Thursday, December 31, 2015

30 Day Writing Challenge: A Letter to Anyone

To my beloved nieces and nephews,
I doubt any of you will ever read this letter. I had started it off twice, the first time to my characters and the next time to my younger self, before realizing that the only people I would actually want to write a letter to are all of you. I don't know if I will ever become a mom, or if I do, if I will be half as amazing as your moms, but one thing I do know is that I will forever be your doting Aunt Gracie.
I want you to be able to come to me when you feel scared or angry, when you want to watch TV or read and book or just lounge around on my bed. That's okay. That would be great.
L, you are one of the strongest little girls I know. You may not realize it, but the trials you have overcome are more than most people face in their lifetimes. And yet you still smile. And it's a gorgeous smile.
N, from the time you were a baby you were a tough little thing. You barreled through a room and lit it up with your can-do/don't-mess-with-me attitude. But what stood out most was your love for your sisters. You have such a naturally tender and caring heart. It blesses me to see it.
Z, at the time I'm writing this, you're still an infant, but I see both your sisters in your beautiful face and your angelic demeanor. God has his hand in your life. I'm sure he will use you to touch other people. Remember that God can use anyone, no matter what season of their life they are in.
A, being a big sister is more than just a birthright. Being the eldest means being an example to your younger siblings. It's okay to make mistakes because you're helping them learn. Your mom and dad will help you along the way, and so will the rest of us. So don't worry, sweetheart.
O, you possess an inner strength that takes people by surprise, but I think what shines brightest about you is your incredible spirit. I imagine you'll light up people's lives with that spirit, as a star would show the way on a journey. I can't wait to watch you grow.
Q, I know how it feels being the youngest in the family. People will always see you as the "baby" and you will probably feel the need to prove yourself over and over again that you are more than just a little kid or "their baby brother." I hope you know, though, that you don't have to prove anything to me. God has a plan for you, and I jus hope you are able to have faith and put your trust in Him.

All my love,
Aunt Gracie

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

30 Day Writing Challenge: Shuffle Setting

Oh, thank goodness, something easy. This challenge was to put your iPod on shuffle and write down the first ten songs.
  1. Supermassive Black Hole (2Cellos featuring Naya Rivera)
  2. Sway (Michael Buble)
  3. Feeling Good (Michael Buble)
  4. Beethoven's 5th/Secrets (The Piano Guys)
  5. It's My Turn To Fly (Lit)
  6. Going Under (Evanescence)
  7. Mine (Taylor Swift)
  8. Not Quite Paradise (Lit)
  9. Give it Up (Ariana Grande and Elizabeth Gilles)
  10. See Beneath You're Beautiful (Max Schneider and Liz Gillies)
Aside from some interesting songs to follow up other songs, I'd say an all right shuffle.


30 Day Writing Challenge: Three Lessons for My Future Children

As depicted in the title, today's challenge is to describe the three main lessons I would like my future children to learn.
I suppose the first would be something I strongly believe, and that is that your word is everything. Giving someone your word, making a promise is no small thing. You don't just keep your word when it's convenient. If you are unreliable in that, then how can people trust or depend on you?
The next one is more important than the first one, I'm just not thinking these things ahead of time. Everything you do is for God. Devote yourself to Him and you will be blessed. You will see His workings in the everyday things, and when you do see them it's like you're seeing past a glittering mirror into something completely new.
Third would probably be to value family. My family and I are very close, and I wouldn't want my children to miss that. I would want them to be spoiled by their aunts and uncles and grandparents. Just please call ahead before you bring over the massive Barbie Dream House.
What are some lessons you've found invaluable in teaching your kids?


30 Day Writing Challenge: Fave Three Actors

Okay, here's one I'm more comfortable with. Three actors I admire. Well, probably in my top three would be Richard Armitage, and no, not because he was Thorin Oakenshield. I've seen some of his other stuff too and I honestly think he's a very good actor. He seems like a good guy.

Next is Mary Kate Wiles. She's a young actress who I saw on the YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, which is a modern take on Pride and Prejudice. Mary Kate played Lydia Bennet, and the way the character was written, the trials she has to go through, and the way she is portrayed really turned my head. I've watched a few of Miss Wiles's vlog posts and I like how down-to-earth she is, very open and very in-depth when addressing questions to her. She's talked about her struggles with Celiac Disease and how it has effected her, and she seems like someone you would like to get to know, have as a friend, watching your back.

