Happy Tolkien Reading Day! (2021 Edition)

Happy Tolkien Reading Day, everyone!

Each year, the holiday looks a little different for me. One year (before kids), I read The Hobbit in one day. It satisfied my soul, though my eyes certainly complained the next day. Last year, it was a beacon in a dark season. It reminded me that, like Easter, darkness can’t hold back the coming dawn.

This year, my focus is cultivating a love of Tolkien into my children so that they become third generation Tolkien fans. Between Lord of the Rings Little People, the Unexpected Party from The Hobbit film, and Middle-earth-inspired food, we’ve already had an adventurous day and there’s more to come after naptime.

Obviously, I want them to like the same fandoms that my husband and I do. (I converted him not long after we got married.) But more than that, I want them to understand some of the most important things that I’ve learned from the lore of Middle-earth. Heroism. Sacrifice. Courage. Friendship. Contentment. The beauty of becoming immersed in a magical world that is unlike our own yet shares truth that they can hold onto.

As I enjoy these last few minutes of quiet before naptime ends and the Chelsea buns are ready to be rolled out, I reflect on how grateful I am for inspiring stories, like The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. They have shaped my life, and I hope that they shape my girls’ lives for the better too.

My kids’ new favorite Little People…

Are you celebrating Tolkien Reading Day? What are your favorite ways to celebrate?

Happy 2021 (and Tolkien’s Birthday!)

A belated merry Christmas and happy New Year!

2020 was quite a year. While there’s a lot that could be said, I prefer to dwell on the positive. For my family, that means celebrating our second child. Nothing has made my heart happier than watching my first excitedly anticipate the arrival of her sister and watch her fall in love as she helps me care for both of them. It’s been a beautiful way to end one year and start the next.

While there are a lot of great things about starting a new year, one of my favorites is that there are still things to celebrate as the holiday season fades. (We keep everything up until Epiphany, but that only did so much to keep the Christmas spirit alive after the New Year.) Specifically, there’s Tolkien’s birthday, which is today!

For me, that means lots of tea and a toast at 9 pm local time “to the Professor.” Usually, there are Middle-earth related shirts, but since everything doesn’t fit immediately postpartum, I’ve settled for an homage to Gondorian style instead.

And it means starting the year off feeling inspired to write. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but it wasn’t until I was in my tweens and read The Hobbit for the first time that my passion really began. While there are plenty of writers who have inspired me over the years, none have left a mark quite like his.

So here’s to another year of celebrating the Professor and to a new year. May Tolkien’s work be a reminder that there is light in dark places and that the King still has a crown.

SB Roberts 2021

Nine Years Later…

It’s been just shy of 9 years since the last time I watched astronauts launch into space. I stood outside my front door, watched the Space Shuttle Atlantis go up one last time, and whispered a prayer for their safe return. When they came home, the twin sonic booms signaled the end of an era.

It’s been 7 years since I saw Atlantis up close for the first time at the Kennedy Space Center. I held my baby daughter close and told her that I used to watch it fly to space. That I used to dream of being its pilot. She must have remembered because not too long after, she began waiting anxiously for rocket launches too.

Today, I count down the minutes along with the astronauts waiting in the Crew Dragon. I watch the sky, hoping that it stays clear enough for launch and for us to see it from the same spot where I watched Atlantis almost 9 years ago. I know my daughter will be too young to remember today (or whichever day the Crew Dragon finally launches, weather permitting), but I love that I get to share this historic moment with her.

Our homemade rocket has been helping us prepare for the historic launch. I’m not as good at paper crafts as I thought I was, but my daughter likes it.