A Book Review: All the Light We Cannot See

A beautiful story where fact meets fiction written by Anthony Doerr.  Doerr’s writing style is compelling and enjoyable while still offering readers a challenge in deciphering his style and language.

SPOILER ALERTS BELOW!!

All the Light We Cannot See takes place in Nazi-occupied Europe. The story follows two lives from their years as children to their adult years.

Marie Laure is a young girl from France who loses her sight at a very young age. Her father builds her models of the city so she is able to travel through the city safely on her own if she should ever find herself lost or alone. Marie Laure and her father have a beautiful father-daughter relationship; the kind that some young girls can only dream of. Marie Laure and her father are forced to flee their home when it is occupied by the Nazis. The majority of the story takes place in a city on the coast of France where Marie Laure’s life is forever changed.

Warren is a young boy who is orphaned as a child and grows up in an orphanage. He has a fantastic self-taught talent for fixing and designing radios. This is, of course, noticed by Nazis and he is placed in a camp for Hitler’s Youth. He spends the rest of his childhood growing up here and training until he becomes a soldier and travels the countryside completing Nazi missions. Warren is thrusted into Nazi-life without every being given a choice or fully understanding what consequences his work will have.

Marie Laure and Warren’s lives cross paths in the latter of the book as the two’s destinies intertwine towards an ending that will leave you wanting more.

Doerr’s expert plot-crafting is stunning and impeccable. If you have difficulty following complex plots and language, this book is probably not for you. However, if you’re looking for a book that is challenging but beautifully constructed, I highly recommend this book for you.

 

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Wanderlust

Wanderlust, according to the dictionary, is defined as “a strong desire to travel”. I have recently discovered that this is a quality I have come to possess.

My husband and I were born and raised in Wisconsin.

We have had our trips and vacations, but have never ventured to live further than a 1-2 hour drive from our parents’ houses.

We have recently made the decision to relocate to Colorado Springs, CO. This is a location we have never vacationed to, we do not know anybody, and we will be completely starting over. After much discussion and conversation, these are the reasons we have ultimately decided to make this change.

 

  1. Our Marriage Is Young. Some people say “you’re still newlyweds” or “can your marriage handle this?” My answer: yes. This will not only challenge our marriage, but will require us to have healthy conversations and make decision together, as a team. Not to mention, we are moving to a location where we don’t know anyone. Our friendship will maintain its strength and we will spend more time together than ever.
  2. If Not Now, When? Both my husband and I have graduated college and have our degrees. We are in the part of our marriage that is the “limbo” stage in my opinion. Not quite to the point of starting a family but not quite in the early newlywed stage anymore. We are not yet homeowners, we are not yet parents. If we don’t do this now, we never will.
  3. Adventure. I believe a huge part of staying connected with your partner is experiencing adventure and things that you love together. This will be a huge adventure for our marriage. One we will look back on and be glad we did it. I can almost guarantee we will recall the memories we make and stories that are created to our children and grandchildren in the years to come.
  4. What About Our Families and Friends? We have been blessed with such wonderful families and truly amazing friends. We will miss them dearly but will absolutely stay in touch. We will still visit often! Thank you to all who support us! We love you dearly.
  5. Our Dreams. Mitchel loves to climb and mountaineer. Being closer to the mountains will fulfill his dream. I personally have always said “it would be so cool to live out west by the mountains!” The air is so much clearer and the views are breathtaking. Before I met Mitchel and made these statements, I never thought they would actually come true. Mitchel and I complement each other perfectly. He pushes me to do the things I love rather than just say them or think about them. I am so grateful for that.

I plan to continue posting throughout our journey to keep our friends and family updated on our adventures together. Let’s all pray for a successful transition!

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

pikes-peak-colorado-springs

 

 

 

 

My Husband’s Hands

My husband wakes up at 4:30 AM every morning to go to work at his job in construction. Every morning he awakes looking tired and exhausted. His average sleep time every night is approximately 6 hours…if he’s lucky. He commutes an hour to work and an hour back everyday.

mitch work

My husband’s job is hard on his mind, spirit, and body.

His job is hard on his mind as it is full of deadlines and critical thinking. Try doing that on six hours of sleep every night!

