other ways not so much. For my last unit test I think I did okay studying on. For my pharmacology test, I think I did great studying on! There was a lot of pressure with that test though as there were only 25 questions and I had to get a 75% or better or retake the test until I did. If I couldn't pass the test I didn't pass the class. Oh yes… and I had to know 50 drugs… six facts about each drug… for a total of 300 facts. Thankfully though I passed the first time. 

Memorize some scripture

Nope. I kept reminding myself, and then forgetting over and over again. I had so much else to cram in my head though that maybe it just wasn't a good month to add this in.

So so this month. 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

10 Best Things About Being a Kid

Once again I'm linking up with Mama Kat for a post… she always has such fun prompts. :) Today's prompt is the ten best things about being a kid. Since I'm just out of childhood I'm quite in the know… I assure you. All joking aside though, there are seriously some things about childhood that were amazing that I'm missing right now.

  1. Number one to me is clearly the fact that I always thought that parents/grownups knew what was going on and that they could always take care of it. I've grown up….
  2. Being outside all day long… okay, not all day long but just about in the summer. Back then I didn't burn either, I just tanned. Now I burn… badly! 
  3. I didn't gain weight. When I was a kid I was as skinny as a stick… I seriously didn't gain weight. Those were the days.
  4. I was never the driver. I really just don't like driving and I long for the days when the suggestion that Lois should drive would be laughable. 
  5. I always believed people… or at the worst they were just joking. Life isn't so simple anymore. People lie, people bend the truth, and unfortunately you can't just take people at their face value. I find this really, really sad and it frustrates me a lot. 
  6. It didn't matter if you didn't know what to say or said something stupid. Actually, when your a kid, it's cute so you'd get bonus points. 
  7. Your decisions didn't make a big impact on where your life was going… normally. Honestly though, you didn't make a lot of decisions, your parents did… and that was nice… really nice. 
  8. School wasn't a big deal… if you didn't do so well, then it was retaught and you try again. There weren't any "bad grades" or "fails". Actually though, that might just be partly me being homeschooled. Not to say I didn't take school seriously as a kid, but compared to now, it's very different. 
  9. There weren't all of the electronic distractions. I read a lot but now I play around with my phone, or my computer instead. Pretty much always less edifying then a good book. 
  10. Just wrapping everything up, I'd say last but not least, the whole innocence of childhood. Not to say children are innocent by any stretch of the imagination. You only have to spend a few minutes with a five year old to know the mischief they can let loose. What I mean is the little bubble I was in of no major responsibilities. With everything that goes on in my life anymore, from school to work to family I long for the days when it wasn't my responsibility and I need not worry about it. 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Vlog- What I'm Hoping to Wear for Thanksgiving

Today I'm linking up with Mama Kat for my very first vlog post. If you have trouble viewing the video please let me know. As I said this is my first time and add in that I'm technologically deficient and I wouldn't be surprised if the result is that the video doesn't work right. ;) Enjoy! 





Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Weather Outside is Frightful!

The sheep ornament I made for the Jesse tree.
There is little that annoys me more than anything Christmas before Thanksgiving. However, against my nature, I actually have been doing a little Christmas stuff recently. I want to blame it on the frigid weather. It has been below freezing pretty much every night and sometimes all through the day for the last week or so. With such cold weather and us finally lighting our wood burning stove, how can I not think Christmas thoughts? I even went so far as to watch a Christmas movie yesterday!

I got to participate in a Jesse Tree project through my church. Twenty-five of us ladies each made 25 different ornaments for the Jesse Tree and then exchanged them so that everyone had one of each ornament for their tree. We signed up do it last winter with the idea that we would have a whole year to complete them…. yeah, not me. The college student said "procrastinate" and I did. About three weeks before they needed to be completed I started thinking about making my sheep ornaments. I looked at crochet patterns (as I planned on crocheting them) online and couldn't find anything that I really liked except for patterns for purchase. So I ended up creating my own pattern from the different pictures I had seen and I really like how it turned out. About two weeks before I needed to have them ready I decided to start working on them… slowly, but surely! About a week before they were due I started panicking as I only had about half of them done and that was half done without heads or legs yet. Procastinater till the end, I ended up finishing them up about three hours before they were due with the help of my little sister and mother. I never could have done it without them. :)

Another Christmasy project I completed was to pack a couple shoeboxes for Operation Christmas child. I try to do a couple every year… I don't always, but I try. This year I included a note with my address so hopefully I'll hear back from the children that get my shoeboxes!

However, on a more Thanksgiving note, I am finally on Thanksgiving break! I had a pharmacology test this morning for nursing that I did well on. I have been freaking out about this test all semester long so I'm glad it's finally done. I wish I could kick back and relax over this little break but I have another test right after the break so I will have to do some studying. :( However I won't spend the whole time studying, probably I won't spend enough time studying. I'm looking forward to spending some time with family and enjoying a great Thanksgiving dinner. What are you doing for Thanksgiving? Have you divulged in a little Christmas spirit yet or are you a Scrooge like me? ;)

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Eight Must Read Books

Today I am linking up again with Mama Kat to talk about eight books that I believe everyone should read in their lifetime. Before I list them, this is just my opinion, there are a lot of books I haven't read, so take it as it is. Some of them, I list one book, but I like all the books by that author so kind of think of it as a set of books. :) Please comment and let me know what books you would put on your list of must reads!

