Book Review #49: “Prints in the Sand: My Journey with Nanea”

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Image Credit: American Girl

If you haven’t already, I would recommend reading the other two Book Reviews I’ve written about Nanea’s books:


The BeForever Journey Books are starting to grow on me. Choosing your own adventure is so much fun!

Our modern girl is in Hawaii, on the beach with her twin brothers and their babysitter, whom she calls Auntie Oli. Her father is “overseas” in Iraq. She’s struggling with him being gone, along with other things.

A traditional puka shell necklace, much like the one Nanea is given, transports her to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in 1942!

Along the way, our modern girl meets Nanea, Lily, the Honolulu Helpers, and climbs the Punchbowl volcano crater! She even gets to solve a mystery or two, like Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes!

I was impressed how the book focused on the war effort, and how women became more involved with the military.

The one major criticism was one of the paths / routes was so heavily embedded in the book, that I had a lot of trouble finding it. I wanted to read it, but it took me a long time to find it, and I got frustrated. I’m sure it was a simple oversight, but I didn’t like picking through the pages, trying to find the one route I hadn’t read yet.

I loved learning even more about Hawaii and the early war effort in this book.

4 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

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Hot Topic #23: Thoughts on Puerto Rico, Las Vegas, and Our President

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Image Credit: ThoughtCo

The last few weeks have felt like forever.

It’s been a laundry list of natural disasters, yet another horrific massacre on U.S. soil, and I’ve felt helpless.

  • August 17-September 1 — Duration of Hurricane Harvey
  • August 30-September 12 — Duration of Hurricane Irma
  • September 16-30 — Duration of Hurricane Maria
  • September 19 — Central Mexico earthquake
  • October 1 — Mass shooting at Route 91 Harvest Festival, Las Vegas, Nevada

All the while, President Trump has continued tweeting, criticizing, and not being very presidential. But, that’s just me.


Texas & Florida

My family is incredibly fortunate. My dad drove down to Seminole, Florida, to be with his dad, my 91-year-old Grandpa, prior to Hurricane Irma’s arrival. They lost power, but Dad brought a generator and plenty of supplies. Grandpa’s main power was restored within 24 hours. Cable, Internet, and the landline phone followed soon after. The Publix grocery store down the street was open the day after the storm. Dad came home safely just days after the storm passed, not two weeks like everyone was thinking / fearing.

My Uncle Richard (Mom’s brother) waited out the storm in Miami. He lost power, and endured four hours of 100-mph+ winds, but no significant damage.

A few friends and acquaintances suffered devastating floods in Texas, but most remained high and dry. John and Jackie, days away from their first child’s expected arrival, were pleased to report that their son smartly decided to “shelter in place” during the storm.

I’m still in awe at the heroes and heroines during Harvey and Irma. The first responders and the military presence were outstanding. If you haven’t seen the stories about the “Cajun Navy,” look them up online. These men and women, with their boats, are real heroes!

I know certain areas of these states still face months, possibly years, of recovery, but many have amazing survival stories to tell the future generations.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and others, have not been so fortunate. Hurricane Maria literally swallowed the entire island of Puerto Rico. It’s been absolutely decimated. At last check of various news sources, roughly five percent of the island has power now, and roughly 11 percent of the cell service has been restored.

The death toll stands at 34, for now. I fear that this number will rise.

The island was already struggling, with a crumbling infrastructure, debt-laden, declaring bankruptcy, and other issues. Add a massive hurricane to the mix? It’s a disaster zone.

It’s deplorable that the governor and many mayors have gone on national TV, live, begging for help. Everyone on the island is an American citizen, for heaven’s sake.

Ugh. I’m getting madder and madder with every word I type.

Las Vegas

Along with the rest of the world, I was horrified to learn of the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Monday morning. I almost fell off the treadmill at the gym, in disbelief.

My first thought: “Oh, no. Not again.”

But, it happened. Nearly sixty innocent people lost their lives. Over 500 were injured.

However, in spite of the tragedy, there were so many heroes and heroines. My spirits have been lifted, gradually, throughout this week, as I read stories of courage, bravery, and sacrifice. Countless people literally took bullets to save others. Complete strangers protected each other. The outpouring of support has been overwhelming.

A GoFundMe page that was started by the Clark County Commission Chair earlier this week has set and re-set its goal several times. As of this writing, 77,232 people have raised an impressive $9.52 million dollars for the victims and their families. That’s awesome!

On Tuesday morning, I wrote the following on Facebook:

As a blood recipient, blood drive co-coordinator, and regular blood donor, I’m so happy to see the reports of people waiting 6-8+ hours to give blood in the wake of the tragedy in Las Vegas.