His job is hard on his spirit as he is always tired and working overtime, at least 10 hours a day, five days a week.

But most of all, his job is hard on his body. He has come home with multiple cuts, bruises, and a variety of other colorful wounds.

mitch boots

But my husband gets up to go to work every single day. No matter how tired or exhausted he is, when his alarm goes off at 4:30 AM, he always gets up and gets ready for work. He drives an hour in the dark and is punched in before most people have even had their first alarm go off. He works at a job where he smashes his hands, cuts himself accidentally, and does a blue collar job that most people won’t do. And after all this, at the end of the day, exhausted and tired, he still comes home with a smile on his face because he is happy to see me. After all that he goes through, he can still be his happy, positive, loving self for me when he gets home from a job that takes everything out of him.

mitchel work

 

And he does it all for me. He gets up and goes to work to a job that slowly chips away at him, all because he wants to build a strong foundation for us. He goes so we can have nice vehicles, a nice place to live, and food on the table. He goes so that he can support me and give me the things he knows I want. He goes so we can put money in our savings to prepare for raising a family someday. Not only did he work hard to support us while I was a full-time nursing student, he also managed to work hard enough that he was able to give me the wedding I always dreamed of and the wedding ring I thought was out of reach.

mitch rach graduation

 

mitch rach wedding2

My husband works at a job that makes his hands look dirty and beat up. Some of his fingers are angled funny because they’ve been broken so many times. His fingernails are short and packed with dirt and grease that will probably never come out no matter how many times he scrubs his hands. His joints are swollen from the constant strain they are under as they are overworked.

Sometimes, admittedly, I get angry that my husband works a job where he gets so dirty. Especially when he comes home and greasy clothes get put on the floor and greasy dirty boots get walked across the clean floors. And then, I have to wash his greasy dirty work laundry in our brand new washer and dryer and scrub the floors clean. But as I am cleaning out the washer and dryer after washing his extremely dirty work laundry, I remember the key point here. We are fortunate to have floors under our feet for me to clean. Our washer and dryer is brand new. And the reason we have a Samsung frontload washer and dryer is because he worked so hard to provide it for us.

When we go on a date and my husband is freshly showered, clean-shaven, and dressed-up, most people would have no idea that he is a blue collar worker. At the end of a date, when he goes to pay the check, sometimes he gets a weird look from the waiter/cashier because his hands are so dirty and rough.

mitch rate date

People may judge him for the way that his hands look, but I don’t know what it feels like to have people judge me for the way my hands look. I am a nurse. My hands are always clean and (usually) without visible flaw. I get manicures occasionally to “improve” the look of my hands.

Some people might see my hands holding my husbands and instantly make judgments.

Although my husband’s hands may have many flaws, I wouldn’t change a single thing about them. For starters, my hand fits perfectly in his when I need the reassurance of my best friend.

mitch hold hands

His hand fits perfectly on my face when he gives me a kiss before and after work.

mitch hands1

 

His hands wrap around me perfectly when I need a hug or a shoulder to cry on.

mitchel arms around me

 

 

The best part about my husband’s hands? 

 

 

His hands look like this:

mitch hand2

 

So that mine can look like this:

rachel hand

 

To my hubby: I know I don’t say it enough. Thanks for everything you do for us. I love you to the moon and back!

Think positive,

Rachel

What A Grieving Person Wants You To Know

This may sound negative and contradictory to my blog title, but I believe this post is just as important as any. It also explains many things going on in my life right now.

Recently, my immediate family has lost two of its family members.

One of these family members was KIA and died at a young age approximately 10 months ago.

Another of these family members passed away peacefully, from old age, surrounded by family approximately three weeks ago.

Although grief can take many different forms and be caused from many different events, my family has been “put through the ringer” so to speak as of late. As unfortunate as it is, grief is something my family knows a little too well right now.

So let’s talk about grief. I don’t pretend to be an expert, but here are some things I have learned through myself and my family during the last ten months. These are facts I would want my family and friends to know.  I think it is important for other people to know these points in the event that (God forbid) they become a main supporter to someone they love who is entering the grieving process.