The Bible

As a Christian I obviously consider this to be a must read. It is the word of God and it shows us His will for our lives. I am given to understand, that even non-Christians consider it to be a "good book". 

Pride and Prejudice

Of course… y'all know it's my favorite book. I think all of Jane Austen's books have a lot to teach about human nature. Some of my favorite aspects of her books are how she shows who people really are by what they say, the relationships that she creates between people (not necessarily romantic but also familial) and her strong sense of right and wrong. In Pride and Prejudice, I especially love the witty lines and how it portrays the relationship between Elizabeth and her father. I love all of Austen's other books but especially Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. 

The Lord of the Rings

Another of my very favorites. In this book Tolkien created an incredible whole new world that is breathtakingly beautiful from the majesty of Minias Tirith to the simpleness of the Shire. I also enjoyed The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion. 

David Copperfield

Dickens is considered one of the greatest authors in history. His characters and stories are timeless. David Copperfield isn't my favorite Dickens but I do think it is probably his best. I also enjoy Bleak House, Nicholas Nickleby and Dombey and Son. I know Great Expectations is also considered very great but I watched the movie when I was young and Miss Havishman freaked me out so I couldn't enjoy the book as much after that. 

To Kill a Mockingbird

To be honest, I've only read this once, and I don't very clearly remember the book… though I do remember liking it. However, I very vividly remember the movie as one of my favorite movies ever. This is a great story that goes deeply into issues that still face the world today. 

The Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechism

This made a big impact in my life when I read it during high school as it helped me understand a lot more about what I believe and why it is true. I believe it to be a great tool to help Christians understand what the Bible says… though definitely not a substitute for the Bible.

Killer Angels

I thought I should include something historical as well and I consider this to be one of my very favorite historical novels. It concerns the War between the States. One of my favorite aspects of it is how it shows both sides of the war, allowing you to see and sympathize with the various historical figures. 

The Taming of the Shrew

Okay… this probably isn't Shakespeare's best or most famous… but it's my favorite of his works and I thought some Shakespeare should be included on this list because, well, he is kind of an famous and impactful author. I enjoy his other writings as well… especially Much Ado about Nothing

This was an incredibly hard list to make. I had to not think only of what my favorite books are, but what are books that I think important to read. Obviously this isn't an exhaustive list, as there are so many other great books out there that I would highly encourage people to read, but I think this is a good start with a mix of fun and humorous to serious and thought provoking. Again, please comment and let me know what you would consider the the top eight books everyone should read in their lifetime.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Meaning of My Name

Today I’m linking up with Mama Kat to tell you about the meaning of my name and whether or not if fits my personality. First off, a little history about my name. I was NOT named after Lois Lane and you do not get bonus points for referencing Lois Lane with me… you get negative points. I’ve just heard it a few times too many. I WAS named after the Lois from the bible. 2 Timothy 1:5 is the only place my name is in the bible. It reads, “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure it is in you as well.” So really we don’t know much about Lois except that she had a sincere faith… which is really what is important anyways. ☺ So what does Lois mean? Battle Maiden! When I was younger and a very ardent tomboy I milked that meaning for all it was worth. I’ve kind of grown past that stage now, don’t worry. Now, though, looking at that meaning at first glance I would say “no, definitely not me.” However, I believe if you look deeper into the meaning, you can take something else away from it then swords, knights, and war in the traditional sense. Now, I look at the meaning and know that Lois means Battle Maiden, and realize that I am a battle maiden, fighting for God’s truth daily with my mind and my words. This also really fits well with the little we know of the Lois in the bible that I was named after. So I am Lois, Battle Maiden of the Lord. ☺
Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Book Review- The Pursuit of God

Recently I read A.W. Tozer's The Pursuit of God. I downloaded it on my Kindle last spring and then never looked at it again. However, when I finished up The History of the Lord of the Rings I suddenly found myself at school with no book on hand to read (well technically I guess I did because I was in a library but that's beside the point). So I looked through what I had on my Kindle and saw The Pursuit of God and decided to read it. I really didn't know anything about it before I read it. I had just heard the title recommended before and it was a free download so I thought why not?

First off, I really, really enjoyed the book. It is quite short, but is packed with as much wisdom and truth as books twice its length. The great thing about it was that despite being quite theologically deep, it was still easy to read. I am glad I read it on my phone as I do not as a rule mark up books. However, with reading it on my phone I could highlight to my heart's content… and I did. Unfortunately, my not very tech savvy self didn't figure out to highlight until halfway through the book so I'll have to re-read it to make sure I highlight all I wanted to… oh rats! ;) Since, I did highlight so much, I am providing you with some great quotes from it. I hope they inspire you to read it and that you will enjoy it as much as I did. If you've read it before you'll know that there are many great quotes that I left out… some because they needed a whole lot more context to understand what they're saying and others because, there were just too many!

"Promoting self under the guise of promoting Christ is currently so common as to excite little notice."
""In the beginning God."Not matter, for matter is not self-causing. It requires an antecedent cause, and God is that cause. In the beginning God, the uncaused Cause of matter, mind and law. There we must begin."