In Chesapeake, New Creation UMC is hosting their next blood drive this coming Saturday, October 7th. If you’re able and willing, your blood is very much appreciated. Every two seconds, someone needs blood. One whole blood donation can save up to three lives.

Give the Gift of Life. Give Blood.

I hope I can give blood on Saturday, and I hope we will have a good turnout. The need is constant.

Our President

I have so many thoughts about our President right now. It makes me want to scream.

The only thing I’ve been impressed with, so far, was his speech about the tragedy in Las Vegas. For once, he actually showed sympathy and compassion.

I don’t know who wrote it, but it was a good one.

With that said, it’s been tough to swallow his response to the hurricane relief efforts, especially in Puerto Rico. In addition to those issues, he’s angling for nuclear war with North Korea. Antagonizing someone like Kim Jon Un is not a good idea.

I wish Secretary Tillerson would admit that he called our President a moron. I wish people would stop trying to cover for our President, and admit the truth.

But, the truth is, I think most people in and around the White House are walking on eggshells every minute of every day, hoping and praying they don’t say or do something to piss him off.

For once in my life, I’m actually looking forward to voting in November’s elections. I’m so sick and tired of the attack ads for Governor, Attorney General, and the list goes on. There are so many things I wish I could change, but I know my vote can make a difference.

I’m also beyond ready to fast-forward to the 2020 presidential election.

For now, I will continue to educate myself with a variety of news sources, try to stay positive, donate blood, and sharing my thoughts with all of you wonderful readers on my blog. Thank you for being so supportive of my posts – I appreciate each and every one of you.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #78: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 40)

Week #40: Greatest Accomplishment.

I took a risk in eighth grade. There was a new program that had just started at one of Chesapeake’s high schools, called International Baccalaureate (IB). The program coordinator, Mrs. Ingersoll, and two of the ninth-grade students came to Jolliff Middle to tell us about it, and how to apply.

I remember being so excited  that I couldn’t stop talking about it.

I completed my application, took several tests at Oscar Smith (and left my purse, school ID, and house key there by accident! I got it back, but I had to call the school on my own and explain what happened), and crossed my fingers.

I still remember the day I found out I was accepted. Mrs. Lyons, the guidance counselor, showed up during orchestra class. I nearly screamed in the hallway when she told me the good news. I wanted to call my parents, although they already knew. I felt like I was on cloud nine.

My euphoria was shattered a bit when several of my friends were very upset that I was leaving. I was excited for the challenge – New school, new friends, new ways of learning and thinking – but I was also sad. I leaving everything behind, except for my house and my parents, for something new. I was basically alone on the giant school bus – No one else from the Western Branch area was in the program when I started in 2003.

Despite begging my parents to go back to Western Branch probably every week for the first six months of my freshman year, I persisted. I struggled immensely, especially in the very beginning. At first, I had D’s and E’s on a lot of quizzes, and a even a few tests. I went to so many tutoring sessions, my head spun. My test anxiety was through the roof. I cried quite a bit. Everything was hard!

However, being part of IB was completely worth it. It isn’t for everybody, but it ended up being a really good fit for me. I enjoyed myself – It fostered my life-long love for learning (with the exception of math). Plus, I learned to think critically, and challenge myself to do better and understand the concepts presented before me. There wasn’t a lot of memorizing or teaching to the SOLs, although we still had to take them!

Learning that I would receive my IB Diploma in 2007 was one of the big shining moments in my life. I felt a sense of massive accomplishment – Two years of prep work, and two years of application of the prep work paid off, in spades. Although the IB exams were immensely stressful, I wasn’t alone. There were 40 of my peers taking them with me, and our teachers did their best to prepare us for all of them. We all celebrated at the end of exams with a massive party!

I learned so much about myself during my high school years, and I truly believe IB made me a better person. I started off college in a better place, and I did really well at Longwood due to being in IB. I didn’t have to take as many gen ed classes! I was able to get math and science completely out of the way by the end of my first year, and then I was able to focus on the classes I truly enjoyed – Creative writing, history, and communications.

Back in June, a good number of us got together for a 10-year reunion. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, reminiscing about our experiences from 2003 through 2007, while also catching up on our careers, aspirations, marriages, children, and hobbies. I’m excited to see what happens when we plan our 20-year reunion.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #31: The Stationery Book Tag

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Image Credit: THE JOUSKA

Recently, Jenna at Bookmark Your Thoughts  did this amazing tag!

Here’s the link to the original post:


The Rules:

  1. Thank the creator: Sam @ River Moose Books
  2. Answer the questions.
  3. Add pictures, if you’d like.
  4. Tag about five people.

Pencils – Favorite middle grade or children’s book.

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg.

