Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Why Have I Been So Quiet? I Went to the Middle East




  For those of you who follow me on social media, you probably know where I've been i went three weeks ago and why I went radio silent on a lot of things.
 In July I was home for maybe a week, and when I wasn't home I was out of town on vacation, house-sitting, or some other thing. But this last week in July I got to experience something special. I got to go to Israel and experience the Holy Land, and then see Rome on the way home (Like !!!!!)

  Why have I not said anything about this trip? Any normal person would be like I'M GOING ON A TRIP!!! and I wanted to, but didn't. Why? Because I wasn't sure it was going to happen.


  Let me back up a bit. Over a year and a half a go I got an email from a Biblical Fiction author, Connilyn Cossette, who shared that she was going to Israel for an INSANELY LOW price, and it covered everything. To say my eyes grew big and my wanderer's heart beating faster is an understatement. I started my research, looking into the program (Good Battle Tours) and once I was prepared I brought the info to my parents. After a lot of talking, my dad decided he'd go with me. That was in Dec of 2016.
Well, come the summer of 2017 our trip got canceled due to some things going on over there. My dad and I got our refund, and I thought that was the end of it. But my grandmother ended up going on one of the trips in Dec 2017, and a week after she got back the tour posted that they had some slots for 2018 open.

  Again, I felt that butterfly of hope flying around inside me. I had 3 days to decide if I could go before the price went up (to a still INSANELY low price). I signed up. I talked to a few people, and in the end I knew about ten of the people going on the May trip, including my grandmother who went in Dec (can you tell she loved it?) Come this spring, and I'm nervously excited, but not saying much in case something happened...aaannnd something did happen. Our trip was scheduled the day that the US was moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, which probably wasn't a good time for a giant group of tourists to be in the holy sites and other areas that can sometimes heat up. So my plans to go to Israel get crushed again. There were no dates in 2018 that worked for me, so I was beginning to think that I wouldn't be able to go until the summer of 2019 ( or if I would go at all because out of all the trips that got cancelled, I was on 2 out of the 3 from the past two years -_-).

  I prayed a LOT, and then the tour posted that they would be doing rescheduled trips in July for those who hadn't been able to go this year (this time, only four out of the ten were going). So the countdown began yet again. One month before: silence. Two weeks before: silence. Six days before: earthquake right where we're staying for three days. Four days before: attack; there were some 200 rockets launched from Syria into Israel. And by this point we still didn't have our tickets and I was like "It's going to get canceled." I knew that if I made it, it would only be because of God.
  Nothing else major happened, and a couple days before we were supposed to leave, we got our tickets (cue excitement). And to tell you how anxious I was to get the tickets once the tour said "We're sending tickets out now," I kept refreshing my email for almost an hour. I went home and told my parents about it (refreshing it every so often) when I get an email alert and I see and email title "ISRAEL TRIP" and it it said "Not the email you were waiting for? Love, Dad"
I died.
But it was all good. I got my ticket an hour after my dad's email, and within no time I was up in the air headed for the Holy Land. There ended up being quite a few people on the plane from our connecting flight in Paris (only a short layover) to Tel Aviv, and it was so cool connecting with people from all over (we had some people from Canada and Mexico in our group of 50+ people).

 Our week in Israel flew by, and we saw so much stuff, but I'll be saving that for another time.


If you read through this long post, I'm impressed you made it *hands you a piece of pie and ice cream* I'll be posting pics of the sites in another post soon. :)

Friday, July 6, 2018

Just a Prayer





Whenever something bad happens, some catastrophic event, and even smaller ones, my heart goes out to those affected. A lot of time I can’t do any physical act to show my support and help them. 
I’m often times discouraged because of this fact -the want to do something, but I am unable to. 
All I can do is offer a prayer. 

