All the Answers: Planes, Texting, Guilt, and Harry.

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Here we go again. I’m really enjoying writing daily again – it’s been a while. Don’t get used to it. Unless y’all just keep asking questions endlessly, which I suppose I’ll find myself writing daily for the rest of time.

Sheri asked,

Have you ever travelled outside of the U.S.? Where?

Yes, twice – once when I was nine years old – my Dad and I went to Toronto together (which I mentioned briefly here), and once when I was 16 years old – I went on a six week missions trip to Cyprus where I administratively helped a missionary (that had formerly been my pastor) set up his new office. Flying to Cyprus was my first time to ever be in an airplane. I flew there with the missionary, and our plane to New York had such an equipment failure scare that they had at least 50 ambulances, lights flashing, lining our runway. My dad later called Delta to ask what had happened, and they denied the whole thing (because 1998 was before Twitter or smart phones – Delta can’t deny anything anymore.)

Ironically, I still love flying.

For my second time to fly, I flew home by myself, and had an overnight layover in Athens. My dad had a Greek friend that had agreed many weeks earlier to pick me up from the airport, but he wasn’t returning calls or emails when it was time for my return flight. So when I left Cyprus, I thought I would be getting off the plane in a foreign country and trying to figure out how to find transportation and a hotel room as a minor who didn’t speak the language (despite going to Greek School as a kid.) But, when I arrived, my dad’s friend (whom I had never met and had no idea what he looked like) was waiting for me. Later, he and his wife took me to dinner at midnight (as one does in Athens) and fed me raw Octopus (as one does in Athens) and took me back to their flat full of marble floors and busts (as one has in Athens.) The next day, I continued my journey home alone.

Which of the following book series have you read? Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Twilight, Hunger Games.

Harry Potter – Yes and it’s my favorite book series ever written. I get violently ranty when someone tells me that they’ve seen the movies but haven’t read the books. READ THE BOOKS, people. The movies don’t even fully make sense without the books. <Deep Breaths> I currently spend way more time than is necessary trying to figure out the perfect age to start letting Ali read them. She insists that the age has not arrived yet – they sound way too scary to her.

Lord of the Rings – No. I tried reading The Hobbit when I was a kid but couldn’t get into it. I did go to the midnight showing of the first LOTR movie with my LOTR-obsessed friends and brand new husband. I got very angry at the end when there was zero closure, and didn’t sleep all night because you shouldn’t watch movies with unfamiliar monsters at midnight. After that I swore I’d never watch or read any of them, although I did catch the last ten minutes of the last movie once while Chris was watching it, which gave me the closure I needed. Feel free to get violently ranty on me. I know I deserve it.

Twilight – Nope. Just nope.

Hunger Games – Yes – I was late to the Hunger Games party and read them last summer. I really enjoyed it, and the movies are good as well, although I’m waiting on the fourth one to come out before I watch the third because as we’ve already established, I’m not a fan of movies with no closure.

If you could have dinner with anyone throughout history, who would it be?

I’m really terrible at questions like this. They freak me out because if I pick someone, then everyone will be all like “THAT’S the person you’d pick in all of history??” – but also because I have no idea. And I don’t love eating in front of strangers. What if I get something stuck in my teeth? Or a bit of butter on my chin? No thank you.

I’d rather text with people throughout history.

I like texting with sarcastic, witty people who don’t mind a biting comeback in an all-in-fun spat. So I’d pick Mark Twain, Paul The Apostle, Shakespeare, Marie Antoinette (I didn’t say I had to like the people, but tell me she wouldn’t have a delightfully sarcastic text stream), Jane Austen, a group text with Buttercup and Westley (I get fictional characters too, right?), Anthony Bourdain (history includes people who are still alive, obviously), Tim Gunn, and the creators of VeggieTales Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki (I’ve actually met Mr. Gunn and Mike, but sadly, we don’t have a textual relationship.)

I’m sure I’m leaving out at least a person or two that would be absolutely delightful to text with, so go ahead and say “THOSE are the people you would pick in all of history?!”

What’s your favorite book of the Bible?

Psalms. I find it encouraging, exhorting, and applicable to my life all the time. I also enjoy James because he was a super blunt guy. There’s really no need to soften the blows.

What’s your favorite verse or verses?

Psalm 37:3-8

Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.

I really like the ending – worrying only leads to evil, people. It’s good to remember.

Aadrw asked,

Which blogs are you reading? What blogs are no longer active but you wish were still around?

So you’ve hit on one of the most guilt-filled facets of the internet for me. When I started blogging, I vowed to be the nicest, most interactive, most relationally in tune blogger out there. I loved blogging because I enjoyed the relationships, and I wanted to fully get to know all of my readers. I’ve met readers along the way on vacations and have even driven to both Mississippi and Georgia for the sole purpose of meeting readers. (Besides the fact that I’ve had a reader and her kid come from another continent and stay in my house for five days.) So for the first four years of blogging, literally read every one of my reader’s blogs (that I knew about) – and commented on them regularly.

(I did not, however, read any other blogs or “famous” blogs – only people I had relationships with. I’ve never been a blog consumer – always a writer and relationship-builder.)

Then a bunch of stuff happened that took great amounts of my time – in 2012, we started homeschooling for real and my jeans posts went viral and increased my readership by a multiple of ten; in 2013 I got dysautonomia; and in 2014 I started Picture Birmingham. I literally could no longer find or make the time for reading everyone’s blogs. And for the past four years, I’ve felt great guilt over not reading my internet friend’s blogs anymore. GREAT, HEAPING, SEARING GUILT. Because I really do love you all and consider you real live friends and enjoy getting to know you better (and still try to do so via comment replies, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram), and I hate that I don’t have a few (hundred) more hours every week to read about your lives.

But when I do read, I read some of my closest internet/IRL friend’s blogs (who are incredible writers because I have impeccable taste in friends) – Katherine at Grass Stains, Lora Lynn at Vitafamiliae, and Carla Jean at Inkstained Life (and formerly Jamie at Jamie’s Rabbits but now she’s moved over to podcasting which is the next question), and a few other friend’s blogs who probably wouldn’t want them publicized.

But yes. Guilt. I told you I had great angst. I wasn’t lying.

What are your favorite podcasts?

I don’t listen to many, but running has allowed me to start listening to more than I used to. I’ve listened to This American Life for years with Chris, adored Serial last year (I need to know if Adnan is innocent!), and I religiously listen to my friend Jamie’s now-famous and absolutely fantastic podcast, The Popcast (PLEASE go listen to their Urban Dictionary episodes right now. Your life will never be the same. In both fantastic and horrific ways. Then come back and let’s talk about what we’ve learned. Or not, if you’re my Dad.) I’ve also dabbled in Off Camera with Sam Jones and Invisibilia.

More answers…tomorrow. Who would you text with in all of history?