"Important as it is that we recognize God working in us, I would yet warn against a too great preoccupation with the thought. It is a sure road to sterile passivity. God will not hold us responsible to understand the mysteries of election, predestination and the divine sovereignty. The best and safest way to deal with these truths is to raise our eyes to God and in deepest reverence say, "O Lord, Thou Knowest." Those things belong to the deep and mysterious Profound of God's omniscience. Prying into them may make theologians but it will never make saints." 

"God never made salvation depend upon new moons nor holy days or sabbaths. A man is not nearer to Christ on Easter Sunday than he is, say, on Saturday, August 3, or Monday October 4. As long as Christ sits on the mediatorial throne every day is a good day and all day are days of salvation." 

"Let us practice the fine art of making every work a priestly ministration. Let us believe that God is in all our simple deeds and learn to find him there."

"Let every man abide in the calling wherein he is called and his work will be as sacred as the work of the ministry." 

Such great quotes! If for any reason you are confused by what they say… sometimes you need context but I tried to only continue the ones that didn't... then contact me and I can try and explain them to you. If you are confused by them theologically, well I can try and explain them to you then too. Final point…. read the book! :)

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Monthly Resolutions- November 2013

I have two tests this month! One this coming Monday and one right after Thanksgiving (if ever I am a teacher I will NEVER do that to my students). Prayers appreciated! :)
So resolutions!

Read the Johns, Jude, and Revelation

Read or Re-Read at least 10 books

Why so many? Well way back in the day (otherwise known as the beginning of the year) I made a goal on Goodreads to read 50 books… I have currently read only thirty so if I want to complete that goal I need to read twenty more books… ten this month and ten next month. It's really just a simple matter of mathematics. ;) The math may be simple but me reading that many books with this busy of a schedule isn't so simple. However, that's what I'm going to have to do so bring it on!
For fun, I made a deal with two of my little siblings this evening. They each picked me out a book to read and I picked them each out a book to read and we have until next Saturday at midnight to complete them. It really just started out as a ploy to get my sister to read a harder book but it turned out giving me two books I have to finish by the end of next week. Not hard books, but still. To make sure we actually get it done, if you don't finish your books, you give the other person a pack of gum (we're kind of gumaholics in our family so gum is our currency of choice). 

Write a blog post per week

Pray Daily

Failed last month but doing it this month. I remember last November and I've seen it popping up this November too people were daily posting things they were thankful for on Facebook. I want to incorporate that into my prayer time as well… taking the time to thank God for all he has given me. 

Study

Two tests… I've got to study. :)

Memorize some scripture

I'm thinking Psalm 31 but I'm also thinking that there is no way I'll get the whole of that memorized in a month… so my goal is at least to get started on it… a few verses or something. 

No free time this month!
Linking up with Keli at She Learns as She Goes

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Monthly Report Card- October 2013

It's been a crazy, long yet short October. Yesterday was Reformation Day. Normally my family would have a cookout and read the story of Martin Luther but it's been raining for the last few days so that didn't happen. However, we were able to watch half of the movie Luther instead. Does your family have any Reformation Day traditions?
So resolutions…. yeah…

Read through Philemon, Hebrews, James, and 1&2 Peter-A

Yes I did! I had a freak out moment where I thought I was supposed to get through the Johns as well and started reading 1 John but then I looked at my resolutions again and realized it was not so. :)

Read or Re-read at least three books-A

Achieved…. just barely. I read The Pursuit of God, The End of the Third Age,  and Mere Christianity. If you know anything about those books you'll know they're very skinny short books. Kind of wimpy reading this month but at least I read! HOWEVER, do not underestimate those books! They were all very good, especially The Pursuit of God. I highly recommend it. 

Write a blog post per week-A

Achieved! Probably not very interesting posts but one can't ask for everything now can they?

Pray Daily-F

When I say F I mean F. It was a failure in the highest extent. Need to whip that goal back into shape next month!

Study!-C

I don't feel like I did so well the first half of the month but the second half I did better. I had a conversation with my tutor from A&P/Microbiology/Pathophysiology (best tutor ever) and she told me more or less I needed to get my act together and work harder if I wanted to do well. I needed that. She's the best. :)

Stay more organized-A

I think I did quite well with that. I have some gel pens now that I have way to much fun using to write in assignments and stuff in my calendar. :) 

Keep up with my Spanish-C

Okay… I ended up stopping getting the Spanish devotionals as they were beginning to clutter up my inbox as I never had time to get to them. So not so good. Maybe someday when I have more time (like that's ever going to happen). 

Not too terribly this months for goals but room for improvement. It's been incredibly busy and I really didn't make it any better by deciding to start watching Doctor Who (which is amazing and you should become obsessed with it too). However, I made a very mature decision to not start the next season until my next test is over… which is this coming Monday so I really don't have to wait that long but it seems like a long time to me. Does anyone know the Doctor Who withdrawal symptoms? I'm pretty sure I'm experiencing some… anxiety, depression, moodiness…. ;)

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Happy and Hopeful

I was thinking about writing a negative post about all of the things wrong with the world right now... not just my little world but the world in general... you know what I mean. However, I figured since there was enough negativity going around without me contributing I'd post something happy and hopeful. :) So since I normally like to think about the negative things in life, I'm going to counter that by posting five positive things going on in my life right now (besides the "still alive", "have a great family", ect. ones). Comment on what is positive in your life right now!

