Author Archives: Anne Russell

Julia Child: A Life

15 Jul 17
Anne Russell
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At my mother’s recommendation, I just read the book Julia Child: A Life, by Laura Shapiro. This was a great book, and not just because I learned a few new facts. It showed me a real person. I read a book about Amelia Earhart near the beginning of this year and was disappointed. Even though Amelia Earhart was a fascinating person, I never connected with her through the book. The book gave a bunch of facts about her life, and completely neglected showing a bit of personality. Unlike that boring book, Julia Child gave me a real idea of who Julia Child was: a master chef, a passionate lover of her husband, a friend to millions of people. I wanted to hear more about Julia, not less.

 

Hearing about a woman who inspired so many, and did so much in her life inspired me. Julia was constantly learning, from learning basic

My croissants right before they went in the oventechniques to trying many different recipes for a dish to find the best one. I want to learn like that. I want to be open to new ideas, and to hard work. Julia was also daring, publishing Mastering the Art of French Cooking at age 49, refusing to accept anything less than the best from the book. This inspired me to make croissants, which wasn’t nearly as daunting as writing a book, was still a scary 12+ hour process.

 

 

 

Julia Child: A Life was a fantastic book which I would highly recommend. If you get the chance to read it, you will not be disappointed.

Pompeii (A Harp Cover) – Anne’s Earworms Episode 25

12 Jul 17
Anne Russell
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Last week I found Lara Somogyi’s pop covers on harp through Kurt Hugo Schneider’s YouTube channel. I love this song because it is unique and interesting. I don’t listen to much harp music, so Pompeii was a refreshing change. Enjoy!

 

 

If you want to hear the original Pompeii, you can listen to it on YouTube here. 

Audiobooks Surprised Me

01 Jul 17
Anne Russell

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For the past six months I’ve been doing a self-made challenge to read an audiobook every month. I thought that it would be really hard to motivate myself to listen to books rather than look at them, but I’ve ended up reading more books than I planned so far. I’m realizing that audiobooks have some traits that are really cool.

They are portable. When I read a paper book, that’s pretty much all I’m doing except for eating. When I listen to audiobooks, I can workout, or draw, or even get groceries (that was a fun day). I really enjoy the freedom to listen to a book while being productive.

I can hear the correct pronunciation of words. I have the occasional habit of picking up words from books, using them in the correct context, but then saying the word entirely wrong. With a good audiobook, I can properly hear how to pronounce new words and names.

There are some downsides to audiobooks. It can be really hard to re-find information or reference parts of an audiobook. In a paper book, you can just turn the page. Also, technology just can’t replace the smell and feel of books. Physical books each have their own personality, and audiobooks don’t have that. But the downsides don’t always have to limit me from enjoying a new experience.

I used to not read audiobooks because they “just aren’t books,” but now I’m starting to appreciate them, not just to replace paper books (because that’s not happening anytime soon), but to compliment them. Books can remove you from the world. Audiobooks can give you new worlds even while your feet are still are the ground. If you don’t read audiobooks, give them a try. They might surprise you.

An Awkward Duet – Anne’s Earworms Episode 24

28 Jun 17
Anne Russell
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This is a song that I found a while back on YouTube, performed by Dodie Clark and Jon Cozart. This is one of those songs I like purely because they’re funny. Enjoy!

 

Back in the Groove – June Goals

26 Jun 17
Anne Russell
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It’s been a good month.

First I (read: finally) got caught up on my reading goals.

I read the book Hidden Figures, the fascinating story of the black female computers in NACA (which later became NASA). It showed how underestimated people can rise above other people’s expectations and change history. It was a great book which I would highly recommend. The Audible version was great, but I recommend reading it on paper, because there are a lot of names to remember, which is harder with an audiobook.

I also read the first book in the Percy Jackson series, The Lightning Thief. Even though it’s technically a book written for middle school children and is somewhat predictable, I enjoyed it. I’m now in the middle of the second book, The Sea of Monsters. In the words of C. S. Lewis, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”

Another book worth mentioning is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The book was not a deep read, but it was hilarious, and a good choice for light reading.

Sarah, David and me covered in mud after caving. Loads of fun. Photo Credit: Malia Russell

Another great thing about this month was our family camping trip. We spent a couple of days at a Girl Scout camp in Indiana, hiking, playing games, and staying offline. It was a lot of fun, even though it rained most of the trip. The downside of the trip was that I got a little behind on my Bible reading. Fortunately, I believe that my relationship with God is not dependent on my Bible reading perfection, and I’m getting back in the groove this week.

Also, I just want to briefly mention that I got my license! I’m super excited to be able to drive myself wherever I need to go.

So even though there were a couple of rough spots, this was a good month. I’m starting to get into the groove with my summer schedule, and I’m excited to see how July goes.

