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  • A return to Sweet Valley

    Did you grow up reading Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley books? Did you read about Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield’s sweet-valley-twinsearliest adventures in the Sweet Valley Twins series? My sister and I sure did. In fact we read them with our cousin Sarah and–dare I admit–even had a secret club like the girls in the books. We loved those books. And we wanted to love the Sweet Valley High books–but we weren’t allowed to. 🙂 In fact, to this day, I don’t think I’ve ever read a Sweet Valley High book. But I sure did watch the tv show when it was on when I was in high school.

    As much as I loved these books as a kid, I’d all but forgotten about these books until I opened my Entertainment Weekly recently and saw this.


    Sweet Valley Confidential, which released in March, catches up with our favorite twins and their classmates in their late 2os. The romances are new, the girls are grown up, but the drama is the same!

    So a quick glance at Amazon reveals that the reviews haven’t been kind. Inner 12-year-old girls have spoken out about their disappointment. No one expected a great work of literature, I think. But sadly it’s not even meeting the most basic hopes for a lot of fans.

    Okay, so I won’t be running out to pick up a copy of Sweet Valley Confidential any time soon. But it did get me thinking about some of the YA books that I loved as a kid and would like to see a Ten Years Later sequel to. My top three:

    1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – Okay, so I didn’t read these as a kid, but I sure would love to know what happened to Katniss 10 years after (more than the very short epilogue).
    2. The Sadie Rose series by Hilda Stahl – this series followed the prairie adventures of a girl who was forced to move into a soddy when her father dies and her mom remarries.
    3. The American Girls books – I loved them as a kid, and I would love to hear what happened to Samantha and Molly and Kirsten.

    Honorable mention: Why Harry Potter, of course! I want to read about how Ron proposed. 🙂

    What books do you wish they’d write a Ten Years Later sequel to?

    What’s driving me crazy right now!

    I had a moment today when my breath caught in my throat and my heart doubled in speed. It was a moment I’d been waiting for for ages–okay, actually more like 2 years, but still … a long time. It’s been more than 2 years since NBC brutally cancelled one of my favorite TV shows of all time. LIFE.

    It was tragic. Really. One minute I could spend every Friday evening with Damian Lewis. And then all of a sudden he was gone. Sure I could watch him in Band of Brothers and Life on dvd. But it wasn’t new …

    And then I was on Facebook this morning, and what should I see? Why a post on my wall from my sweet friend Ruth with this video, of course.

    Did you see him? Did you catch it? Beneath that woolly beard is none other than Mr. Lewis. Yep!


    A show with Damian Lewis, Mandy Patinkin, and Claire Danes? “Homeland” is going to be good. Count me in!
    Now I just need Showtime to schedule the season. (And I have to figure out how to watch it, since I don’t have cable.)

    Thanks, Ruth, for giving me just enough information to let me drive myself crazy as I wait!

    Life Without Limits

    life-without-limitsI received a review copy of Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a RIDICULOUSLY Good Life by Nick Vujicic several months ago. And I thought that it would be a book that I would dive right into. I figured I’d have no trouble just sailing through it, but for some reason that I’m pretty sure has way more to do with me than with the book, I’ve really struggled to get to the end.

    And it’s not that this is not a really great book. This autobiography is an amazing tail. Nick was born about thirty years ago with no arms and no legs. And Nick’s story is incredible. A life that could have and should have been defined by limits is actually an incredible tail of a life lived to the extreme. This is a man who has traveled the world, speaks in front of millions of people, and has even surfed with Bethany Hamilton (the young surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack). 

    The point then becomes, how are you letting your daily challenges keep you from living life to the fullest? Especially when compared with a life that is filled with unique challenges.

    I really loved the last chapter, “Make Giving Your Mission.” Nick’s closing statements are all about making a difference, loving others, and leaving a legacy of kindness. From small, random acts of kindness to lives like Mother Teresa, these make a difference. And not just in the lives the you’re reaching out to. “When you step outside yourself and your own concerns to reach out for others, it will change you. You will be humbled. You will be inspired.” (p. 220)

    If you’re looking for a reminder of why you were created to be uniquely you and that you were created to live an abundant life, Life Without Limits will fit the bill. While it’s filled with stories of the people that Nick has met in his travels, I found their stories less compelling than other books I’ve read. Sadly I didn’t find it the page-turner that I hoped it would be. I recommend it as a book to pick up in bits and pieces for a quick bit of encouragement when you need it.

    *Thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah’s Blogging for Books program for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

    Being a Fairy Godmother!

    Okay, so I’ve never been in a production of Cinderella. And I’ve never been asked to be a godmother to anyone’s children. But last weekend … well, I got to play a little part in the Fairy Godmother Project of Music City.

    If you’ve never heard about this program, it’s pretty cool! This group collects gently used prom and bridesmaid dresses and then shares them with girls who can’t afford a new dress for their upcoming prom. My sweet friend, Katie invited me to join her for a couple hours of volunteering last Saturday, and it was awesome!

    My job was to help out with the check-in and check-out process. Except they really didn’t need me to help with the check-in, so I took on the job of making sure the dresses were ready to go as the girls left–aka, covering them with dress bags. And when I realized it took me a solid 2 minutes to get a ready (torn off the roll and open) I realized it helped to have a couple on my arm, ready and waiting. This earned me a nickname pretty quickly. The Bag Lady.

    But I sure didn’t mind the moniker. I had the perfect view of the girls walking between racks of colorful dresses and as they modeled them for friends and family. It was so fun to see the shy girls walk in. As soon as they tried on the right dress, they became princesses, lighting up the whole gym.

    I love this video slideshow of the girls from last week. I hope they all have AMAZING proms!


    And girls in Nashville aren’t the only ones who might need help affording a prom dress this year. If you have an old dress just sitting in the back of your closet, would you consider checking to see if there is a Fairy Godmother or Cinderella project in your area? I promise. You could make someone’s prom!