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Posts Tagged ‘Harry Potter’

  • Dear Teen Self: 7 Things Books Can Teach Us About Life and Relationships

    Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

    Dear Teenage Self (for a visual reminder of what you looked like back then, please see this previous post and try not to snicker),

    Over the weekend, I tagged a note on Facebook. Maybe you saw it.

    (photo credit RepairGenius & RepairLabs.com)

    Okay, yes, I’m on the team that believes this quote isn’t actually from Plato, but I like the photo, and if I were going to settle on a motto to define my worldview as an adult, that quote would probably be it. And honestly it’s something I wish I’d understood better when I was a teenager and still figuring out how to relate to others.

    Because that’s what it’s really all about, isn’t it? Our relationships with others? I mean, at the end of this brief speck called life, what matters isn’t the awesome band you wanted to be in, or the number of Facebook friends you had, or the size of the zombie garden gnomes who tried to maul you in your sleep. (Okay, so maybe that last one…)

    What matters is how you lived out your story.

    And whose lives you impacted along the way.

    Because you ARE living a story. One which is continually being written, changed, discovered. And everyone else you know? They’re all hammering out a story of their own too. And all of these tales—mine, yours, or the ones we read about in novels—have similar components to them. And by components, I mean truths to keep in mind while you walk out the next 70 years of your life.

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    (1) You Are Broken

    We all are. Every well-written protagonist (main character/good guy) is. It’s what makes a book character human and relatable. It’s what makes us love them. It’s what makes their internal and external battles so worth rooting for. So instead of pretending there’s nothing wrong with you, accept the fact that, yes, there is. And let us support you in it. That doesn’t mean you have to wear it as an obsessive badge of uniqueness (oh please no). It means that when others call you on your brokenness, you own it and say you’re sorry. Then grow like heck from it. Because the main point in any really good story is WHO the individual has developed into by the end.

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    (2) Others Are Broken

    We know this, don’t we? In fact, sometimes, sadly, we’re the first to point it out behind their backs. But the question is do we ACT like we know they have brokenness? Do we treat them with kindness, imagining the dragons they must fight when they’re alone with their masks stripped away and their insecurities blazing?

    Even the most minor character in a story has a reason for why she does what she does. More so, every well written antagonist (bad guy) has a reason for why he is so freaking messed up. And very rarely do we get to explore the depth of his pain.

    But it’s there.

    In Bronte’s WUTHERING HEIGHTS we don’t necessarily have to LIKE Heathcliff (nor trust him—because let’s face it, he’s psychotic), but rather than hating him or wondering why on earth he’s such a jerk, we see a glimpse of the emotional battles and abuse he’s come through. The battles he is, in fact, fighting through. Which allows us to relate a little. And judge less.

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    (3) Growth Happens In the Drama

    You know those stories where nothing happens and we’re bored out of our minds wondering why in the name of all that is good and cuddly someone bothered to write the silly book? While at the same time we want smooth sailing (ie boring) in our own, personal, real lives.

    Why is that? Why do we resent adversity only when it hits too close to home??? 

    Think about it: We love Harry Potter and Frodo Baggins and Katniss Everdeen BECAUSE of the unfair and unasked-for trials they each embraced with courageous responses of fighting and hope and vulnerability. WHY? Because that’s the key to EVERY good story. It’s called the ”theme of redemption”—the overcoming of adversity and grief and betrayal by others, of dominating the mountains within and the curses spoken out by the bitter and the haunted. Those valleys and voices that say we cannot, should not, WILL NOT succeed.

    And to those voices we respond by dancing in the dark and screaming out with Florence & The Machine, “It’s always darkest before the dawn.”

    Because, my dear teen…there abso-freakin-lutely will be a dawn.

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    (4) There Are Multiple Sides to a Story

    And yours is not necessarily the correct one. Nor is it without flaw. Have grace. Be kind. Be generous in your thoughts toward others because no matter how much you assume you understand another’s intentions and reasoning, you are not them. You have not walked and bled and wept in their skin.

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    (5) Forgive

    It’s what makes Harry Potter better than Voldemort. He accepts the hand that’s dealt him and forgives life for dealing it, and eventually, (in a way) forgives Voldemort for his part. Not that he trusts poor Voldy. But he understands that there is a piece of Voldemort within himself—that he is capable of becoming like him. Whether he detests him or not.

    I’m not saying you have to trust the person who wounds you. Because you don’t. Maybe ever again. But forgiveness for a wrong done you, no matter how wretched, how humiliating, how full of bloody betrayal, is the key to living successfully. Your ability to dream, to become better than, to conquer the valleys and cliffs of the life you’re meant to live is directly related to the freedom of shaking off the chains that hang on your heart like a deadweight.

    What happens in life is painful, yes. For some of your friends, it will be downright unbearable. But don’t you or them sacrifice your identities on the altar of being victims to others. Heck—don’t sacrifice by becoming a victim to yourself! While you can’t control how others have treated you, you CAN choose to rise above that which was intended to hold you back.

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    (6) Take a Risk

    There is no story without risk, just as there are no relationships without risk. Life isn’t lived in your comfort zone. It’s lived in the broken world around you as you stand back-to-back bleeding with your friends fighting battles for the futures of those who cannot fight for themselves.