I literally grew up with this book. My mom read it to all her classes when she taught first and second grade in North Carolina – This was years before I was born. We still have the set with the hardback book, the audio cassette, and the bell. When the movie came out, we went to see it as a family, and the DVD came to our house that Christmas. It’s one of our traditions, and I’m excited to continue it when Al and I have kids.

Pens – A basic staple for any reader.

Bridge to Terabithia

Image Credit: Goodreads

Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson.

I vaguely remember reading this book in elementary school. Then, I re-read it several times between high school and college. It had a profound effect on me, and it’s now one of my favorite books.

Notebooks – What books do you own multiple copies?

The only thing I can think of is my two copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J.K. Rowling.

I was lucky enough to be in London on July 16, 2005, when the book was released. So, naturally, we trekked to Waterstones and waited until midnight! I have a paperback copy of the U.S. edition, and a beautiful hardback copy of the U.K. edition.

Markers – A book with a beautiful cover.

Caraval

Caraval, Stephanie Garber.

I need to read this book! The cover is absolutely gorgeous!

Glue – Two characters that work well together, even if they aren’t together.

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Image Credit: Pinterest

Argh. This is the hardest question!

My immediate thought was Harry Potter and Hermione Granger. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wanted them to be together?

Scissors – What book would like to destroy?

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Image Credit: Barnes & Noble

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Art Kit – What complete series do you own?

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Hunger Games

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Image Credit: The Book Wars

  1. Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling.
  2. The Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins.
  3. The Divergent trilogy, Veronica Roth.

Bonus Question – Show us your desk / stationery that you own for each question.


I love gel pens – They’re so much better than ball-point pens! Since I’m left-handed, most traditional pens leave my hand incredibly dark, black and blue, and smudged!

Tagging Time!

I’m not tagging anyone in particular, but if you love books, you should definitely do this one!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #48: “Hula for the Home Front: A Nanea Classic 2”

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Image Credit: American Girl

If you haven’t already, I would recommend reading the review of the first Nanea volume before checking out this one:


At the end of Classic 1, Nanea and her friends were preparing to return to school, nearly two months after the horrific attack on Pearl Harbor.

To Nanea’s dismay, there’s a new girl in her class. Her name is Dixie Moreno, and Nanea immediately struggles to be nice to her. Donna has left for the mainland, and Nanea is still sour about that. However, Nanea tries hard to not “borrow trouble” and show kindness to Dixie. Along the way, they help each other out, and start to become friends.

Meanwhile, hula is a central theme in this volume. Nanea finds joy in her lessons, and she learns that her dog, Mele, is a talented dancer!

As Nanea prepares to celebrate her tenth birthday, things begin to relax a bit on the island. Her family and friends come together to pull off an excellent birthday surprise! She’s excited to celebrate, but she remains observant and guarded. Her brother, David, constantly talks about Lieutenant Gregory and how much he wants to enlist. He turns 18 in a few months’ time. Nanea is scared, and angry. How will she express her feelings?

Nanea learns several important lessons – Patience, understanding, a hint of wisdom, and how to make her own contributions to the war effort. Through hula, War Stamps, and a few other things, she learns that even kids can make a difference!

Like the first volume, I received an excellent education about Hawaii and its involvement in the early stages of the U.S. entering World War II. I was impressed at how much detail was included. I can only imagine how much research was done! The books also discussed the challenges that many Japanese-Americans faced in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, and it was well-written.

I’m looking forward to reading her Journey Book! Look for that review soon!

5 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #88: October Goals

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Image Credit: Pinterest

Hooray – October is finally here!

There are so many exciting things happening this month!!


Here are my goals for the month of October:

  1. Donate blood.
  2. Celebrate several birthdays!
  3. Celebrate Mary Lauren & Jeremy’s wedding!
  4. Celebrate Nick & Savy’s wedding!!
  5. Write at least 400 new words for my 2012 NaNoWriMo attempt.
  6. Write at least two blog posts on home improvements.
  7. Make / purchase photo canvases.
  8. Attend Hampton Comicon!
  9. Finally start moving items from my parents’ house to ours.
  10. Keep our kitchen table clean!
  11. Update my TBR.
  12. Be a successful co-hostess for the October PEO meeting.
  13. Write some snail mail!
  14. Celebrate Halloween!
  15. Enjoy Little (Lane) when she visits for a week!
  16. Order the Desert Mist Diffuser, and more Savvy Minerals makeup!

Here’s the breakdown:

Donate blood.

  • Our next blood drive is Saturday, October 7th!

Celebrate several birthdays!

  • My mom’s birthday is this week, as well my good friend Ashley’s.
  • Mia’s birthday is in the middle of October. She’ll become our niece in two weeks!!