“He will respond to the prayer of the destitute, he will not despise their plea.”
Psalm 102:17
It’s just a prayer. 
I say this for myself often. 
A prayer isn’t a “little” thing. If you are able to go out and do something, awesome. But if you have limited resources or no knowledge to be helpful, it’s okay. 
A prayer is small, but powerful. (Think of the tide or wind, you can’t see it, but you can see the effects of a strong and powerful force. I even heard someone on the radio today say that if you feel too small to do anything, then you haven't spent the night with a mosquito. Nothing is too small to cause change.) A prayer is a message that God, the Creator, will listen to, and answer in His time. 
It’s not a text that will be rejected as “undelivered” or “read” but unanswered. He will listen, and He will answer. 

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
1 John 5:14 


So don’t be putting yourself down every time you can’t go out and do. Sometimes God needs you to be behind the scenes, being the one to pray up a storm.
God gave the gift of prayer for a reason; don’t waste it.  

Sunday, June 17, 2018

I Wrote a Short Story + Beta Call!


 Okay guys, I'm doing something I've never done before: a beta call O.O *cue music*
I am super excited to share these stories because they're some of my favorites. Originally this post was only going to be for one story, but you get two! I'll have two separate sign up forms below, along with their summaries. We're both looking for people to beta read the story (regular beta stuff like grammar, if it flows, any plot holes, that kind of thing.) and would be super grateful for your feedback.
The first one (and one with a deadline) is The Star's Shadow. It's a story filled with Fae, Shadows, and Stars (*sigh of delight*). I partnered up with Savannah from Inspired Writes to co-write it, and I love it so much.
 The second story one is currently titled A.I.Z.E. It is a short story (just over 7k, so a little on the larger side as well). This one I've had sitting in my head for a while, and was able to write it for a school project.

The Star's Shadow
Genre: Fantasy

Word Count: (7.5k)

Summary: Drayden is a Shadow Prince, a fae who are known for their vicious nature and for stealing shadows. But Drayden isn't an ordinary Shadow Fae. They are dark creatures who blend in with darkness, invisible to an unsuspecting victim. Drayden is different, not only has he never succeeded in stealing a shadow, he also doesn't look like one. His pale gray coloring has cast him in suspicion ever since his birth, and his inability to shadow-steal as only greatened the dislike and trust.
So when a Star Fae, one of the brightest creatures in their realms, falls into their kingdom, Drayden is given the chance to redeem his name and save himself from exile. Steal the Star's shadow, and he will be accepted. But is he willing to do what it takes?



A.I.Z.E.
Genre: Science Fiction

Word Count: 7,291

Summary: Jax has been used to living alone, just him, his ship, and his inventions. Ever since he was young he's lived on the edge of the Outer Rim, scrounging for things to help him survive and evade Testra, a facility that is a lot more advanced than the Rim, and are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.  After Testra comes after him, he tries to keep a low profile in his space craft, working a 'pirate' like job, though he refuses to acknowledge that term.
 When he gets ahold of a new Artificial Intelligence (AI), he ends up with more than he bargains for. The AI is in need of an update that only Testra has, and it leads to an unplanned adventure onto a large transport ship to get the needed information. Finding an unconscious girl while there was not what he was planning on, leaving him with a difficult decision. Will he risk his own freedom to help her, or leave her?

If you're interested, just fill out this handy form I made, and I'll be sending it your way!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

P h o t o g r a p h s



 I was scrolling through Instagram the other day and looking at some amazing feeds. A lot of photographers have a certain style, or color scheme they stick too, and I started thinking about my own.
 My feed can have a varying look, but the "style" is generally the same. I like to think of my pictures as moments in life, captured to show the little things you sometimes miss. (If I was to have a "life motto" it's probably: Enjoy the little things.) I often wish I could be the person whose pictures all flow together, whether by similar colors or views, but it's not, and I'm okay with that.


 We're in a society today where we keep moving, hardly ever stopping. Our days become more and more filled, so much so that we can't even stop and rest for five minutes without being reminded of the list of things we need to get through.
 I know it's something I struggle with; resting and taking time to read through my Bible, or be outside and listen to the wildlife instead of constantly moving and trying to finish the never ending list.
 My life is a chaotic one with an ever-changing schedule, unforeseen trips, and days that are exhausting. I'm still learning to juggle it all because as soon as I figure out one thing, another one appears.
 My photography mirrors that. Most of the pictures I take are quick little blippets where I snapped a pic and then moved on to the next thing. I rarely get the opportunity to take time to go out and photograph specific things. Usually, if something catches my eye I pull out my phone and take a picture (real professional, right? XD).