  1. I have a really great prayer group that meets weekly that has not only helped me with prayer but also just support and friendship. After our hour or so of prayer we will talk afterwards, catch up on how we're all doing, talk about books, movies, ect. and I absolutely love it! It's a really great time to just wind down as I spend some time with God and then some time with my fellow Christians. 
  2. I didn't fail my return demonstrations (have to do it in front of a teacher) for NG tube insertion and catheter insertion. For me that's a big deal as I always think I'm going to fail everything. 
  3. I can now drink my coffee black. For me that's positive as I never used to and I would dump a heart attack's worth of sugar and creamer in it. No more! That's what being an nursing student does to you... I want every spare centimeter of my cup to be full of pure black coffee.
  4. I have an electric blanket to snuggle up in at night. Since I'm always cold this is very important to me as it is absolutely frigid in my house every night.
  5. And finally but certainly not lastly I JUST STARTED WATCHING DOCTOR WHO AND IT'S ABSOLUTELY AMAZING AND EVERYONE NEEDS TO WATCH IT!!!!!!! :)

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Certified Tolkien Geek


Yep! Certifiable! This past week I finished The History of the Lord of the Rings, which is all of the drafts and notes of JRR Tolkien for The Lord of the Rings compiled by his son Christopher Tolkien. When I returned them to the person I borrowed them from he told me that he thought that I could get the certificate of Tolkien geekdom now. So I'm taking it. While there's so much more I want to read and re-read from Tolkien I would say I've tipped into the certifiable geekdom realm. So I made myself a certificate and I am going to print it out and carry it around with me all the time so all shall know.


Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Little Bit of Everything (Especially Memes)

I know you were concerned that I wouldn't have a blog posts this week and that therefore your week would be woefully incomplete! I didn't want your week to be woefully incomplete so I am giving you a blog post. :) As mentioned in the title, this blog post will just have a little bit about everything (especially memes). So brace yourself!

School

Not going as well as I want it to but it's going. We started clinicals recently and I'm surprisingly really enjoying them. I am giving you some nursing memes today that are pretty good. :)







Tea

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've kind of been in the tea drinking mood recently. I bought some tea actually... haven't bought any in awhile. I now have two different chai teas (one black and one green), an herbal ginger tea, and a blueberry acai green tea. They're all really delicious! I also have some tea memes for you! 



Blogging

You may have noticed I added a whole bunch more tags to my blog posts. This is for two reasons, one to make it easier for y'all to find a post on a specific topic, and two, I'm given to understand it increases blog readership if you have a bunch of tags as the tags are used as keywords in searches... or something like that. I even have a blogging meme for you today! 

And just a couple more random memes to brighten up your day! :)



P.S. Notice my new blog layout? How do you like it? My brother is taking a HTML CSS class and he put the border around the date header. By the time he's done with his class I'll really have some fancy stuff on here. :)

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Not Romance

I know this has been bothering you for a long time. It probably haunts you at night and most certainly infests your daydreams. At first it wasn't too bad. You only occasionally woke up in a cold sweat screaming "Austen... romance?" Then it got worse. Every time you blinked your eyes the image of Pride and Prejudice came closer... and closer.
That is why I write this blog post, that is why you are here. To alleviate all of your deeply set worries once and for all. Jane Austen's novels are NOT, and NEVER will be romance novels.
Granted, there is romance in the novels and they are kind of a running theme in each of her books but they aren't the only theme. At this point I'd also like to say that I don't mind a little romance.  However, when it comes to Jane Austen I believe that there is a lot more than a romantic theme running through her books or else they wouldn't be what they are.  What I first think of are the witty lines and overall great writing.  Everything about how Austen writes is amazing (almost inconceivable)! With her words she paints such incredible characters that you will come to love, hate, or there are sometimes those characters that you really aren't sure about your feelings toward them (Mrs. Bennett, Mrs. Jennings, Miss Bates and Lady Bertram come to mind).  I guess that sentence kind of transcended into my next thought about the great characters in Austen's novels. Some of my favorite literary characters come from Austen's novels: Elizabeth Bennett, Mr. Knightley, Henry Tilney, Anne Elliot, Fanny Price, Colonel Brandon, Mr. Darcy and then moving on to secondary characters that I also love: Mr. Bennett (despite his failings), Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, Eleanor Tilney, Anne Taylor and even though I don't like him he will forever crack me up- Mr. Collins. When it comes to Austen there is also the morals that she brings into every story. Her heroes and heroines are not perfect and spotless; they struggled with the same things you and I do. They have flaws they must work on: prejudiceness, micro-managing, naiveness, ect. Her "good" minor characters all interesting in that while there some of them that just aren't your favorite you still somewhat like them because of their uniqueness.  Here again I am thinking of Mrs. Bennett, Mrs. Jennings, Miss Bates and Lady Bertram.  It seems that Austen crafted each of her character with such precision. I think she must have had a lot of fun creating some of them (Mr. Collins).
I was talking to my mother about this and she made a great point that if Jane Austen's novels were just romance novels, they wouldn't have lasted this long and been remade into movies over and over and over again. There is a lot more to them than romance.

Did you catch my three movie/TV show references/quotes I made? Comment below and let me know!