And to round off the trio would have to be Jared Padalecki. The first time I saw him was on Gilmore Girls (I know, throwback) but then I saw him on the show Supernatural. Now, although I'm not a dedicated follower of the show (I've only seen a few episodes, out of order) I have come to admire both Jared and his co-star Jensen Ackles. Both guys are devoted actors and an absolute riot together. They truly have a brotherly bond, but what stands out to me about Jared is the way he overcomes his personal struggles. It is no secret to anyone in the Supernatural fanbase that Mr. Padalecki suffers from depression. This is not something you just get over, and it's not just extreme sadness. Depression gets into the heart of you, almost to your roots, and it has been the cause of many people choosing to take their own life rather than try and fight it. Sometimes it can stem from wanting to please everyone all the time and just feeling inadequate, having the world press down on you so you have this impossible weight on your shoulders. I have known people who battle depression. That's what it can become. A battle. But Jared, with support from his family, his co-stars, his followers and fans, fights his depression everyday, appearing to see the best in a day and being able to genuinely smile and be a good dad and a great actor.
If you haven't heard of these actors, I hope you'll give their work a gander, because I think it's worth looking at.


30 Day Writing Challenge: First Crush

Bleh. I hate these kinds of questions. The next writing challenge is to post about your first love/crush. But there's not much to say, honestly. I think the first boy I ever liked was named Greg. Or Alex. I can't remember. But I met them both at church. And neither of them stayed there. And the world goes 'round and 'round.