 I want my pictures to tell a story

 If I was to have all the time in the world, I would love if I could take more photos of people experiencing things. Whether exploring the woods, candid shots of hanging out with friends, or enjoying sunset views. (Basically it sounds like I just want to stalk someone around and take photos of their life. Which sounds WAY creepier when I think about it, and not at all what I mean XD). I want to show moments, in a way that tells a story. Pictures remind us of the emotions that are out there. The pain, the joy, the wonder.
 This post may have turned out into more of a ramble than anything, but I just want to remind you to pause and enjoy the calm. Don't keep pushing yourself, you will drain yourself till you are exhausted. Just breath, and take in your surroundings. Life will keep moving, and won't fall apart if you stop.


Thursday, May 31, 2018

May Wrap-Up



Life

  I finished my first year of college! I posted more of my thoughts on it in my First-Year post, but I have to say, I've been really enjoying college. I also took part in the school magazine with editing, and one of my poems was published. So that was cool XD
Oh also! Near the end of the semester, someone brought their dog in class, so that was really cool.
  After I completed finals, Savvy and I went to the movie theater to watch the Jumanji movie. We had were a little bit late because we stopped to buy ice cream. As we were sitting there watching the movie, the movie felt a bit off. I keep looking over at Savvy and asking if this is the right movie. I send her out, the wonderful sibling I am since I didn't want to, and she comes back in silently laughing. It was all I needed.
 We were in the wrong movie theater. Apparently our movie was just across the hall, and we had walked into some weird movie. I have no idea whether it had just started or not, but I'm sure those in the audience were wondering what we were doing. But we made it up by later on going on a photo-shoot, and I got some awesome pics of her.
 Mid-May I went to NYC with my grandmother and it was a lot of fun. My top favorites were the Strand Bookstore, seeing the Anastasia play (so magical), and visiting the peaceful Roosevelt Island. So cool.
 Towards the end of the month I was a little all over the place, but I went strawberry picking with my family, and later got together with some good friends. Had a lot of fun hanging out all together again for the time they were here.

Randomness

Biz: *holds up lock* "What's the address to this?"
Dad: "You mean the combination"

Biz: "Look! I'm faster than a panfter!" (pronounced just like that XD)

Dad: "Can you do __ ?"
Me: "Yeah, I was going to wait to do it when I get Bizzy."
Dad: ??? "When you get busy?"
Me: "No. When I get Isabella."

Me: *shows 2 pics to Biz*
Biz: *tries to double tap the one she likes best*
She thought it was Instagram...

Sav: *sees picture of sushi* "Ooh sishu!" pause *face of confusion*
Me: *starts laughing*

Me: *sees a library hold has been canceled* *is indignant* how dare they *realizes I'm the one who canceled it*

Biz: "Please Siri. Do my homework and I give you all my money"
Siri: "In the words of Aristotle, the power of education..."
Me: she doesn't even have any homework she needs done. ???

Me: *begins cleaning the trunk I bought with vinegar*
Sav: "Oh my goodness! I thought you were drinking that! I heard the swishing of it pouring and thought your were gulping it down, and I was like *makes fake gagging noise*
Me: "Ha, just don't throw up on my book."
Sav: "You care too much about your books."

Family: *drive by house*
Biz: "I don't see mom's car"
Family: "We're in mom's car"

Me: "What did you learn in sunday school?
Biz: "Killing Paul."
Me: O.O okay...

Lil Cousin: *is eating a green colored myster flavored lollipop*
Me: "What's it taste like?"
Lil Cousin: "Green"

Parents get a new bed that's really tall.
Me: *laying on it* "Is this stacked up on top of your old mattress?"
Parents: *laughing*
Me: I'll take that as a no.


