Moved

I’ve migrated over to a different space.

I started Two Little Pebbles with the intention of documenting family life, or at least writing posts about my kids. Sometimes. Like a mommy blog. I like reading mommy blogs. But that style is not my style. Every time I see my header I feel like I’m writing wrong.

So this new space is more a reflection of life inside my head.

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What Game of Thrones Taught Me About the Gospel

200px-AClashOfKingsI finished A Game of Thrones and am exactly sixty percent through A Clash of Kings. That amounts to approximately 1200 pages of bloodshed, violence and intrigue. It’s not the cozy read that I usually pick up, and there are moments when I have to ask myself why I keep plowing through.

This series is dark and sometimes (frequently) ugly. One of the most prominent themes  seems to be a total disregard for human dignity and inherent worth. I’ve heard A Song of Ice and Fire touted as a “realistic” Lord of the Rings. That is, LOTR without a unifying idealism which challenges characters to rise beyond selfish desires. I think there is some truth in that. I believe that humans naturally gravitate toward selfishness, and selfishness is what drives us toward a utilitarian view of other people. I can’t count the number of times I’ve read about human beings being decapitated, disemboweled, burned, stabbed, raped, captured and otherwise used as objects.

Utilitarianism to the extreme, baby. It’s disgusting.

And yet the characters that I read about seem to be reaching for something beyond utilitarianism and not quite finding it. At the core they all desire to be loved and counted worthy. They desire parental approval. Wealth and other people are vehicles to gain power, and power seems to be a vehicle for gaining the acknowledgement of their own worth.

I keep seeing human beings reaching for the light, hoping for more and then remaining mired in darkness. They remind me of people I know.

They remind me of me.

Christ challenges us to live an elevated life. He calls us to abandon utilitarianism and love our neighbors as ourselves and serve our brothers. I call myself a Christian. I believe in in the message of Christ, and yet I frequently fail to live up to the level of self-abnegation that he calls me to. Every time I cut someone off in traffic, selfishness wins. Every time I see someone as an obstacle, selfishness wins. Every time I love someone only insofar as they are serving my own needs, selfishness wins.

A Song of Ice and Fire reminds me of the ugliness that reigns when I set my standard to selfishness and reminds me of the beauty of the opposite: the Gospel.

Vacationing Broke and Hangry

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Hangry on the St. Charles Street Car

Currently (still) reading Paris in Love by Eloisa James. The book is comprised of a series of short little quirky, funny, beautiful vignettes about family life in Paris. It’s partially making me want to visit Paris, and partially making me remember that my husband and I have absolutely no idea how to vacation in a city.

We visited New Orleans in 2011 for an obligatory American Library Association conference. I had to go to the conference because of my scholarship, but I wanted to visit NOLA because it was my high school Anne Rice fan girl dream vacation. Little did I know, we’d be spending the entirety of our visit broke and hangry. By the end, we hadn’t eaten anything Cajun and hand’t visited any of the historic landmarks on my to-do list. We entered the city totally unprepared and left in much the same fashion.

Our first couple of nights we spent at Queen Anne Hotel, an antebellum mansion turned hotel in the Garden District. It was old and a little creepy at night. Our room had the highest ceiling and and sturdiest build you could ever imagine. We spent a lot of time in the room arguing about what to eat and researching what to eat on my laptop. The best moment there was spent sitting on the creaky front porch splitting a Wal-Mart hoagie with Oliver, eating strawberries and watching the dusk descend on the little street in front of us as we downed some locally crafted Abita beer.

The Wal-Mart hoagie pretty much sums up our NOLA culinary experience. We kept searching for little local places to eat, being too broke to eat there, and then downing something totally unappetizing in sheer desperation. Every vacation of my entire life up to that point had been spent either camping with access to camp stove or renting a condo with a full kitchen. I was unprepared for having to pay for every single meal.

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Oak Alley Plantation

My favorite thing about New Orleans? Leaving it. We made a whole day out of leaving by the Great River Road which boarders the Mississippi and were able to stop at Oak Alley Plantation and Nottoway Plantation for tours. If I had a do-over I would’ve spent my entire vacation hopping from one plantation to the next, as most of them offer overnight accommodations.

My ideal Louisiana vacation would be to drive the Great River Road and do tours by day, and enjoy craft beers around a campfire by night. That would be the best. Let’s not talk about how I’m still broke, even in my dream vacation fantasies.

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Nottoway Plantation