  1. Everyone grieves differently. I have learned that hard times affect everyone differently. Grieving processes can take weeks, months, or years depending on the person. Be patient with the person who is grieving. Understand that even though you might have moved on from the incident that broke your heart, another person might still be struggling. grief1
  2. Sometimes, a grieving person needs to be left alone. There are times during grief when a person just needs to be alone. If you are a friend of a grieving person who tells you they aren’t feeling up to hanging out, don’t take it personally. It’s not meant to be a personal attack, it just means that maybe the person wants to curl up on the couch with a box of tissues and watch sappy romantic movies.  grief2
  3. Sometimes, a grieving person needs to be surrounded by people. There are also times during grief when a person needs to be surrounded by people who support them. Sometimes, hugs, laughter, and tears are what someone needs to feel okay. grief 3.jpg
  4. Just because a person is grieving, doesn’t mean they aren’t still a happy person. A person may be fighting a silent fight of grief or a public fight of grief. Just keep in mind: if a person is in a grief/mourning period, that person may still see all the things in life they have to be happy about. In fact, a person who is grieving likely has a higher appreciation of the blessings they do have. grief 4
  5. Please don’t ignore someone’s grief. If you are friends with someone who is grieving, don’t be afraid to be a shoulder for them to lean on. Supportive friends and family are everything to a person who is grieving. When you do text/call/contact a grieving person, don’t act like nothing happened or nothing is wrong. It hurts more than if you acknowledge the person’s grief. If a grieving person doesn’t want to talk about a certain topic, trust me, they’ll tell you. They won’t be mad that you asked. They’ll be happy that you care. All they will want is a change of subject. grief
  6. Do not, under any circumstance, tell someone to “get over it” or anything similar. Surprised to see this one here? Yeah, so am I. Except I had this happen to me. Shortly after one of my family members was killed. Firstly, this is the least supportive thing you could say to someone who is grieving. Secondly, this phrase is a great way to earn a one-way-ticket to ending a friendship/relationship with a grieving person. Don’t say it. Just don’t.                                                     grief 5
  7. Loss that leads to grief will cause a turning point in someone’s life. A person will deal with grief in one of two ways. A person will either choose to be defeated by grief for the rest of their life, or a person will choose to let grief make them into a stronger, better, more whole human being. What can you do that will influence the outcome of a grieving person?  Be there for that person. Be there for the hard times. Be there if they’re angry at you. Be there if they’re crying out for you. Be there to support them. Be there when the dust settles. Be there when others leave. Just be there. And hopefully, with support and love from those who surround them, a person who is grieving will choose the path of grief that will lead to a positive outlook on life. grief 6
  8. The grieving process may or may not end. Please don’t expect to understand the stage of grief a grieving person may be in. Trust me, they not even know themselves what stage of grief they are experiencing. For some people, the final stage of grief, acceptance, may last the rest of their lives. Acceptance will come in many different forms. Although true grieving may seem to have ended, a grieving person still feels their loss frequently. This loss may feel stronger on some days than on others. Just as some days will be harder than others. Some days will be filled with happy memories, some with sad memories, and some with both. With this last tip, my point to you is this: support your grieving loved one and don’t assume you know the stage of grief they are experiencing. Don’t assume they are “finished” grieving. The only person who can truly understand someone’s grief is the person who is experiencing it. Support your grieving loved one whether it has been ten days or ten years since they have experienced a difficult loss. grief 8.jpg

Love and prayers to all who are enduring the fight of grief. I pray you all have the support you need to come through it a stronger person.

Think positive,

Rachel

Here Goes Nothing

Today is the day I decided to start a blog.

Hopefully it’s as therapeutic as I’m expecting.

The posts made here will reflect many different topics, including being a wife, a nurse, a daughter, and everything in between.

Here’s a little about me:

My name is Rachel.

I am a 20-something female living in today’s crazy society. I’ve been a nurse for about a year now and I love every minute of it. My husband and I have been married less than a year and so far, so good. I enjoy netflix, chocolate, reading, friends, family, and wine.

Basically I’m your average young woman. However, my life has encountered some very non-average events. Some of these will be blogged about, some will not.

Even if nobody reads these blogs, I hope they will bring me some peace of mind and serve as an outlet to release some stress.

So, cheers to a new adventure, my friends! I hope you have as much fun as I do!

Think positive,

Rachelblog1