Writing+Reading

I have quite a few projects I am working on. My plan this summer is to write down all my notes and plot ideas down for stories that have been "cooking" over the past couple of years. I don't want to forget some of the major plot points, and so I want to save the ideas for later when I can write the full story. I also want to start world-building for Changeling because I want the world to make sense, and not be full of plot holes. So writing the 'rules' down will help when I'm start back writing it.
  Right now I am writing down scene for a story of a teen girl in foster care, and a short story I am co-writing with a friend (the awesome Savannah) for a contest. I can't say too much about it right now (mainly because there are still so many unknowns, but it's amazing. Just think: stars and shadows)
 I've also been critiquing some of my fellow writers work. I've finished about four projects now and have three more I need to get through....and these are the bigger ones lol so O.O


As for reading, I read 11 books this month, starting with Alice in Wonderland (such a strange little book, and one I wouldn't have liked if I read it as a kid) and finished with Unbreakable by Sara Ella (not my most favorite book, but still a good read). My ultimate favorite read (and of 2018) is LEGENDARY. IT WAS SO GOOD. Such a magical read and *heart eyes* So yeah, top three reads this month would be Legendary, Children of Blood and Bone, and Warcross. Oh, and The Secret Horses of Briar Hill, so I guess that makes it four (but in that order).



A Few of My Favorite Posts:

What Makes you Sparkle? by Julia at TheBarefootGal

$10 by Elizabeth at ImChasingMoonlight

Are You Living Your Life Like Second Person Narrative? by Caroline at OfStarsAndInk

And I'm also following a serial story (An Arranged Marriage: a sleeping beauty retelling) at ThePenOfAReadyWriter.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

New York City *Vlog*


 Last week I went with my grandmother to New York. It was a lot of fun, though not initially how I thought it was going to be. I've been planning a trip since December, and we had to fly out of New York. My grandmother was going to come with me, and we decided we'd also do a few things like go to a Broadway play. Well, it turns out the trip was cancelled, but we already had the tickets for both the train and the play Anastasia (which was AMAZING) so we went. Aka: Plan B. We visited old places, like the amazing Strand bookstore, and new -Roosevelt Island. Amidst the downpours and rainy days it was an amazing experience, and I'm glad it all worked out.
 Especially grateful for the protection we had. On the way back home the track we were on was washed out because of all the rain, but thankfully they found out beforehand and we were able to use another track.
 I filmed a little bit here and there while in the city. My mind was usually all over the place, and I was trying to make sure we didn't lost while videoing, so some of it's a bit shaky because I was trying to enjoy it all. I've strung up good portion of the places we went and experienced. It's not the best vlog by any means. I spent forever on it, and when I'd fix one problem something else would somehow change, but it was either mediocre or nothing. XP



Monday, May 7, 2018

First-Year


I'M ALIVE = I completed finals 
   I just finished my freshman year of college last week, and it's crazy to think about. College has been quite the experience, and I've loved every part of it. Being a commuter student is definitely different from the typical 'college experience,' but I've never done anything typical lol. I've loved living at home, having my little sister burst through the door while I'm studying, and watching late night movies with everyone. I'd miss out on all of that if I wasn't at home -buried with all my books in the basement. Plus I'm picky about my sleep. XD
 This past year I've met some great people at college, and have made friends outside of college as well. I often realize just how quickly this will go by, and I try not to think about it much. I know some amazing seniors graduating this year, and next fall my junior (we get paired with a sister class in the beginning of the semester) will be a senior *cue 'dun dun dun' music*
Last month I officially declared English and History majors, it'll be a lot of work (especially in my senior year) but it will be worth it. I had some amazing professors, and it's one of the reasons I love Randolph so much.
  This summer I'll be working, and taking a couple weeks to travel. I plan on reading an writing a lot. I have so many books that have been waiting to be read, and stories that want to be written.
So yeah, that's my plan. Anyway, I put together a 90 second glimpse of my year in college, so enjoy (hopefully, if there are no technical problems):



What are your plans for this summer?