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Monthly Resolutions- October 2013

October brings pumpkins, apples, and harvest! For a lot of people Halloween is the main attraction of the month but in my family we always celebrate October 31st as Reformation Day and we'll have a campfire, roast hot dogs and s'mores, and read the story of Martin Luther.  A new month also brings new goals... so here are my October resolutions!

Read through Philemon, Hebrews, James, and 1&2 Peter 

I'm really enjoying reading through the New Testament. I actually started doing it on my phone's ESV bible app instead of reading from my bible. That only started because I accidentally left my bible at my parent's house so all I had was my phone and then I really liked that because I could put notes on verses and favorite verses and it would save it all. I really don't like marking up my real bible. 

Read or Re-Read at least three books

That seemed to be a good number for me last month. I feel like I have a pretty good rhythm of reading right now. I normally read my Tolkien while I eat lunch... just a chapter maybe more depending on how much time I have. Then in the evening or if I have free time (haha) I'll read my other book, which is more leisurely reading. Normally I don't have two books going at the same time but I'm making it work right now. Also, for fun and to keep me motivated, my younger brother and I are doing a challenge for the month of October to see who can read the most pages. I would do books but that's not always fair. We'll see how it works out. He has a lot more time to read than I do but I read a lot faster than I do so maybe it will all even out. :)

Write a blog post per week

I felt like this goal was really good for me last month as it kept me on a schedule. So I'm continuing it this month and hoping for good results.

Pray Daily

My list of things to do when I am bored of studying.
Hoping they'll make me think twice about pausing my studying
as well as keep me focused on still doing
something beneficial if I'm not studying. 
I really want to get to the point with my praying where I don't have to make a goal of it... I just do it. As I mentioned in my September report card I am also attending a weekly prayer group where we pray for about an hour which I have really enjoyed. 

STUDY!!!

Self explanatory. I have no elaborate goals for how many hours I should study every day or week this time. Let's just say... a lot. I didn't do so well on my last test so I really need to delve in a lot deeper in the future. 

Stay more organized

Last month I become more organized this month I need to keep that up and stay more organized. I need to put it on the calendar, set a reminder if necessary, put it on my to do list, put it on my grocery list. Whatever it takes.

Keep up with my Spanish

Since I am not taking any Spanish classes this semester... and maybe never again, I want to try and keep up with my Spanish myself to the best of my ability. My newest endeavor to do this is getting Spanish devotionals through Bible Gateway. I am forcing myself to translate those and I think it is actually helping. :) On a side note, I just recently signed up to get daily devotionals from Bible Gateway and I really like them! I would highly encourage you to get the Charles Spurgeon one and the C.S. Lewis one. Those are my favorites. :)

So those are my goals for this month... what are yours?

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Monthly Report Card- September 2013

It has been a busy September with nursing school. I used to think I had no life... now I KNOW I have no life.

Read through 1&2 Thessalonians, 1&2 Timothy, and Titus

I actually was able to get through them a week before I needed to. Obviously my counting skills need some work as I thought the number of chapters was going to end up perfectly with the number of days in the month.

Read or Re-Read at least three books

I read The History of the Lord of the Rings: The Treason of Isengard,  The Book Thief, and The HIstory of the Lord of the Rings: The War of the Ring. I'm also currently reading Wives and Daughters. 

Write a blog post per week

I did it... twice a couple weeks! It came to a total of seven blog posts not including my resolutions posts! :) I actually have felt really good about my blogging this month. I know I mostly gave y'all recipes but I don't think that is anything to complain about.

Pray Daily

I did better about that then last month but I still didn't quite make it daily. I started attending a prayer group at my church weekly which I have really enjoyed. We pray for about an hour. This has really put me in a great mindset about prayer. 

STUDY!!!

Working on my calendar/planner while drinking some tea.
I'm in the tea mood right now. :)
I did alright. I know I didn't get fours in every day for sure. However, I think I got enough studying in... though I know I could have gotten in more and would have benefitted from it. 

Become more organized

Well my whole daily word document diary fell through after about a week but I have become a lot more organized now. I've been sure to put things on my calendar and set reminders on my phone/computer as well. All in all I think it was a success. I even went ahead and put my schedule for Worshipers in Training (my church's storytime) into my calendar and set reminders so I wouldn't get taken unaware. Now that my schedule is all organized I guess it's time to work on my room.... :(

So there's my month. Not too bad but definitely room for improvement! I'll be back later today with my October resolutions. :)
DON'T FORGET TO LIKE THE BLOG ON FACEBOOK!!!! :) 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Versatile Blogger Award

So two posts in a day? What's up with that? Well I just found out I've been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award!!! This is my first blogger award I've been nominated for so I'm kind of just a little bit SUPER excited. :) I was nominated by Morgan from Morgan's Blog, which is a fun blog with all sorts of interesting fashion tidbits and other fun stuff. Thank you Morgan!
So I'm supposed to include seven fun facts about myself but as y'all know all facts about myself are fun. ;) So anyways, here are my seven facts. I tried not to include any that you could find anyways on my blog.
1) I'm always cold.... I guess except for when it is like 100˚ but only then!
2) Drinking tea is actually a mood thing for me. I have to be in the mood to drink tea... lately I've been in the mood.
3) I'm a phases kind of a person... like as I mentioned with drinking tea. Sometimes I am in a phase of eating pancakes, other times I'm really into eating salad. However, I am ALWAYS in a greek yogurt phase.
4) I'm always tired. If you know me well, you already knew that.
5) I don't talk to Siri all the time on my iPhone. I really pretty much never do. I can think of a couple distinct times that I remember talking to Siri since I got it in April.
6) I quote movies, YouTube videos, books, my family, and anything else that could possibly be quoted. Originality doesn't exist with me.
7) I saw a meme the other day that said "Having inside jokes with yourself." I looked at that and I knew that was me. Yep... no life. :)

