Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My Lifeblood

     "Books are useless."
     "Why study literature, we can't use it in the real world?"
     "I don't read"
     Each of these statements is like a shot to the heart. People always laugh when I say that but seriously guys, often, it is a physical pain in my heart. Because of books I have lived hundreds of lives and seen thousands of places. I have learned the meaning of bravery, compassion, love, and friendship. I have learned the consequences of poverty, war, and anger. I have learned that I am not alone and that every storm runs out of rain. I have learned you can't write fiction without fact. Books have taught me that you must stand up for what you believe in no matter the consequences for if you stand for nothing you fall for anything. Books have given me friends when I have none. For me books are home. C.S. Lewis once said "But in reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see."
      The power of books is undeniable and unmistakable if only you would open your eyes to see it. There is something beautiful in the smell and feel of a good book. There are books that are meant to keep you company through your loneliness and your trials. E.B. White once said "A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book you may have your questions answers. Books are good company, in sad times and happy time, for books are people - people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book" And  according to Steve Leveen "When you are reading a really great book, burdens feel lighter cares smaller"  
      Some people say that they don't like Realism because it is too close to real life. I came to the realization in Literature Class the other day (with the help of a scholarly paper which I can't remember) that while yes realistic literature is realistic and doesn't
provide an escape from the real world it brings about the romantic notion in all of us to do something. Anything. About the injustice and evil in the world. It drives us to action and makes us more compassionate and understanding. Sure it isn't always an 'escape' but sometimes we need reality in order to face what is going on in our lives and in the world. According to Ursula K LeGuin "We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become." All forms of literature provide us with 
this understanding. Sometimes it is obvious while other times you have to really search for it. I don't think people realize that those books that are 'escapes' have very real elements of reality scattered throughout them. For as Julian Barnes says "When you read a great book you don't escape from life, you plunge deeper into it."
     See books are like oxygen for me. I need them to breath. To cope. To live. I love this quote from Anne Lamott as she sums up many of my feelings perfectly. "For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you." Some might say I'm obsessed. Other's will think I'm crazy and to tell you the truth I probably am. 
A bookstore which was ruined by an air raid.
London 1940 Source
     I can't make anyone read. I can't make them understand but if books are so unimportant, so useless, why did Hitler burn them during WWII? Why is Uncle Tom's Cabin considered one of the main causes of the start of the Civil War? Martin Luther once said "If you want to change the world, pick up your
pen and write." 
   I don't know if that makes sense but books are such an important part of my life and it pains me to see how little our society appreciates book. I will leave you guys with one last quote from Po Bronson "Books have been my classroom and my confident. Books have widened my horizons. Books have comforted me in my hardest times. Books have changed my life"


Words Hurt by Mandee

So a friend of mine posted this amazing post on her blog and I wanted to share with you guys. As many of you know I am writing a speech on Conversations and this just ties in perfectly with everything I have been thinking over the past couple of weeks. Enjoy and visit her blog y'all because there is some epic photography that y'all need to see. (Photos are Mandee's as well)

I’m not quite sure what made me think to do this shoot. But I don’t think that there is a topic that needs to be discussed more than this one. There is so much hate in this world. So much sadness and hurt. A lot of kids get bullied. They get called names and beat up and mistreated. They feel like nobody cares. They think “why do people hate me so much? what did I ever do?”. They don’t deserve it. But it still happens. It hurts so much and it’s killing them on the inside. And you know what happens? They start to think that they do deserve that pain. And so they make themselves hurt.
Self harm is so common these days! It’s so sad. Self harm consists of lots of things, not just cutting. One out of twelve kids self harm. Teens start to hate themselves because they think that everyone else hates them. They get depressed, lonely, and don’t know what else to do.
I’ve heard that depression is like drowning. But people are all around you, and instead of worrying about saving you, they’re just concerned about what colour your bathing suit is. Like, they don’t even realize that you’re drowning at all! They just go on with their lives. Nobody notices, it feels like nobody cares.

I guess that example just shows what people these days care about. A lot of times, the stuff we care about doesn’t even matter! We care so much about how we look, and what other people think about us. It’s sick that 40% of girls between the age of 10 and 16 develop eating disorders because someone had the nerve to call them fat.