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    (7) You Are More Powerful Than You Can Imagine

    Every protagonist is. It’s part of what makes the story of your life so worth living and reading and sharing.

    Just be sure to use that power wisely.

    To do good to yourself.

    To do good to others.

    And to leave a kick-ass legacy so the world around you will remember.

    Love, Mary ;0)

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    Posted in Dear Teen Self, Uncategorized | 16 Comments »

  • A Recipe for Peanut Butter Honeycomb Pie (plus Pottermore pics)

    Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

    Ahem. So, this might’ve made me do a tippy tappy happy dance:    FIRST  GLIMPSES  INSIDE  POTTERMORE   Have you seen it??? They’ve definitely got some cool stuff going on there. I’m intrigued to try it out.

    Annnnnd this might’ve made me do an even AWESOMER tippy tappy happy dance:

    PEANUT BUTTER HONEYCOMB PIE

    I know, right? I grabbed the recipe from Bon Appétit (clickety-click on over for it), and it’s now the husband’s “officially most favorite food ever.” While the original recipe doesn’t call for meringue topping, I thought it would be an excellent balance for the the peanut butter pie’s salty richness; plus, it was a great way to use up the leftover egg whites. I’m glad we added it because, well, it totally rocked. In the future, the only other thing I’d change is to eliminate the addition of salt in both the crust and filling. The pie tasted fine with the extra salt, but since I use regular butter (vs unsalted like they call for) I could’ve left it out. Needless to say, Bon Appétit, I love thee. *sigh*

    Did I mention it’s AMAZING? Um, yeah. It is.

    So. How’s YOUR week going?

    What fabulous thing are you eating (or reading)?

    ;-)

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    Posted in Reading Recipes | 14 Comments »

  • Harry Potter Rabid Fan Pics

    Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

    Well, rabid fan peeps, did you see Harry Potter??? Annnnd? Did you love it?

    Peter and I did our rabid fan thing opening night (which mainly looks like me being the rabid fan and Pete being my arm-candy) with the most awesome groupies ever! Some of them had been there since the wee hours of the morning and STILL had energy! Like these ladies. Check out the pillow.

    I caught this group walking by us in full character, looking way too fabulous. Love the lady in the back!

    And lucky us—right after we got in line, THIS cool fan dropped by to hang out with us for the long wait. Hey, Jay Asher! (Sadly, I’m not in costume…blame the long work day. I do have my cool purple hair streaks though. They’re very “Tonks” looking, don’t ya think?)

    For much of the evening we held the honored place of Very Last in Line. Until THIS guy came and stole it. We dubbed him “random end of the line guy.” He embraced the title, so, of course, we had to get a pic with him.

    Once inside, the theater hosted a costume contest. These two almost won. Aren’t they adorable? I dig her hair.

    And apparently Batman is a huge Potter fan. Who knew?

    Finally, the show began. My sister, her hubs, and Pete and I sat in the front row with our cool Harry Potter 3D glasses.

    My sister cried. I ate gobs of buttered popcorn.

    :0)

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    Posted in A bit of brag, Best & Worst Books, Genre Savvy | 20 Comments »

  • A Recipe for Chewlicious Oatmeal Cookies (plus Potter news)

    Monday, June 27th, 2011

    First things first. Ahem. My review of The Future of Us will be up next week. (Yay!  ;o))

    Secondly (and fan girl squeals are acceptable for this), did you get your tickets for HARRY POTTER?! And please tell me you’re dressing up for it. I’m planning my outfit as we speak (as well as planning to make another batch of butterbeer!). Also, if you haven’t seen J.K. Rowling’s soon-coming Pottermore website, you have to go check it out, along with Emma Watson’s lovely look on this month’s Vogue cover.

    Thirdly, if you’re the writerly type and live in California, here’s a shameless plug for the Central Coast Writers’ Conference: You should attend. Feel free to read last year’s post on Nine (only slightly creepy) Reasons to Attend a Writers’ Conference if you need more convincing. They’ve got some awesome speakers this year!

    Lastly, for all of us food-loving peeps, I made these cookies today, and I’m feeling inclined to share the recipe. They’re my favorite oatmeal cookies, especially for summer. Chewy, crispy, buttery goodness. Mm… You should try crumbling them into cinnamon ice cream.

    Before reading the recipe, though, today’s question is:  What are you most looking forward to in this final Harry Potter movie?

    A Recipe for Chewlicious Oatmeal Cookies

    1. 1 cup butter
    2. 1 cup brown sugar
    3. 1 cup granulated sugar
    4. ½ tsp salt
    5. 2 tsp vanilla extract
    6. 3 eggs
    7. 2 ½ cups flour
    8. 2 tsp baking soda
    9. 2 cups quick oats

    Cream the butter with both sugars and the salt, then beat in vanilla and eggs. Combine the flour and baking soda, and mix into the butter mixture. Add the oats until thoroughly blended. Spoon desired amounts onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10 min or until barely golden (with these, underbaked is a yummy thing). Remove the cookies once cooled. They’ll be crispy around the edges, and chewy in the centers. Perfect with a cold glass of milk or in ice cream!

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    Posted in Reading Recipes | 8 Comments »

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