30 Day Writing Challenge: 30 Random Facts

Day 18's writing challenge is to post thirty facts about yourself. I have to say, I kind of like making all these lists. It makes me feel so organized.
  1. I am a student attending Community College.
  2. I have strong opinions about what people say regarding Community College; it's not a place for slackers. You can receive just as good an education there as you can anywhere else. Don't mess with us college peeps.
  3. My wardrobe is comprised mostly of blue and black, with a healthy smattering of geek-oriented stuff.
  4. As far as fandoms go, I would say I am in a good many. However, I'm probably most invested in Harry Potter. I find myself referencing that the most, although Disney, Sherlock, and any classic literature fall in close behind.
  5. I have my own box shaped like the Monster Book of Monsters from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, although I have not found anything worthy enough to put in it. Suggestions?
  6. When I was little, I wanted to be a fairy when I grew up. Not much has changed, except when I die, I hope I'll be surrounded by Heavenly angels instead of fairies.
  7. Wherever I am going, I always have either a book(s), a notebook and pen(s), or all of the above on hand. The reason I don't have one of those pretty clutch purses for weddings and stuff is because I can't fit all that into one.
  8. One of my absolute favorite topics to study is mythology. It doesn't matter which part of the world it originates, I want to study it.
  9. When I was a kid, a brick fell on my head. This was partly my fault. As I was climbing the tree in our backyard one day, I wished there were a shelf to keep my books on so when I was reading in the tree and had to go in for lunch, I could just leave the book on the shelf and come back out when I was finished. I started to work shortly after constructing a shelf out of blue rope woven from silk threads. Well, of course I needed to test it, and there happened to be a brick laying nearby. I tested my shelf with the brick, and it worked beautifully. Unfortunately, I forgot about it. A couple of days later while I was playing under the tree, the brick fell on my head and actually bounced off of it. I don't think I ever screamed that much. Mostly I remember my parents carefully pulling away bloody strands of hair to see if I needed stitches. Apparently I was just shy of needing stitches, but what I took away from that was my experiment succeeded! My shelf was functional! And so was gravity.
  10. My favorite food is Taco Dip. It is a delicious layered concoction where you spread refried beans on the bottom of a pan, then taco meat, salsa, and finally Velveeta and chopped chili peppers. You cook it in the oven for about forty-five minutes to an hour and eat it with tortilla chips. There is absolutely nothing healthy about it, but it is so good!
  11. Baking is one of my favorite hobbies. Cookies are probably my special-ity, although I've been getting into making my own versions of popular candy bars. My homemade Almond Joys? To die for.
  12. I love spoiling my nieces and nephew! I will slap down an obscene amount of money for a stuffed animal or a nightgown if I know they will love it.
  13. I was enjoying this whole list-making thing, but now it's getting kind of hard. Thirty facts? What is this, speed dating?
  14. I love the TV show Sherlock, though one of my favorite Disney movies remains The Little Mermaid. Beauty and the Beast follows at a close second. I also miss the usage of choirs in movies like Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. If you listen to those songs, you'll know exactly the sound I'm talking about.
  15. I've read The Screwtape Letters at least three times.
  16. In one year of high school, I read the Twilight Saga more than thought. (Shut up, I was fifteen, single, and hormonal.)
  17. I loved the first season of Once Upon A Time on ABC, but now I feel like it's getting really weird. They brought in the Wicked Witch of the West, then they jumped on the Frozen wagon, then they brought in Cruella DeVil, and I know they've thrown in some Greek mythology in there. Stick with a realm, Kitsis and Horowitz. Disney was good, Grimm's was a really good move, but now you seem to be going on a Lost sort of path. But I will admit, Captain Hook is one of my favorite characters. Also, Belle cries, like, a lot. Is her weeping face a selling point? Miss the old Belle and Rumple.
  18. Sorry, back on track. Random fact number eighteen, if I keep on the same track I've been going, I should be able to finish my degree in three years. Yay!
  19. If I could have superpowers, which powers would I want? I think I would want the ability to control water, turn invisible, and fly.
  20. If I had to choose one? I don't know why, but I think I would want to control water. Although being able to heal came to mind, if I had that ability, and just healed my family whenever they needed it, I wonder if I would become less faith-dependent. I've seen a lot of family members on hospital beds. Let me tell you, having faith during those times, when there are tubes down there throats, in their arms, and when they writhe in pain but you can't do anything but hold them, those are some of the moments where your faith is tested, and in some cases strengthened.
  21. If I could go back in time and do something different, I think I would spend more time with my Pap Pap. He knew so much and spoke so little, his wisdom was sometimes in what he didn't say, or just the look he gave you.
  22. I was homeschooled my entire life until I graduated high school. I loved being homeschooled, but I wish I had spent more being involved in theater productions. Not that I was social repressed, but I just didn't know they existed. I thought all actors were professionals, even the kids.
  23. When the time comes that I am on an extreme budget and can only afford a few groceries, I have narrowed down what I personally would want for essentials, food-wise. If I had only $30 to spend on food, my entire pantry would consist of coffee, sugar, peanut butter, whole wheat bread, apples, and chocolate chips. Not including the coffee maker and filters, I can go without creamer in my coffee, so long as there's sugar. So my breakfast would be coffee with an apple or coffee with toast and peanut butter. Lunch would consist of a peanut butter sandwich or an apple cut into wedges with a side of melted peanut butter dip. For dinner, any combination thereof, except I would add chocolate chips for a treat. And that is my entire meal plan for when I inevitably will need to budget my food. There was actually a time not long ago where this pretty much was all that I ate, and I wasn't even buying the food. But I know that I can survive on these things. For a time.
  24. I would LOVE to work on a movie set. Whether it's building sets, making costumes, doing interviews, working in make-up, making props, being the designated coffee-runner, or just being someone's personal assistant, just to be in that environment and seeing all of that stuff being created would be totally awesome!
  25. When I was little, I wanted to grow up to be a fairy.
  26. At the same time, I was convinced I was half-mermaid.
  27. My favorite directors are Joss Whedon, Peter Jackson, and Andrew Adamson.
  28. I have read The Screwtape Letters at least three times.
  29. I am a YouTube and Pinterest junkie!
  30. It took me a good two weeks to come up with this list.

I hope you enjoyed this because it took me forever to write. I started writing it two days after my last post and it has taken me this long to finish it. Coming up with thirty facts about yourself is hard. Anyway, I'm trying to cluster the rest of the writing challenges to at least fit them in before the official end of the year. We'll see how it goes.