A Cheerful Little Playlist – Anne’s Earworms Episode 23

21 Jun 17
Anne Russell
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I’ve had a bit of a rough weekend. Saturday was just a bad day, and I lost some momentum and motivation. But I’m starting to get back into the groove today. As part of getting back to being positive, I want to challenge myself to make a cheerful playlist. I listen to a lot of sad music (not because I’m sad, I just like that kind of music), and I want to mix it up a little bit and cheer myself up. So here we go:

Thinking Out Loud, by Caleb+Kelsey.

I love these two. This song is light and fun (plus the music video is really cute).

Things are Looking Up, by Ella Fitzgerald

Mood Rings, by Relient K

This is a song from when I was a little elementary student jamming with my sister.

 

Starlight, by Taylor Swift

This is a peppy song about not being afraid of dreaming big and having fun.

 

Mission Impossible, by The Piano Guys and Lindsey Stirling

Want a little humor in your day? You’re welcome.
 

Top of the World, by Anthem Lights

This is another song that’s great for jamming and just enjoying.

 

Wow, that wasn’t so hard. If you’re having a rough day, sit back, relax, jam a little, and know that you’ll get through this.

Just Sticking with It

17 Jun 17
Anne Russell
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Well blog buddies, this week I’ve got nothing. I have a couple of blog post ideas, but none of them are sticking. But I made a commitment to post every week, so I’m going to post. I want to stick with blogging as much as I can, and hopefully next week I’ll have more inspiration. Have a great weekend, and feel free to enjoy a little Sarah Jarosz:

I’d Rather Go Blind – Anne’s Earworms Episode 22

14 Jun 17
Anne Russell
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I originally heard “I’d Rather Go Blind” at a concert by the Louisville Orchestra. It was originally performed by Etta James, but the version I love is by Kelly Clarkson. The song is groovy, and there’s so much passion in the way Kelly sings it.

 

Why I Blog

10 Jun 17
Anne Russell
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Ever since I started this blog I’ve struggled with Blog Insecurity. Although I know that it’s not true, I tend to think that my blog is inferior, because my posts aren’t perfect, and I don’t blog professionally. Today, I decided to counteract the lies that I’ve been fighting with the truth.

My blog is not inferior. I blog as a hobby because I enjoy it, and there is nothing wrong with blogging as a hobby. I don’t need to have a perfect blog, or to find my “niche,” or get a lot of views to be a real blogger. I’m a blogger because I blog. That’s the only qualification.

And I’m not blogging to get lots of visitors, or to become more popular. Here are the reasons I blog:

 

To enjoy myself.

I love writing, and blogging helps me have something that I enjoy doing outside of work and school.

To become a better writer

Writing is an amazing skill, and writing consistently helps me to become better at it.

To remember lessons

When I learn a new lesson, writing it down helps me retain it and put it into practice. When I write posts like “Relearning” or “On Worrying Well,” I’m writing them so I remember them. I want them to help me grow closer to God, and kinder to other people.

To grow self-discipline

 

Starting to write blog posts every week (and this year twice a week) helped me to grow in consistency, and I’m still growing. I’m learning how to work ahead on blog posts, and how to always be open to new topics. I certainly have room for improvement, but I’ve grown so much in this kind of consistency since I started doing it every week last summer.

 

To encourage others

This is a tricky one, because I don’t want to blog for a view count. But I do want to encourage any person who decides to stop by and see what I’m thinking about that week, whether they read one post and never come back or read my posts every week.

 

So I don’t need to worry if no one reads a post that I worked on, or if my posts aren’t perfect. I’m not writing to be “a real blogger.” It’s time for me to stop thinking that way. I’m writing because I love it, and that’s enough for me.

 

 

The Top Three from Air for Three – Anne’s Earworms Episode 21

07 Jun 17
Anne Russell
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Relient K’s latest album Air for Free has been my online classes jam for the past week or so. These are the songs I would recommend if you listen to nothing else from the album. Here are my top 3 from Air for Free:

 

Local Construction

I love this song because the analogy is so cool. It compares life to local construction: always working but never finishing. Local Construction helps me to process this feeling better than I did before, and to move past it. The music is awesome, and it builds slowly, giving a mental picture of construction.

Cat

This song is just fun. I dance to this song when I’m trying wake myself up in the morning, or in between long study sessions. Listen with caution: it will get stuck in your head for days.

Heartache

This song is sad but hopeful. The attractive part of this song is the instrumentation. It matches the lyrics beautifully (a common trait in Air for Free), and it’s addicting.

I hope that you enjoyed this list! If you love these songs as much I do, you can check out the album on Amazon here.

Bonus: Here’s an acoustic version of Heartache that Relient K did for CCM Magazine.