A lot of people think that it’s stupid. That a person could let such a little statement change the way they view themselves or the way they feel or think about themselves. But obviously it’s not a little problem if 40% of girls are going through it. Teens feel so much pressure to be perfect, and not to disappoint. They don’t want to be a failure. They want to make everyone happy.
We make mistakes a lot. Everyone does. But we’re teens. We’re the next generation. We’ve got so much pressure on us, trying to live up to expectations and meet standards. And a lot of teens just give up. They don’t feel good enough or smart enough for anything. They think life is meaningless. And they say goodbye. There are 30,000 suicides every year in the United States alone. Suicide is the 11th leading cause for death, homicide is 15th. And for every one male suicide attempt, there are three female suicide attempts.
There’s a million different voices coming from a million different directions and they’re all saying something different. And some of them encourage us and some of them tear us apart. Words. They change everything. We can use them for good or for evil. Everything we say can either help someone or make someone want to curl up and cry.
And it’s hard to tell what someones going through. Because a smile hides a lot.
So try to make everything you say lovely. Be kinder than necessary. Because you never know who you’re going to be talking to and what they’re going through. Make every word, action, and thought count. What you say and do can save a life.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Thanksgiving is here and I have so many things to be thankful for. God has blessed me beyond measure and this is a list of 11 things I am thankful for (because 10 is boring).

1. Amazing friends who go see movies with me and laugh and cry with me. Friends who are with me through thick and thin. Friends I will never forget. And those few who are no longer friends but family.

2. I really need to say more here? I have an amazingly sweet brother and imaginative sister. I have a mother and a father who not only care but invest in me. And my grandparents and Aunts and Uncles. are awesome

3. Books! I can't live without my books. They are my oxygen, I can't function without them. (A detailed post on the reason this is to the future...some time)

4. Tea. A yummy delicious drink which had gotten me through many cold mornings and difficult situations.

5. Music. I love music and the ability to access so much of my favorite music instantly.

6. A roof over my head and food in my stomach

7. A Lord and Savior who cares deeply about me personally and will never leave me.

8. Oh this is a big one....The ability to learn!!!!

9. Speech and Debate. This category includes Extemp, Parli, Team Policy, Apologetics, and many more

10. Writing. The ability for me to write and learn what I think. To create worlds and characters. To give back to the community who gave so much to me.

11. Opportunity. I have so many opportunities on a daily basis. To learn, speak, participate, and defend.

Yep my life is good now I must brace my self for the oncoming storm of Christmas tomorrow *sigh*. Why can't it wait till December?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Source :)

Note: Not only will there be spoilers in this post but if you haven't read the book or seen the movie you may be very confused. You have been warned.

      I saw Catching Fire opening night after Debate and Oh. My. Word. The feels!!!! This movie was beyond amazing and as a fan of the book I was surprised how closely the movie followed the book. They even added an exact quote here and there. I'll admit something. I started crying when Katniss was talking to District 11 and continued to cry through out the movie. The movie made me laugh and cry. It was just...just..ugg. I loved it so much. My only complaint is that it went by too fast (not that they could help that because a heck of a lot happens in the book). Sometimes knowing what happens ahead of time takes down the suspense a little but this was not one of those cases. Knowing who was going to die next and what was going to happen was almost more suspenseful then not knowing. I came to love our characters even more and (just like in the book) I am on the verge of disliking Katniss. 
      Let's talk about actors. One in particular. Jenifer Lawrence was ten time better in this movie then in the first one. Her face during the elevator scene with Joanna was priceless. Despite the awkwardness of the scene I couldn't help laughing. Her reactions was perfect during the Mokingbirds and when Cinna was killed. Come to think about it Jenifer Lawrence's facial expression pretty much made her part in the movie. She is getting really good at displaying several emotions at the same time. Fear. Pain. Anger. Sadness. She is a very three dimensional character something that I appreciate. I honestly have nothing bad to say about any of the fantastic cast. 
     Things they missed. Ok I understand that they can't add everything that was in the book into the movie but here are a few points they missed. First the scores from training. Didn't Katniss and Peeta get 12's? And that is pretty significant as it causes the other victors, who aren't in their circle, target Katniss and Peeta. Also the events were way to close together. In the book they almost die of thirst and no one in their group can figure out Haymitch's present. It felt like they did the mist and then the monkeys were right there. In the book the alliance gets away from the mist and goes all the way to the beach before finding out that salt drew the poison out of the blisters. Then Haymitch sends them cream to put on their burns. Third, at one point Haymitch sends the group an entire feast! It was one of my favorite parts in the book and they had to exclude it. They also only barely mentioned that Katniss was 'pregnant'. And I can thing of a dozen more things they missed. 
     This movie made me love Hunger Games even more and I can't wait for the next movie but I am not prepared for what happens to Peeta and Finnick. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Big Announcement