Sunday, December 13, 2015

30 Day Writing Challenge: Capricorn

For today's challenge, I had to do a little research on my zodiac sign and whether I thought it fit me or not. My sign is Capricorn, and while reading up on this, I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. According to some sources, a Capricorn's strengths include ambition, loyalty, responsible, patient, and resourceful. I can tell you right now that I am fiercely loyal. But some of their weaknesses include being dictatorial, "inhibited," conceited, distrusting, and unimaginative. There's another word for that. It's on the tip of my tongue... Oh yeah! Military! Aside from those things, though, Capricorns are strong friends with a mind for leadership. They often seem melancholy and stern, but it's not because they're angry; their minds are always turning over something. That I can relate with. But I've also read that Capricorns see things as either black or white, "one way or the highway" type mindset, which I know is inaccurate for me. What I've basically gathered from my browsing Capricorn topics is that they are very cautious and can be control freaks, they like structure and come off as introverted. But ambitious? Unimaginative? Hello, have you read my blog? I write fantasy! Why don't you tell me to my face how "unimaginative" I am.
I guess with these horoscope things you have to take what you want and leave the rest, like a buffet. I wonder what the history behind the zodiacs originates from. I know they're based off constellations, but after looking at the constellations, I have to ask myself, "How does that look like a goat? Or a half-breed fish-mammal thing?" I do not understand the zodiac signs, but it was interesting researching mine. Also, if you want a somewhat different perspective, the YouTube artist Klaire De Lys did an entire makeup series on the zodiacs, and they are awesome! Check out her YouTube channels below:


Saturday, December 12, 2015

30 Day Writing Challenge: Something You Miss

Hi guys. You guessed it: today's writing challenge is about something that you miss. Now, when I hear this, it makes me reflect on certain memories with sadness, and because I feel like a lot of my posts have been melodramatic lately, I want this one to be something happy and uplifting. So I am altering the challenge to "Something you miss and how you plan to fix it."
Number 1. I knew in high school that I wanted to be a writer, and so during those four years, I wrote my butt off, spending hours in front of the computer, not watching YouTube but actually writing. I remember the joy I got from that. While my activity hasn't really increased or decreased since high school, I would love to get back to writing with the intensity I had just a few years ago. At one point I had a notebook which I literally took with me everywhere and was writing in all the time. Maybe a new notebook is something I should invest in. Thus far I've been using old composition notebooks or mini notepads, but it's not the same. So I guess I need to get myself a notebook and also work on getting the story info in my head down on paper.
Number 2. I've been dancing since I was five-years-old, and when I decided to take a break from my studio, I was at first relieved. It had gotten to the point where I wasn't that thrilled to go to dance; it felt like a chore. Getting out of my studio was nice at first, but the love I still had for dance, despite taking a break, was still there. When going to the gym, I would spend the majority of my time doing ballet stretches or claiming one of the racquet ball courts to practice turns and going down the floor. This past semester has been awesome because I was finally able to take a dance class at my college, and I loved it! I know now that dancing isn't something I can really go without. It's a part of me, and even if it's in an informal location, like the gym, I need to make time for it.
Number 3. A clean room. How can my room go from Pine-Sol clean to where's my carpet in less than two days? I used to be so good at keeping my room clean. Now I seriously considering rearranging my entire room just so I'll have the chance to put everything away eventually. Right now I've shoved all of the clutter to the center of my room so I can sort it out and deal with it tomorrow. But there are a disturbing amount of spider webs on my walls, and as cool as I find spiders, my room is not an Arachnid halfway house. Sorry, Charlotte.
Number 4. You know what I really miss? Picking up a good book because I know I will be engrossed in it. There are books I would reread in a heartbeat; I've reread some of the Harry Potter books multiple times, and there was a phase in my life where I was devoted to all things Twilight. I'm over that now. I would willingly go back and read something like Wizard's First Rule or The Screwtape Letters again, but I kind of want something different. Don't you just hate it when you read a book you thought was going to be good, and then it's just... just? I hate that. I stopped reading the Lorien Legacies series because it got pretty meh. I'm considering starting the Outlander books, or maybe Inkheart. Are there any good standalone books? It doesn't have to be a series.