I think those facts about me were INCREDIBLY fun!
So now for my nominations for the Versatile Blogger Award.
Suzanne from Just Another Girl
Kaylin from Average Christian Geek
Hayley from Victorious Heroine
Katie from Katie Lyn
I assume we can't nominate someone who has already been nominated but if I could I would totally nominate Morgan again!
There were supposed to be fifteen nominations but I can't think of anyone else! Sorry if I forgot you!

If you were nominated the rules for the award can be found here. Have a great day!

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

The Lord of the Rings Movies: What I would have done differently

So y'all know I LOVE the Lord of the Rings books but I've never really shared my feelings about the movies... apart from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I was quite young when the first movie came out... seven to be exact. However, I had to read them before I got to see the movies... my Dad's rule.  So I was just seven years old when I read the Lord of the Rings because there was NO WAY I wasn't going to miss out on seeing those! I absolutely loved them as a kid. It has now been several years since the movies were released. I've matured a lot in how I view the movies and though I still really enjoy them, I now see the errors that were made, some of which were just in my opinion UNFORGIVABLE!!!! Let's review them shall we?

Aragorn and Arwen Scenes

You know what I'm talking about. The million and one romantic scenes of them together that never ever EVER existed in the book. The whole Aragorn and Arwen relationship was really blown out of proportion in the movie. Besides my disliking this change because it wasn't in the book, I also just disliked them because (you know me) they were icky romancy gag me stupidity! I can't believe that far more important scenes from the BOOK were left out and THOSE were put in. 

Sam, Frodo, and the stairs of Cirith Ungol

I think you know what scene I'm talking about here too... the scene that once again, was NOT IN THE BOOK but somehow made it into the movie. I really dislike this scene because it completely goes against the character of all of the characters involved... except Gollum I suppose. Frodo would not have believed Gollum over Sam and he most definitely would not have told Sam to go back! Sam would assuredly have NEVER left Frodo. And, as mentioned afore, IT DIDN'T HAPPEN IN THE BOOK!!!!!!!!! 

Faramir

Like they REALLY messed him up. You know, in the book he's supposed to be DIFFERENT than Boromir but in the movie they have him make the SAME mistake Boromir did, though granted in the end he makes the right decision. I really liked Faramir in the book, he's one of my favorite characters. There are certain qualities about him that caused him to make the right choice when Sam reveals that Frodo has the ring. It completely went against his character to have him do what he did. And, once again, IT WASN'T IN THE BOOK!!!

Those are my three main aggravations with them movies that really irk me to no end (as you may have noticed). You'll probably get the idea from what I wrote that I am a stringent "movie has to be like the book" kind of a person but I'm really not. Normally I'll be fairly lenient when it comes to movies staying true to the book. However, when movies add in scenes that aren't in the book (so they have NO reason to add them in) that are just stupid and don't help the movie at all, then I get very unhappy. 

There are a few other complaints I have about the movies that I have learned to partially forgive Peter Jackson for so I will spare you form those rants. Those listed above are most definitely my top ones though. What are your thoughts on the changes the Lord of the Rings movies made from the books? Do you have other parts of the movies that you find unforgivable? Share your thoughts in the comments section! 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Recipe- Pumpkin Baked French Toast

I know you're beginning to notice a new trend...a trend where I am pretty much only posting recipes anymore. It's because they're GOOD! And perhaps I'm too busy or too lazy to write you out a real blog post...
Today I bring you what I practically lived off of last week. I had it for breakfast every day and if I could I ate it at lunch or dinner also. I really REALLY loved it and it is probably best that it is gone now. Today I bring you pumpkin baked French toast!

Pumpkin Baked French Toast

Ingredients
3 1/2 C cubed bread of choice
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or a little extra cinnamon)
3 T sugar or sweetener of choice
1 1/4 C milk
1 Cup yogurt (the original recipe called for tofu or yogurt but I'll die before I use tofu and obviously I live by greek yogurt so...)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
Directions
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except bread and stir well. Grease an 8X8 baking pan and pour  the cubed bread into the pan. Cover evenly with wet mixture and then cover the entire dish with a lid or saran rap and refrigerator overnight. The next morning, preheat oven to 400 F and bake 30-35 min. Top with maple syrup or eat plain (it is actually very delicious plain). I enjoyed it both hot and cold.
NOTE: You may need to adjust milk and bread proportions depending on the type of bread you use.
Recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie.

