Sunday, June 21, 2015

My New Book Review Site

Hello Scribblers and Book Bandits!

Long time no talk. I just wanted to let you know that I have started blogging again over at Christy Luis Reviews: Book Reviews for You. It's not a writing blog, just a review blog. I don't post there on a regular schedule, like once a week; I usually post a review every two or three weeks. There's no set day.

But I hope to see you over there, whether you're a Scribbler or a Bandit or both.

Thanks for reading, friends.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My "Foot Problems" (aka Arthritis)

Hello, All,

Since my health has allowed Kevin and I to return to church again, many friends have been asking about the health problems that confined us to the house for so long. We decided the best way to answer your questions was to post an abbreviated version here, on my old blog. (I’m not returning to blogging, but the story is complicated enough that a blog post seemed like the most effective way to spread the news.)

My health issues began in summer 2012 with a nagging bruise in the joint of my left big toe, and escalated when the bruise worsened, apparently turning into a stress fracture. (That’s what the podiatrist guessed, anyway. She couldn’t see the fracture on my x-rays, but the symptoms seemed to fit.) You may remember seeing me in a walking boot in the winter of 2012.

The “fracture” took an unusually long time to heal—too long—so I developed Achilles Tendonitis & Plantar Fasciitis in both of my feet. I started physical therapy in March 2013. Four months of therapy helped, somewhat, until the pain and swelling inexplicably spread to my right foot. Aleve and ice packs couldn’t seem to control the swelling. I also began to have pain in other joints, although we didn’t connect it with my foot pain, at the time. We just thought I was "that weak" from almost a year of inactivity. 

My Lakeport podiatrist finally admitted, after over a year of visits, that she had no idea why my feet were still swelling. So my general practitioner advised us to visit a podiatrist and a rheumatologist in Santa Rosa. The Santa Rosa podiatrist put me on a few weeks of Prednisone during December 2013. When that treatment didn’t knock out the swelling, he told us something that, amazingly, we hadn’t heard before from a doctor: this wasn’t just a foot issue. It was a systemic problem.

He sent us to the rheumatologist, who diagnosed me with a genetic form of arthritis called “spondyloarthritis” in January 2014. This made sense with the other inexplicable pains in my lower back, hips, knees and feet; all the joint pain and swelling, even that original foot pain (probably), was just a symptom of the arthritis. Spondyloarthritis develops around age 19 or during the early 20s. “Spondylo” refers to the spine because the immune response often attacks the lower back. The diagnosis isn’t an entirely sure thing, because spondyloarthritis is tough to confirm. For example, it doesn’t show up on x-rays, like rheumatoid arthritis does. We can only guess based on the symptoms. But that doesn’t change the delightful fact that the treatment plan is working (!!!). This diagnosis may sound like bad news, but honestly, we’ve never thought so. We’re just thrilled to have a diagnosis that makes sense and a treatment plan that has offered relief.

As for said treatment, our rheumatologist (Dr. Todd Hoeffling. A GENIUS.) prescribed an arthritis medication called “sulfasalazine,” which, together with physical therapy, gradually eliminated the pain and swelling in my feet. Ever since January, I’ve been working through all the exercises we learned from Lem Martin’s excellent Quail Run Physical Therapy, and a few back stretches learned from the wonderful Pilates teacher, Tina Woelbling.
Currently, I only have three more steps in my physical therapy exercise plan. (There were quite a few. Think in scores.) After that, I will need to build up my strength to relearn a few other basic living skills without pain or swelling, such as walking barefoot, standing in the hot shower, and driving my clutch car. And, finally, I will need to rebuild my stamina.

However, I’m not sure when I’ll be up to drumming, volunteering or anything else, yet. Strengthening and recovery have taken many months, and Kev and I will need some time to relax and restore, once we’ve met our physical therapy goals. Kev has been right here with me through all the unanswered questions and medical appointments. You may notice that I keep saying “we did this, we went to our doctors,” etc. That’s because it’s been a team-effort all the way. We will let you know when we’re ready to renew some of our commitments; just know they are very important to us, and we will be back.

If you would like to pray for us, here are some of our current requests:

-That driving the clutch car wouldn’t cause any problems. Last time I tried (in July), it set me back four weeks.

-That my back and stomach would heal up quickly. I recently stopped taking NSAIDS because of some stomach problems (I will be asking about ulcers at my next appointment), and my back has been the main nuisance, post-NSAID.

-That we would find the perfect medication to fit my needs, if the sulfasalazine doesn’t turn out to be the ideal choice.