Friday, December 11, 2015

30 Day Writing Challenge: My Day in Bullets (points)

Hi everyone. I'm sort of squeezing this in between assignments, but it actually works out perfectly because the challenge for today is to bullet point your entire day.
  • 7:51 -Awoke from a text sent by my sister. Was instantaneously happy.
  • Went downstairs to find Mom awake.
  • Discussed needing to buy more melting chocolate, a new toaster, as well as sorting out some other Christmas present stuff.
  • Began getting ready to leave.
  • Maverick visions promptly dashed when I realized I still had an assignment due by midnight tonight, and aside from doing the shopping and going to work, I was also helping my sister with her dress rehearsal.
  • Mental note to brew extra coffee.
  • Drove to bank. Deposited a check.
  • Went to JoAnn Fabrics. Wilson's melting chocolate two for six dollars, plus a twenty percent off entire purchase coupon! Win!
  • 9:51 am -Went to mall to finish Christmas shopping. Store in mall was closed until 5:15 pm. Drat!
  • Went to Kohl's to find Steeler's merchandise. Nada.
  • Braved the hallowed bulwarks of Wal-Mart for groceries.
  • 11:41 am -Made it home without killing anyone.
  • Realized I forgot to buy cat food.
  • Fed the cat some lunch meat.
  • Ham and cheese on pita for lunch.
  • Talked with Mom before work.
  • On way to work, realized I had an eighth of a tank of gas. Once at work, had a scintillating conversation with coworker about how far I could get on a quarter tank of gas. She asked what kind of car I had. How many cylinders? When I stepped on the gas was it more of a VVROOOMM or a vvvvroom? Told her it was more like a vvvroom.
  • 12:53 pm -Punch in, started running racks.
  • 4:54 pm -Punch out. Start car.
  • Listened to new Cinderella soundtrack on my way to the church where the recital is going to be at, periodically glancing at the fuel gage and trying to remember along the road where each gas station was.
  • 5:47 pm -Arrived safely at church with still an eighth of a tank. Parked under a non-functioning streetlamp.
  • Upon entering I was almost immediately handed one of my nieces. Changed her into tights and a leotard. Tried to keep her from running on stage when it wasn't her turn. Several near misfires.
  • Helped both nieces change into new costumes.
  • Watched their dances.
  • Helped the oldest out of her costume into something more comfortable.
  • "Potty time!"
  • Changed into first costume because it had a pretty tutu and we didn't pack the "Belle" dress.
  • 7:54 -Left church.
  • 7:59 -Got gas.
  • 8:41 -Arrived home. Ate a late dinner. Watched the practice video with Mom, Dad, and Grandma. Yep. Rachael's still got it. You can tell she still loves dancing.
  • 9:10 -Went upstairs to work on paper, due in three hours.
  • Checked Blackboard. Paper not due until tomorrow.
  • Binge watched YouTube.
  • Decided to start paper anyway.
  • Three questions in, remembered I still needed to blog for today.

The end.
This is day fifteen for this writing challenge. I'm halfway done.
Still not sure how I feel about that.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

30 Day Writing Challenge: Movies

Oh, here's a fun one. On the agenda today is a list of movies I would never get tired of watching.

1.) Coming in at number one is Nosferatu. My dad and I were fortunate enough to catch this movie playing at an old theater where they had brought in a musicians from an ensemble from New York to play live music during the movie. Needless to say, best date ever! Not only is this an incredible taste of the silent movie era, but it is also a shining example of a proper horror film. You can laugh at the funny face on the cover, but this movie is legitimately scary, and with live music, it easily takes the place as one of my favorite movies.

2.) Forgive me for being a '90s child, but I didn't think the 1998 Godzilla movie was that bad. My dad is a fan of the old films starring the King of the Monsters. However, I think the most recent release of Godzilla may be my favorite. I liked the approach they did with the guy in the military being the min eyes and ears of the film. To me, it made it more relatable than a geeky scientist who studies worms and had his heart broken by his college love interest. Plus, the movie was interspersed with nods to the classic films, like Doctor Serizawa and the kid with the red ball cap.

3.) Dial M for Murder was the first Hitchcock film I ever saw, and I was hooked right away! I love his style, the slow building, the intelligent dialogue, and he has this way of holding the camera that makes it appear as if someone is watching you. Very cool. Although it would be cool to see remakes of some classic Hitchcock, like The Lodger (another silent film), I suppose no one can really copy or imitate the Hitchcock style.

4.) This one is not a movie, but I love the BBC show Sherlock. I watch the episodes over and over again, mostly because I'm a huge fan of the books and I always see something new whenever I watch them.

5.) Narnia is in a category all on its own. You can only approach such ambitious, beautiful work such as C.S. Lewis with the greatest care and the highest respect. This movie is one of the most beautiful sources of fantasy you will ever see.

6.) Finally I have a TV show that I used to watch faithfully: Leverage. A show about a bunch of stand-alone criminals who band together to fight for people who can't fight for themselves, this show had a nice balance of comedy, intelligence, and intrigue. And drama. It was on TNT for a while, and you know... they know drama. I like rewatching these episodes a lot, whenever I have a day off, no school, no guests... just me and the TV. All day. Marathon, baby!