Celebrate Mary Lauren & Jeremy’s wedding!

  • Their wedding is October 7th – It’s gonna be a blast!

Celebrate Nick & Savy’s wedding!!

  • October 14th!!
  • I’m so excited for Savy to become my sister-in-law!
  • Mia will be my niece!
  • We get to trek to the farm, eat, drink, bounce in the bounce house, and celebrate!!

Write at least 400 new words for my 2012 NaNoWriMo attempt.

  • I’m chugging along. It’s felt really good to sit down and pour out my thoughts. I’ll reach 50,000 words yet!

Write at least two blog posts on home improvements.

  • I’m determined! It’s been over a year worth of work!

Make / purchase photo canvases.

  • I’m excited to pick several engagement photos and wedding photos with Al, and then hang them up!

Attend Hampton Comicon! 

  • We’ll head to Hampton for the day on Saturday, October 21st.

Finally start moving items from my parents’ house to ours.

  • The weather’s finally cool enough, and I’m beyond ready to make my office what it’s supposed to be! My dolls deserve to be in one place!

Keep our kitchen table clean!

  • Our kitchen table has been a perpetual mess for a long time. I’m determined to clean it up, and keep it clean!

Update my TBR.

  • It’s that time again! My final TBR update of 2017 is coming soon!

Be a successful co-hostess for the October PEO meeting.

  • I’m excited to co-hostess the meeting next week at Susan’s house. I’ve already bought Reese’s pieces cookie dough, and I’ll buy some veggies, crackers, and pretzels at the end of this week.

Write some snail mail!

  • I’m long overdue to write letters to several special people in my life.

Celebrate Halloween!

  • Al’s co-worker, Kathryn, and husband Tim, open their house every year for a Halloween bash! This year, the theme is Stranger Things. So exciting!
  • We’re excited to hand out candy to our neighborhood again – The kids’ costumes are awesome!

Enjoy Little (Lane) when she visits for a week!

  • My Little is coming home to visit toward the end of the month. I can’t wait!
  • We’re participating in a fun wood door hanger paint class!
  • She gets to see our house for the first time!

Order the Desert Mist Diffuser, and more Savvy Minerals makeup!

  • I updated my monthly order late last week, and it usually processes around the middle of the month. The plan is to put the Desert Mist Diffuser in the living room, and move the Dewdrop Diffuser to my office!
  • I’m starting to experiment with the Savvy Minerals eyeshadow, but I’m excited to get my hands on the eyeliner, blush, and misting spray!

Do you have any goals for the month of October?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #87: September Goals Recap

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Image Credit: Kara Cozier

September was a mix of busy and relaxed! It’s finally starting to feel like fall!!

Here’s the link to my September Goals post:

Ready?

Here we go!


  1. Celebrate seven years together with Al! — Accomplished!
  2. Enjoy Savy’s bachelorette weekend! — Accomplished!
  3. Make / purchase several photo canvases. — Did not accomplish.
  4. Make a series of home improvement blog posts. — Semi-Achieved.
  5. Write at least 300 new words for my 2012 NaNoWriMo attempt. — Accomplished!
  6. Move my bookcase from my parents’ house to ours. — Did not accomplish.
  7. Inventory my entire personal library. — Did not accomplish.
  8. Make and start using homemade deodorant. — Accomplished!
  9. Start using my Savvy Minerals makeup. — Accomplished!

Here’s the breakdown:

Celebrate seven years together with Al! — Accomplished!

Enjoy Savy’s bachelorette weekend! — Accomplished!

Make / purchase several photo canvases. — Did not accomplish.

  • I spent way too much money on other things this month.

Make a series of home improvement blog posts. — Semi-Achieved.

Write at least 300 new words for my 2012 NaNoWriMo attempt. — Accomplished!

  • With the journal I wrote about in my recent Writing Prompt post, it was an excellent motivator!
  • I wrote approximately 554 words!
  • Current word count: 11,216 words.

Move my bookcase from my parents’ house to ours. — Did not accomplish.

  • Argh. A few missed opportunities to make this happen. Soon!

Inventory my entire personal library. — Did not accomplish.

  • This goes hand-in-hand with my bookcase. Soon!

Make and start using homemade deodorant. — Accomplished!

Start using my Savvy Minerals makeup. — Accomplished!

  • See the Getting Personal post, above, for more information!

Final Thoughts:

  • I was able to put Accomplished next to five out of nine goals! Woohoo!
  • The one goal that was Semi-Achieved: I’m happy with this one. More to come!
  • The three goals that I did not accomplish: Like last month, most of these involve time. I’ll keep chipping away at them until they happen!

What about you? Did you have any goals for the month of September?

Come back tomorrow to see my October Goals!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