-That we would get to take our vacation to Florida & New Orleans. We’ve been postponing this trip since May 2013, and now we’re aiming for early 2015. It’s going to be a major step toward feeling like “normal,” again. Eyes on the prize.
Thank you so much for reading this post. You’re part of our celebration. We've had inexhaustible support from immediate family—thank you Melodi, Steve, Nancy & Ed, for meals, rides, prayers and loveand friendsBevie, Corryn, Marc & Brenda, and othersand particularly our Bible study group here in the Riv (Dorothy Cundall, for e-church, coffees and breakfasts; Kathy & Pat Chambers, for keeping us connected; Lisa & Chris Nowak, for visiting and being impromptu electricians; Dina and Rob Roumiguere, Carol and Ray Perry, and everyone else in our group, who prayed us through it all). And where would I be without my email buddies? M, C, and Q, I appreciate every one of your sweet, encouraging words.

Christy & Kevin

****Update 10/21/14: After explaining my stomach pain to the dr. last week, he said my stomach lining is probably inflamed from a year of taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. Worst case scenario, I might have a few small ulcers. He prescribed a generic form of Prilosec for a couple of weeks and thinks that will take care of the problem. We would appreciate prayer that this would be the case.

Monday, November 25, 2013


Dear Readers,

I launched Sweets for Scribblers and Book Bandits almost exactly two years ago, on November 14th, 2011.

I began this blog to write a new chapter of my life.

I began this blog to write about this amazing thing called "writing."

I began this blog to rave about my favorite books.

I began this blog to publicize library events.

I began this blog to share what I learned about writing during college.

And in three weeks, I will graduate with my Bachelor's Degree in English, Emphasis Creative Writing, from Regent University. Now I need to evaluate my career goals and make the transition from student to adult. I need time to think and to write my own stories. To live my own stories.

The time has now come: I must take an indefinite blogging hiatus.

I have learned so very much from this blog--and from you, my dear Scribblers and Book Bandits, in your emails and comments. Thank you for reading and writing with me.

I have loved sharing my words with you every Friday, then every Monday.

And I still do.

So maybe I will again? Surely, at some point in the future. But for now (for however long "now" lasts), this is goodbye.

So long! Keep scribbling and reading.

P.S. Happy (Early) Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 18, 2013

YA Book-to-Movie News Roundup

Interno di un sala da cinema

Ender's Game premiered Nov. 1, 2013.

The Book Thief premiered Nov. 8, 2013.

Catching Fire premieres Nov 22, 2013.

Divergent premieres Mar. 21, 2014.

The Maze Runner premieres Sept. 19, 2014.

I, for one, love to watch as Hollywood discovers YA Fiction. 

The Lakeport Cinema is doing a special double-feature for The Hunger Games and Catching Fire on Thursday, Nov. 21 for $12. What a fun event for a family outing!

The Mockingjay movie (third in Hunger Games Trilogy) will be split into two parts (thanks to for the news). Boo! The book isn't long or detailed enough to merit the split, but Hollywood WILL MAKE THEIR MONEY, Y' HEAR?

The Divergent movie trailer looks good! Much better than the teaser trailer did. I read Divergent in one sitting when I should have been doing homework, which speaks to its thrills and pacing. This book also packs a thematic punch, which I love, but it has some plotting and worldbuilding problems. But! Check the new trailer:

Thanks to GreenBeanTeenQueen for the news.

The Giver, a classic in Children's Literature, is also being filmed and is scheduled to premiere on August 15th 2014 (thanks to for the news). The book is a wonderfully lyrical, disturbing Dystopia by Lois Lowry (a prolific author of several critically acclaimed children's and young adults' novels).  Many famous actresses and actors populate this cast, including Meryl Streep. Exxxxcited! Certain readers, however, are rumbling about Hollywood's choice to cast a 24 year old actor for Jonas, the 12 year old main character of the book. Personally, it doesn't worry me too much--Hollywood can remake Jonas into a teenager without impacting the story line too much. I hope.

Though filming for The Maze Runner is over, the director protracted the release date until September 19, 2014 (thanks to Hypable for the news). Again, boo. But maybe that's a good thing--we wouldn't want an undercooked film, after all. I enjoyed the trilogy, which is why it made my 2013 Summer Reading Recommendations. If you want to read my book review + craft post on the trilogy, you can click here. By the way, have you seen these Maze Runner trading cards?

*11/21/13 Update: I forgot to mention that the film adaption of Meg Rosoff's How I Live Now premiered on Oct. 4th 2013.