There you have it! My list of movies (and some TV shows) that I would never get tired of watching.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

30 Day Writing Challenge: Excited

Man, blogging everyday is hard. Do people really do this for a living? I mean, I guess if you got paid for it with some kind of annual check or what have you, it might be a little easier, but man. This is hard. I have a newfound respect for professional bloggers. You have more motivation than I do.
Thankfully, though, I have a cheat sheet: a list of topics to discuss for the duration of this thirty day challenge. On the roster for today is something you're excited about. Now after digging through all the stress built up, the to-do lists, registrations, and more Christmas shopping to do, there is something that I am truly exited about. If you've been keeping up with these posts, you might remember a couple of days ago when I talked about the thing I struggle with, that thing being loneliness. And I had only fully realized that struggle after my brother and his family went home after spending three weeks on leave. It was wonderful and heartbreaking at the same time. But I believe they have an endgame, which is that after the military, they will come back to live here. I know it's a long way off -years, in fact- but the day they come home from the military is the day I anxiously await.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

30 Day Writing Challenge: Blessings

I noticed that these writing challenges tend to make me rant a bit. Thankfully, today's topic is to write about a blessing in your life. With certain events coming up, I think it wholly appropriate that this post be devoted to my mom.
I can't describe my mom in one word because she is so amazing and she impacts my life in so many ways. Since my sister got married, she's been one of my main confidantes. I'll find myself doing something like preparing a chicken for dinner or fixing a tear in my clothes and think, "I remember when Mom taught me this." Although she has a gentle spirit and very compassionate demeanor, my mom is one of the strongest women I know. You can never tell if she's troubled by something because she's so busy pouring love out on other people. And it wouldn't occur to you that that was out of the ordinary because that's how she's always been.
She's had to endure some pretty intense trials and still God has brought her through, made her a strong rot in our family, someone we can just lean on.
So today I'd like to say that one of the greatest blessings in my life would be my mom.
I love you, Mom. :-)

Monday, December 7, 2015

30 Day Writing Challenge: What If...

Today's topic will be asking the questing, what is something you think on and wonder, "What if?"
For me, I think the biggest thing is taking voice lessons. I've always loved singing, but I've never had any formal training, and whenever I asked my brother (who was trained) what tips he had, all he would say is enunciate your consonances. Seriously, Ry? That's it? But anyway, I'd say that's a pretty big "What if" thing in my life. I've thought about seeking out formal training, but I wonder if I can learn anything now because I've let it go for so long. Can my voice be changed/improved this late?
What are some things you have "What if" thoughts about?


Sunday, December 6, 2015

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 10

Hey. As often happens, I turned on my computer to start this post, like, thirty minutes ago, but got sidetracked on Twitter. But I'm here now, and today's topic is... let me see... Minimize, Start, Pictures, 30 Day Writing Challenge, double-click.... Aw man. "Write about something for which you feel strongly." Seriously? I have to wake up in the morning, I don't want to get into detail about something. Ugh. Fine. As a matter of fact, I can think of something I feel strongly about.
It sometimes aggravates me to hear about how other countries view America and the people who live/grew up here. Of course there's the classic "Americans are overweight." We get it. We're working on it. There are more fitness centers in America than I think there are in the rest of the world. You know why? Because people here are aware that they're not as healthy as they want to be, so we're trying to get to that better place. Segueing into the food genre, I've heard through a few sources that some countries feel it is an insult when you finish all of the food on your plate because, to them, it means they didn't feed you enough and you are still hungry. I don't know how the rest of America operates, but I was raised to finish all of the food on my plate. When I didn't, it told my parents that I was ungrateful for the food they had cooked for me. To not eat it was wasteful. There are also people from around the world who say bread in America is "sweet." I've only every travelled to El Salvador, but the bread there tasted the same as it does here, so I can't really weigh in on that.
I hate pickles, but apparently the rest of the country has a secret obsession with them: putting them on sandwiches, hotdogs, potato salad, chicken salad, deep-fried... I never noticed that one before, but I guess America does have a thing for pickles.
Here's a popular one. Public bathroom stalls. People (keep in mind I'm getting the majority of my information from various YouTubers, but people nonetheless) have restated that our bathroom stalls have huge gaps in them and that other people can see into the stalls if they wanted. First of all, the gap between the bottom of the door and the floor is so you can see someone's feet and know that the stall is occupied. Therefore, why would you go looking into an occupied stall? It also keeps you from looking like an idiot by knocking on each individual door. Look at the floor. Look for the feet. It's not rocket science.
Well, I guess that's all the demeaning things much of the world thinks about America. There are some good things too, like the fact you can take your leftovers home from the restaurant, or free refills. I guess a lot of countries don't do that. But anyway, I have performed my duties for this post. Have a good evening. See you tomorrow.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