I know you all are worried about seeing my cup of coffee in the picture but we've had this conversation before. I like coffee AND tea. Actually I've really gotten into a tea drinking mood recently so you may see some more tea inspired blog posts around here soon.
Have a great day and don't forget to like my blog on Facebook! :)

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Friday, September 20, 2013

On this Blustery Friday

On this blustery Friday I bring you a quick blog post before I dive into studying.
First off, look to the right... the right side of my blog page. Observe there where it says "Like me on Facebook!" Now, like me on Facebook.
That was simple.
Secondly, get your hoodies out and get some apple cider, hot chocolate and of course TEA cause cold times are ahead!
That's all... have a great Friday! :)

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Favorite Food Blogs/Websites

I just got done with my second nursing test. I'm SO tired! Whenever I have a test I go to bed early and wake up about four so I can do some last minute refreshing before the test. So right now I'm running on coffee and post-test adrenaline. Today I give you a very lazy post because I have no time because I'm in nursing school (in case you hadn't noticed).

Y'all know I love to cook... especially bake... cookies cakes, brownies... yum! I just thought I'd share a few favorite food blogs/websites so you can enjoy finding some great recipes too! :)

Sally's Baking Addiction
Probably my favorite baking blog right now. I get a lot of my "healthy" recipes from there. However, when it comes to Sally, her healthy recipes don't taste healthy. Love it! :) Don't be fooled though, there are plenty of unhealthy recipes on her blog too. :) I got my healthy brownie recipe from there and my Mediterranean dip recipe.

Ambitious Kitchen
Another new favorite food blog. It has a variety of different kinds of recipes some healthy some not so (but absolutely delicious).

Food Gawker
This is kind of a recipe center. If I can't find a recipe for something I'm looking for on my other go to food blogs I go to food gawker and search and I always can find at least one recipe for what I'm looking for. Most all of my other recipes I have found there.

Picky Palate
Another great food blog I was introduced to by my cousin. I got my gingersnap cookie recipe from this blog.

Annie's Eats
This is the food blog from which I got my pumpkin snickerdoodle recipe which is a absolutely amazing. :)

Do you have any favorite food blogs?

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Recipe- Refrigerator Oatmeal

Today I am sharing with you my new favorite food! Refrigerator oatmeal! It's healthy, it's got greek yogurt in it (which is always a plus in my book), and there are so many different flavors you can make. I found these recipes from The Yummy Life. In this blog post I am only including the flavors I've tried but there are many more on the website. Also, all of the original recipes called for chia seeds but as that is not something in my normal collection of ingredients I just skipped them. Because chia seeds do absorb some of the liquid you might want to cut down on the milk.

Mocha Refrigerator Oats

1/3 Cup uncooked old fashioned oats
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
2 tsps honey or other sweetener
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp espresso powder (I used cappuccino powder as that is what I had on hand)

Raspberry Vanilla Refrigerator Oats

1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned oats
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
2 tsps honey or other sweetener
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup raspberries sliced in half. 

Pumpkin Pie Refrigerator Oats

1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned oats
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsps maple syrup or other sweetener
1/4 cup pumpkin puree

Banana Chocolate Refrigerator Oats

1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned oats
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1 T cocoa powder
1 tsp honey or other sweetener
1/2 banana 

Banana Peanut Butter Refrigerator Oats

1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned oats
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1 T peanut butter (or substitute PB2)
1 tsp honey or other sweetener
1/2 banana

Directions for all

Mix all ingredients together and place covered in the refrigerator overnight. Take out the next morning and enjoy cold or if you so desire heat up for a minute (I've never tried them heated). Can keep up to three days in refrigerator or a month in the freezer. 
ENJOY!!!

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

TV Shows

I've mentioned quite a lot on here about the different TV shows I watched so I thought I might share a little about them as well as mention ones I want to watch in the future.

Monk

Is the first modern TV show I ever watched. It follows an obsessive compulsive detective as he solves crimes while ultimately trying to figure out who killed his wife. This show has occasional mild bad language, some not the most modest clothing at times, a couple episodes where there was some suggestive speech, and of course a little gore. I would consider it very family friendly though. My younger siblings are always allowed to watch these as long as we have screened it before. There are just a couple episodes that I would really consider not worth watching and as for the rest they should be fine depending on maturity level. 

Psych

Follows Sean Spencer, a private detective who has convinced the world he is psychic to explain his incredible observation skills taught to him by his ex-police officer father. This show has more occasional mild bad language, some not the most modest clothing at times, some suggestive speech a few iffy scenes, and a little gore. There are only a couple episodes I can think of off the top of my head that one of them I wish I hadn't watched and the other I was warned not to watch and didn't. Psych is definitely for a more mature audience but is still relatively clean. 

Castle

Follows Rick Castle, an author of mystery novels who is called in to consult after a murder uses a method described in one of his books to kill somebody. Of my three cop shows that I have watched, this is the least clean. I have put them in order of cleanest to least clean. This show has more occasional mild bad language, more not so modest clothing at time, some suggestive speech and some suggestive scenes, and some gore. I have not watched all of Castle. I have watched the first season and part of the second as well as random bits here and there. Because its not always the cleanest its hard to consistently watch it and while I do like Castle, there are shows right now that I enjoy more. You are more likely to find episodes in Castle that should be skipped. 

Human Target

Only ran for two seasons which made me very unhappy. It follows an ex-assassian who reformed and now saves people with the help of another ex-assassian and an ex-cop. This show has occasional mild bad language, some not the most modest clothing at times, a bit of suggestive speech, and some gore and violence. For its subject matter, this a pretty clean show. I always really enjoyed it and it is so disappointing that it only ran for two seasons.