Photo Attribution:
I, Sailko [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, CC-BY-2.5 ( or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, November 11, 2013

8 Things for Christian (and Other) Parents to Love About Twilight

I'm not a parent...but I was a teenager during that first humongous Twilight boom and I really enjoyed the books. I've just reread the first book to see if all the criticisms about it are true. Coming back to it as an older person, more experienced reader, and aspiring writer, I can understand the criticism; but there's been plenty of that. It's time to give Twilight a little well-deserved lovin'.

*By the way, this post contains some spoilers. But if you're reading these words, you've probably either already read and love/hate the book, or you are curious about its content. So read on!

Bella and Edward As Teen Role Models (Don't laugh, yet.)


1) Bella and Edward wait to have sex until after they get married. I mean, seriously, do you want your sixteen year old having sex with her boyfriend? How about her second or third boyfriend? No? Then Bella and Edward can be an example in this regard.

2) Edward is a respectful, old-fashioned kind of guy. He respects Bella's dad Charlie, and he's actually the one in the relationship who insists on marriage before sex.

3) Bella is a responsible young adult. She finishes school essays several days before their due dates. She reads literature. She shops and cooks for her father. She was ready and willing to buy her own car with her own money. Are you liking this, parents? She's actually not a bad role model, in a lot of ways.

Spiritual Matters


4) This book touches on a few spiritual matters. During chapter 14, "Mind Over Matter," Bella asks how vampires might have originated. Edward replies,

"Well, where did you come from? Evolution? Creation?
Couldn't we have evolved the same way as other species,
predator and prey? Or if you don't believe that all this
world could have just happened on its own, which is hard
for me to accept myself, is it so hard to believe that the
same force that created the delicate angelfish with the
shark, the baby seal and the killer whale, could create both
our kinds together?"
I thought this was a beautiful way to suggest the question of origins to a teenager. This idea appears in few books, much less in Teen lit where it should be since teens are still feeling all this out for themselves. (Check out this video, around the 5 minute mark, for a minute long overview of Stephanie Meyer's religious views, and how they impacted her book.)

5) The books don't glorify the blood-sucking, evil sides of vampires. I haven't read Dracula, so I know very little about the classical metaphors, etc. But I do know that these are "vegetarian vampires," meaning they've found a way to control their thirst without drinking the blood of humans. Edward worries about his soul. These don't sound like the dangerous, evil vampires that Christians worry might influence the minds of their children. And anyway, most kids know the difference between fantasy and reality. Twilight won't demonize the minds of your children. I understand that this is a personal opinion, though. If you aren't comfortable with it, I won't try to convince you any farther.

Good Reading Experiences

6) Moms and daughters can read and enjoy these books together. It's been done. Seriously.

7) It'll get your teen girl reading! What's not to like? One positive reading experience can easily lead to another. Would you rather your daughter be watching TV or reading Twilight? By the way, Twilight is a pretty big book for a reluctant reader to pick up (my copy has 498 pages and rivals a few of my Bibles in thickness). If they're reading it, I say give 'em a gold star.

8) The classical references throughout the series spur teens on to read and listen to the classical sources. How do I know? Because I read Wuthering Heights after Twilight piqued my curiosity about it. I didn't like "the classics" back then, but Twilight helped me along. And if it makes your teen curious about vampires? Tell her to read Dracula. That's kind of a classic, you know?

Before I leave you to consider these things, let me tell you that the books are NOT the same things as the movies. I really...dislike the movies. But I like the books. And before you decide you don't like the books, give them a fair trial, please.

Monday, November 4, 2013

2 New Book-To-Movie-Trailers

Another new Catching Fire Trailer, this one with some exciting glimpses:

Also, another book trailer for The Book Thief movie (yippie!):

Thanks to GreenBeanTeenQueen for the news!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Library Events and News (Including a Book Sale!)

Hey Scribblers and Book Bandits!

Three things for Lake County library geeks:

  • Tomorrow is the Fall book sale at the Lakeport Library, from 10-3pm. Paperbacks sell for $.50, hardcovers for $1.00. I've gotten all kinds of great books there--Catching Fire, Mansfield Park, several Harry Potters, Jane Eyre and others. Check it out, if you like books!

  • Also, Jan Cook, one of the librarians, gave me permission to post her helpful library events calendar for November. I'll be posting these every month. Thank Jan when you see her at the book sale!

  • And finally,  the library is putting together a newsletter. You can sign up for it here. Look for the "subscribe to our email list" logo on the right side of the page.