30 Day Writing Challenge: Words I Carry

Hello all. I'm going to try and keep today's post short and sweet since it's quarter to midnight and I have to go to a work Christmas party tomorrow *shudder*.
For today I will be discussing some words of wisdom I was given a few years ago. Whenever you're about to graduate, people come out of the woodwork to give you advice. Graduating high school was a completely surreal experience for me because my last few years had been really enjoyable and the ceremony itself seemed a bit... monotonous. My dad had been the commencement speaker, though, so that was a highlight. Oh, and I got to dance. Always fun. But during my graduation party, a bunch of people kindly wrote words of wisdom for me to look through later, and one or two have actually stayed with me since then. I talked about this a long time ago, but I feel the words are worth repeating.
"Thinking back on the time that has passed since my high school graduation, I want to offer this: DON'T WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW! Obey the Lord and then follow your dreams with relentless vigor and passion. Do not let obstacles deter you. Don't wait for the "perfect timing" to occur. Make it happen with prayer and persistence. If you delay, time is lost. And you can't get it back. (At least this side of Heaven!)"
I think of those words whenever I am unsure about my writing, where I wanna go. It has actually been hard to find time to pray lately, what with family visiting and finals and all that. I lay my head down, close my eyes to start talking to God... and then next thing I know it's two in the morning and I've dozed off. So I'm working on that. I cherish my prayer time, and I was thinking about joining the prayer chain just so I could spend a little more time in prayer.
But getting back on topic, I look back on those words a lot, especially about obeying the Lord and following your dreams.
Just another little tidbit before I go, it has sort of become my motto in life: Whatever you do, do it with excellence.


Friday, December 4, 2015

30 Day Writing Challenge: Struggle

Almost forgot about this one. I thought I might have posted it earlier today, but then I think I was just remembering yesterday and how I posted in the afternoon rather than the evening.
The topic for today is to write about something that you struggle with, and today, that sort of came out of the shadows and revealed itself to me.
My brother and his family have been on leave these last few weeks and have been staying with my parents and me. A full house, as you can imagine. They have three little ones, the youngest of whom is still learning to crawl. But they went back home today, starting the long drive back to someplace far. I missed them as soon as the car was out of sight. I walked into the house and it felt so vastly empty. No noise. Sippy cups on the counter. No toys strewn about the floor. I hated it. And as per habit, I retreated into my room to let the tears flow.
I come from a large family. I have two brothers and one sister. And then my sister married. I gained another brother and now I have three nieces. My other brother married, and I having graciously gained another sister also gained two more nieces and a nephew. We are many. Having my brother and his family here, there was never a dull moment. Someone was always getting into something or asking me a question or wanting to cook something or go shopping. Growing up, I was always surrounded by family. But I realized that even though I do like my space and reading and being able to do stuff independently, I struggle with loneliness.
The semester is coming to an end, so I won't be seeing my classmates for a while. Dance is done. There are no classes I can take at my local studio. My best friend is away at college in one of the Carolinas. So really the only social interaction I get is at work where I'm a cashier and at church once a week. Honestly I can't believe I only realized today that I am exceptionally lonely. And I'm not really sure what to do about it, because I'm still an introvert. I know this; I took the Briggs-Meyers test. I still hate being in crowds of people (for example, parties, like the one I have to attend on Sunday) but I really do cherish the time I have with people I love. After all, a person is not meant to spend their whole life alone.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

My Top Fave Songs

Hey, check it out! I'm blogging during daylight hours. What kind of madness is this?
Today's topic is the top ten songs I'm loving right now (in no particular order).
  1. I recently got into the band 2Cellos, which is a duo of guys who do rock songs on their cellos. It sounds kind of weird, but they are seriously cool! I would recommend listening to their versions of "Welcome to the Jungle" or "Highway to Hell."
  2. Another artist I really like is Sam Tsui. He's a YouTube music star who works with his friend Kurt Schneider to produce covers of popular songs. "Locked Away" is good, as well as "Just Give Me a Reason," "Just A Dream," and "Demons."
  3. There's this song on a BBC show called Poldark sung by one of the characters, Demelza. First of all, can we just appreciate the name? Come on. Second of all, she does sing very well. The only way I can find it is to type in "Demelza's Song" into YouTube. Pretty distinguishing. Not many people have that name. :) It has a really nice folk lullaby feel to it, very soft of deep.
  4. "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" is a song from the TV show Smash. Unfortunately Smash was cancelled, but I still like the song.
  5. Another song from a movie, the new Cinderella has a lovely song called "Lavender's Blue" which I find just captivating. It's not included on the soundtrack but I have found covers for it. Lily James sings it in the movie, and I was surprised by what a nice voice she has.
  6. "Demons" by Imagine Dragons.
  7. "Legend of Zelda Medley" by Lindsey Stirling.
  8. "Mi Mancherai" by Josh Groban.
  9. "Wildest Dreams" cover by Rachel Talbott.
  10. "So Close" by Jon Maclaughlin.
Come back tomorrow for our next topic.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 6

