Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Beginning

     All stories have their beginnings. Blogs are meant to capture the story of life as it unfolds. Within the story of life there are many sub-plots. Your first boyfriend, college, speech and debate, soccer, girl scouts, etc. This series will follow one such sub-plot of my story and I will be blogging about it whenever there is an update. I might do a few video blogs in addition to (or to replace) some of my written blog posts. Now you may be wondering what this series is going to be all about. *drumroll* I will be (mostly) in charge of Mary's Home Library! (Mary's Home is an apartment complex New Life Church is building for single homeless moms.) This has been a thing for a while but I haven't gotten around to blogging about it.
     My mom has been pushing for me to do some kind of humanitarian project for my senior year. I told Mom about the African Library Project and said I wanted to do something like that. After thinking she said "What about Mary's Home? Why don't you build a library for Mary's Home?" Immediately the idea took a hold of me and I became incredibly excited. I contacted a friend of ours who works at New Life and I told her what I was thinking about doing, offering to do a formal pitch and everything. That Tuesday I was at Bible study and I asked if we could pray about this project. After we finished praying I checked Facebook and voila a message showed up in my inbox saying that the architect was drawing up plans for the library!!! It was super exciting and I may have squealed. 
     As the weeks passed I didn't hear anything further except that it was most likely happening. I began to doubt whether or not it was actually going to happen but I kept going forward as if it were. When my Aunt had a neighborhood garage sale I went around the neighborhood and passed out flyers saying I would pick up any books they didn't sell. I got tons of books for both the kids and the moms. Now I have finally heard back from New Life and it is for sure happening. I don't know how much room I have or anything like that but it is for sure happening.
      Now I need to collect as many books as I can. The theme quote for the library is from G.K. Chesterton who said “Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” These kids and their moms have seen plenty of dragons but we want to remind them that dragons can be beaten. 

    What we need: Books! Any book that you read as a child that brought you comfort. That you loved. That your children or your grandchildren loved. Also we need good books for single moms. Devotions, anything like that.You can donate one book or ten no gift is too small. And if you don't know what to get don't worry I can help you out. 

There are a couple ways you can help. 
           1. Go to Mary's Home Amazon Wishlist and order books from there. Your card will be charged but because you ordered it off the wishlist they will be sent straight to me. I won't see any of your information (minus the note with you should leave) and you won't need my address. If you don't see what you want email me here with the book you want to get and I will add it to the wishlist so you can purchase it. Please don't feel bad about doing this. I would love to include books that helped you overcome dragons then you pick something on the wishlist. Also as I am not a mom nor an adult I don't know which books would be good for the mom's. Note: be mindful of the books that you choose to add on. This is a Christian organization so please don't donate books that are inappropriate. 
          2. If you are not in the United States and don't want to pay the Amazon shipping then you can order books off of the Book Depository. Just email me at the above email with a list of the books you wish to donate and I will send you the link to my wishlist which should function the same way as the Amazon wishlist. The reason I don't provide a link now is because that wishlist is currently empty. I will add to is as you request books to be added to it :).

     I hope you will enjoy this sub-plot of Lauren's life and I plan to keep you updated as things happen. Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

General Synopsis:
Link here
     Hazel is termly ill. She would give anything to stay at home and read and watch her favorite TV show but when her mother forces her to attend a cancer support group her life is changed. There she meets Isaac who has cancer in his eye and Augustus Waters. The three quickly become friends and Hazel and Augustus start to become something more. This book tells the story of Hazel and Augustus' story and it hurts my heart.Warning there will be some spoilers.

Quality Rating: 4 1/2 Book
     This book is so good. The writing is very eloquent. It is not the kind of story I would normally read but because of the writing style I loved it. Honestly there is nothing more to say except that I sobbed through the last five chapters. No joke.

Content Rating: 3 1/2 Books
     I figured out how to more accurately rate the content! Average the numbers. Wahoo! I am so smart. Anyway you will see why this lovely book has received a mediocre rating for content. It's main shortcomings are in the language and the romance categories.

Age Scale: (Again parents you know your children better than I do this is just a general guide)
     0-11: High Caution. This is not a book for youngsters for the reasons I will list below
    12-15: Medium Caution: there is quite a bit of language and lots of talk of death
     16+: Low Caution:    

Link Here
Positive Elements:
      There are three main positive elements I want to highlight. 1) Hazel's parents. They are amazing loving parents who are super supportive of Hazel and love her especially when she needs it most. They are model parents yet very realistic. 2) The insight to what it is like to loose someone/be the one dying. For anyone who has lost someone they love will find this book very relatable. *SPOILER* In the end Hazel was torn by the fact that Gus died but she did recover and move on without forgetting. And for those of us who aren't dying or haven't lost people this give as an insight to their pain. It makes us more understanding of those who have gone through this. It helps us understand (as much as someone who hasn't experienced these events) what is happening on an emotional and physical level so we can better relate to other. 3) Love. Ok so if you have seen the movie trailer you have seen the part where she tells Gus she is a grenade and for a long time she pushes Gus away because she doesn't want to love and she doesn't want to hurt people or be hurt. This story highlights the decision to love and be loved, and how glorious that is, even if there is pain in the end.

Language: 3 Books
    In addition to a well developed vocabulary John Green also uses a fair amount of language. As well as some crude jokes.

Romance: 2 Books
     Ok so there is one sex scene and although it is brief it's still there and slightly uncomfortable (at least for me I skipped most of it). It is also not graphically described. There is a part after Gus dies in which there is a pretty crude joke (not sure where to put that but it seems to fit best here). If that stuff bothers you then you have been warned.

Violence: 5 Books
     This is a contemporary book about cancer so there isn't a lot of violence. There is talk of violence and they play a violent video game but nothing graphic or even worth docking down for.

Alcohol/Smoking: 4 Books
     While in Amsterdam Gus and Hazel drink campaign and one of the side characters is very fond of drink. Also just FYI Gus often puts cigarettes in his mouth but doesn't light them. It's a metaphor. See what I did there? Huh? Huh? Ok I'm done.

Beliefs: (Again no rating)
     There aren't any clear religious beliefs in this book. The support group happens in a church and makes fun of fake Christians. I am a Christian and could relate to the annoyingness of fake/theatrical Christians but I do feel it didn't give Christianity a fair chance. Believe it or not but most Christians aren't fake/theatrical. If I am not mistaken most of the characters are Atheistic. 

Magic: N/A