Thursday, March 31, 2011

Favorite Quotes from YA Literature: John Green

About once a week I find myself at a bookstore browsing the young adult literature shelves.  The other day I was there, doing my usual canoodling and overheard a twenty something couple quickly careening the book covers.  Their conversation went something like this:
"Oh my gosh.  Have you seen the teen book section?  All you see is vampires."
I started cracking up because  although there's a whole lot vampire books these days, that's far from the only thing there.  Here I was, my 36 year old self, scoping out my next read, and I haven't picked up a vampire book since Twilight three years ago or so.
In the past few years I've fallen in love with Young Adult Literature.  I love it like I love my students; The experiences are so fresh and significant.  Their voices are raw and unapologetically truthful.  I love quotes; I love how in a condensed sentence or two a powerful bullet of someone's truth penetrates to the heart.  It makes a direct hit to a part of your soul that says, "Yes."
About two years ago I was obsessed with the young adult author, John Green.  His powerful stories with unforgettable characters and dialogue stuck with me for weeks afterwards.  Here are some of my favorite John Green quotes.  Enjoy.

"Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back." 
-An Abundance of Katherines 

"When adults say, "Teenagers think they are invincible" with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don't know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail." 
-Looking for Alaska 

"The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive." 
-Looking for Alaska 

"What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person." 
-Paper Towns 

"What is the point of being alive if you don't at least try to do something remarkable?" 
-An Abundance of Katherines 

"Francois Rabelais. He was a poet. And his last words were "I go to seek a Great Perhaps." That's why I'm going. So I don't have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps." 
-Looking for Alaska 

"When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that, we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out." 
-Paper Towns 

"If you don't imagine, nothing ever happens at all." 
-Paper Towns

"That's always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they're pretty. It's like picking your breakfeast cereals based on color instead of taste." 
-Paper Towns

"I wanted to be one of those people who have streaks to maintain, who scorch the ground with their intensity. But for now, at least I knew such people, and they needed me, just like comets need tails." 
-Looking for Alaska

...and my favorite and what I feel is the most provocative:
"I am going to take this bucket of water and pour it on the flames of hell, and then I am going to use this torch to burn down the gates of paradise so that people will not love God for want of heaven or fear of hell, but because He is God." 
-Looking for Alaska

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Standing Still & Moving Forward, all at the Same Time

I know it's been awhile since I've posted, but it seems like each day brings some new high or low.  If I wrote about everything, I would sound bipolar; seriously.  For some reason or another, I like to feel a sense of clarity or peace before I write; I definitely need some perspective before I bare my soul to the world!  Then, I look at the devastation in Japan and think about how my dad is doing in Hawaii, and I think to myself that my thoughts can stand still for a bit and not take up cyber space.  There are people dying and fighting for their live and their homes.  That's my thought process anyway.
Many know that we have been referred a beautiful boy named Getiso, again from Ethiopia.  Last week, we received a court date, so we'll be heading out during the second week of May to meet him and take care of legalities.  I gotta tell you, this little boy is joyful in his pictures.  He's alert and laughing; it brings a smile to my face.  But this adoption process hasn't been easy, to say the least, and we are hopeful but reserved.  As we received news of our court date, we were also told that there are a plethora of changes with MOWA, the international organization that approves all international adoptions.  MOWA is reducing the number of cases they inspect a day SIGNIFICANTLY, which means that if they don't approve our adoption by our court date, it will be postponed until it is reviewed.  Nobody knows how long this delay will be.  Steve and I won't have to keep going back to Ethiopia if MOWA doesn't review our case, but it will mean that we will be waiting.  Best case scenario is we get to Ethiopia in May and MOWA will have their letter at court saying that they approve our adoption.  This is my prayer, and I ask that you lift this up for us as well!
A colleague at work said to me yesterday, "This adoption has to go perfect.  It just has to."  And although I would love that, I am not only intellectually aware, but emotionally aware of what could happen.  At the thought of all this, I went into a bit of a funk last week.  God knew my heart, though, and consequently on Sunday, the whole sermon was about how God is in this boat with me; He's right beside me.  I've kept that image with me, of how Jesus was in the boat with the disciples sailing through tumultuous storms.  They were freaking out, and He was in total control.  I needed that, and every time I feel myself getting anxious, I think of that image.  He is working all things for our good.  He's sailing my ship, and we will get through the storms with Him.
Our Alex is also in my prayers more than usual.  It's more obvious than ever that she is struggling with math, just like her mommy and daddy.  We've been watching this for the past year or so, and because she's been so inconsistent, we thought that maybe it was a maturity issue.  Well, we've come to the point where it's time to investigate further, and we've started the testing process.  If you know Alex personally, you know that she is so bright, outgoing, and vibrant.  She reads beautifully and with great expression. It's hard to see her struggle in these other areas, and I just want to help her.  As a teacher, I've seen kiddos going through this sort of thing, but it's on a whole new level now:  it's personal, it's my child.  Again, instead of intellectually seeing things, I am experiencing on a much more emotional level.  We don't have any answers yet, but I will keep you updated.
I've also read some amazing books lately:  Jellicoe Road, which is this amazing story about a girl and boy whose lives are connected in extraordinary ways and circumstances.  It's about one's history, family, and secrets kept.  I loved it.  The two main characters, Taylor and Jonah, stayed with me for weeks afterwards.  I also just finished Delirium, Lauren Oliver's new book.  It had themes from Twilight, but the setting is a dystopian society.  It was a unique look at what our world would be like if we tried to take away love and the emotional pain that often accompanies it.  I highly recommend it.  I also loved, loved, loved Cutting for Stone.  It's the story of the people who are bound together at a missionary hospital in Addis Ababa.  The story is breath taking, tragic, and beautiful in only a way that human journeys can be.  I highly recommend it.  I wish I was there at "Missing Hospital" sometimes, living there and a part of their stories in some way.  Man, I love books!
So, that's all I got.  Keep us in your prayers. Keep Japan and Hawaii in your prayers too. Much love.