Hm. I should really read these topics ahead of time before I go committing to them. Today's topic is... five ways to win my heart.
Shut up. I didn't write the challenge, I just do it.
Okay. Well, first off, he has to be a believer. I think that would be a deal-breaker if I were to enter into a relationship.
Secondly, buy me books. If I'm in a bookstore looking at a book that I eventually decide against, and then you find me a few minutes later and hand me the book I was looking for, saying you bought it for me... you, sir, are officially on your way to becoming the man of my dreams.
(I'm gonna be honest, here, the amount of weird, girlie fangirling stuff that's going through my head right now is kind of unsettling. I usually repress those kind of displays, even in my head.)
Thirdly, be able to make me laugh. Real, genuine, undignified laughter that I don't have to tone down because we're in a public place.
Number four, tell me about your interests. Tell me why you like them so much, funny stories associated with them. I want to know why you like video games or watching soccer instead of football. Yes, I am ignorant, but that doesn't mean I don't want to know.
Encourage me. A lot of times I need someone to build me up, especially when I haven't done anything with my writing or dance for a while. These are things I love, and they occupy very large parts of my life that don't always receive attention. I may say I'm fine or I'll get to it, but if I'm not addressing something you know I love, like writing, it's usually because I'm afraid of what may happen if it doesn't turn out well. Help me. Cheer me on. Pray for me. Do that, and I'll probably love you forever.

...Ahem. Well, that was revealing. Um... I may delete this later.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

30 Day Writing Challenge: 5 Places to Visit

Well, for today's (Tuesday's) post, here is a list of five places I would like to visit.

1.) Scotland
I don't care which part, I don't care what time of year, just put me in Scotland and I will love you forever. It's one of those places you sort of dream about. You can look at as many pictures as you want but they're still just pictures. To really stand there and think, "Wow, that picture wasn't kidding," wouldn't be absolutely amazing! Honestly, the British Isles in general is where the setting for most of my stories are located.

2.) New Zealand
I think there's hardly any explanation needed for this one. Director Peter Jackson put New Zealand on the map after his outrageously successful Lord of the Rings franchise, and it's only gotten more popular since then. Besides providing the main canvas for our generation's most beloved series, nature there is undisturbed. It is pure and wholly created by God. How can you not want to go there, touch those rocks and ferns and say, "Can you believe this is real?"

3.) Israel
Now, this one is a little more nostalgic. While it may not be a major tourist attraction, Israel is one of the oldest countries I can think of. Stuff in the Bible happened in Israel. It is so rich with history, with memory, how can you not want to visit there? I would recommend going with a group and accompanied by Ray Vander Laan. He provides some of the richest Biblical teachings you will ever experience.

4.) Ireland
Along with Scotland, I would seriously love to visit Ireland. My brother spent a few days there and he said he would go back in a heartbeat if he could. It also happens to be the land of my ancestors. At least, some of them anyway.

5.) El Salvador
I don't know if I can count this one because I've already been there, but it makes the list just the same. I've been to El Salvador on two occasions, both for mission's work with a large group of people. I would go under those circumstances again if I had the resources. I do love being there because I know that when I'm there, it's not a vacation: I am there doing God's work, whether that be building houses, putting on puppet shows at schools, or handing out food. My church puts together a few group trips to El Salvador every year, and to go is literally a life-altering experience. That week is one you cannot forget. The bonds you form with the people who accompany you, and how clearly you feel God's presence along that trip is truly incredible. So yes. El Salvador makes the list.

What places would you like to visit, if you could? Anywhere in the world.
Come back tomorrow (Wednesday) for another day in my 30 Day Writing Challenge. This is getting fun!