Foyle's War

Take place during World War 2 and follows a police officer solving crimes during that time period. This show has occasional mild bad language, some more mature themes, and some gore and violence. This was a pretty clean show as I recall and quite historically accurate. I was watching through it during my first semester at Butler but stopped and I can't remember why as I know I really liked it. Someday I need to finish it. 

Sherlock

Is amazing! It is the modern day telling of the story of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. In this show off the top of my head here's what I can think of; some british language, some references to homosexuality and some gore. This is all omitting the first episode of the second season that should NOT be watched. I haven't seen it but I have been informed by everyone that it is inappropriate so I'll take their word for it and skip it. 

Stargate SG-1

I just started this last month and I am steadily working my way through it. Do NOT watch the first episode of the first season. Besides that, so far what to look out for is some not so modest clothing at times, some mild bad language at times and some suggestive speech/scenes in a couple episodes that isn't terrible but I'd just fast forward through. This is my first sci-fi show to watch and I am enjoying it so far. I really can't think of a good synopsis so maybe you should just look it up on Wikipedia. :)

Shows I want to watch/thinking about watching

Doctor Who

I know you can't believe I haven't watched that yet. That is what I plan to watch next and I am really looking forward to it. 

Call the Midwife

My library just got this recently but then someone checked out the first season before I could run it by my Dad. But it looks very interesting and I am going to give it a try. 

Elementary

This is also a modern retelling of Sherlock Holmes but it takes place in America.

Stargate Atlantis

This follows after Stargate SG-1.

What are your favorite TV shows? Any other recommendations? Warnings? 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Monthly Resolutions- September 2013

I made it simple last month and I am going to make it simple again this month.

Read through 1&2 Thessalonians, 1&2 Timothy, and Titus

I look at that and notice that they all begin with T... because I always notice the important details first. ;)

Read or Re-Read at least three books

That seems like such a minuscule amount as compared to what I normally will read per month but with school I don't want to overwhelm myself. 

Write a blog post per week

I'm going to try to keep up with my blog a little more. I hope this won't drag me away from my studying. 

Pray daily

Same as last month. I want to make a daily habit of praying.

STUDY!!!

This nursing school thing is hard and time consuming. I want my goal to be that I study for AT LEAST four hours daily (except Sunday). If it is the day after the test or something like that I'll take it down to two hours. I want a total of at least 24 hours studying time per week. I've just got to dedicate myself and keep at it. 

Become more organized

I've made a lot of progress with this. Last year I forced myself to keep some sort of a calendar to keep track of when school things were due. Now that I have an iPhone I set reminders and make to do lists. What I have the most trouble with though is keeping track of things outside of school. I have a confession to make, I missed a doctor's appointment... because I forgot to put it on my calendar! I felt really dumb and I'm resolved never to do such a thing anymore. In the past I have always relied on my mom but with being at school so much I don't really communicate with her a lot. And, as she has told me many times, she can't keep track of everything that all nine of us are doing. I just need to take a little responsibility for my own time. I have come up with a plan to keep a daily word document diary and then a weekly word document diary. This was roundaboutly inspired by Hayley at Victorious Heroine. We'll see how it goes. 

So all the same goals with one new one. I really think that since doing these monthly resolutions that I have done a much better job of getting things done and trying new things. So even if you aren't much of a goal maker, you might want to try this... maybe just do weekly goals and see how that works out. 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Monthly Report Card- August 2013

The end of August has come and here's how my resolutions went.

Do the thirty day shred- B

I am still currently doing it but due to some unforeseen circumstances I missed three days so I wasn't able to finish it this month but I'll be done in just a couple more days! It has definitely challenged me a lot. I think that once I'm done with it I'll keep doing level one every other day or something just to keep the muscle I built up. 

Stick to my diet- B

I have done pretty well. Again, due to the same unforeseen circumstances, I had about three or four days straight where I cheated but besides that I've done well. 

Read Galations, Ephesians, Phillipians and Colossians- A

Achieved! I appreciated only having sixteen chapters to read, which made it far more relaxed for me.

Read or re-read at least three books- A

I finished Dragonhaven (which I can't exactly recommend... it was okay but had some problems). I also read The Return of the Shadow and Psmith Journalist, which I do recommend. :)

Write at least three more blog posts this month- A

Yes I did it! I wrote this one about my obsessions, this one that included delicous recipes that you should all try, and this one that was about how my first week of nursing school is going. 

Pray Daily- D

I am working on developing this into a habit. I didn't pray every night but I did pray some nights. There have been many things that have been going on in my life right now that have given me reason to pray but it is good for me to remember that even if everything is going well I should still be praying. 

Start of school well- A

I was planning on being really on top of it and having stuff done ahead of time but unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, that didn't get done. However, despite that I believe I started of pretty well and I am keeping on track of all that I need to do.

Bonus!

I crossed two items off my bucket list.... I learned to swing dance and I learned to waltz. I'm not saying I'm good at swing dancing or waltzing, but I know how to. Proficiency is yet to come. 

Final Grade- B (I'm guesstimating on that but I think I'm right) 

Life has been busy, hectic, and stressful but life goes on. My grandparents did get into the assisted living home they were hoping to so last week we moved them in and so far it is going well. My sister and I ended up moving back into their old house again, this time though because my grandparents want someone living in it and keeping it up. 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.
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