Drum roll please.........I am going to ENGLAND next summer! Or at least that is the plan. All I have to do is raise money for a plane ticket (who knew flying overseas was so expensive...oh right everyone). We have a place to stay and food is mostly taken care of as a friend of mine has relatives down in England. I have always wanted to travel and lately the feeling has been getting incredibly strong. Both my friend and I will be sacrificing movies, new books, and I will probably not be able to go to a Speech and Debate Tournament in Washington like I had planned. Oh and my poor camera which I have been trying to save up for is put on the back burner...again. But honestly even though there will be something I may miss out on it is ENGLAND!!! There is so much we both have to learn before going (like how to take public transportation over long distances while avoiding creeps) but luckily we have some parents who are experienced world travelers to teach us everything we need to know. I AM SOOOOO EXCITED. I can't wait to experience all of the history and culture of England. And I am totally looking forward to all the amazing tea we will be drinking. Hopefully we will be able to get some writing done in really cool places. Here is what we are planning to do in order to raise money:

  • Save all of our allowance and birthday money (an obvious and relatively easy thing to do)
  • Extra Chores (not glamorous but hey a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do)
  • Chores for other people 
  • We are going to sell Pop Art, Necklaces, and various other (cheap-ish) homemade objects
  • This is the one I am most excited about. We are planning to host a Writers/Actors camp for kids 9-12 and 13-15. We will talk about the basics of writing a short story and fundamental acting stuff. The writers camp will be headed by me while the acting camp will be headed by my friend. The lessons will parallel as we will have one in the morning and one in the afternoon. For example when we talk about Character development in Writing we will talk about all the aspect of getting into character in Acting
I will be keeping you guys updated on the process and if you guys have any fundraiser suggestions please let me know.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Sequester

     I know this is an old topic and I am surprised I haven't talked about it before because I really enjoy this subject. The reason I decided to talk about it was because I am see a petition to stop the sequester and I wanted to talk about it. For those of you who don't know (or have forgotten) what sequestration is I will explain before we get in the the whole petition thing. Sequestration was put into place because our government tends to have a hard time making cuts and forming a budget. So sequestration is mandatory spending cut across the board. Douglas Holtz-Eakin who is the former head of the Congressional Budget Office explained the sequester like this: "[W]hen you get underneath the surface, the federal budget is divided into thousands of different accounts...Each account gets cut by the same amount, regardless of what's in it. So, we have some accounts that are payroll, some accounts that are conferences, travel, whatever it may be. They'll get the same cut, regardless of what's in there." This eliminates the gridlock and forces the government to do something (or nothing as the case was). I won't get into the nitty gritty politics but lets just say our government refuses to work together. Very few people like the idea because it was (and still is) blown out of proportion. Many politicians made it out to be the end of the world but honestly it had little to no real impact. I was (and still am) one of the few people who though the sequester was a good idea. The sequestration wan't a cut in current spending. *Gasp* It was a cut in spending increases. The sequester is like gaining 25 pounds instead of 30 and saying you lost 5 pounds. Here is a fantastic article about keeping the sequester. It was written right after the sequester went into place and you can read it Here. (Please at least read the bold tags I felt like putting the article directly in the post would make it too long.)
     I know what you are thinking. What about defense budget? Ok I will admit that there is a slight problem here BUT that doesn't mean that the entire sequester should be taken away for several reasons. First we still have the largest military in the world. This chart from the Washington Post compares our military budget with the next 13 nations combined. Now I know this was 2011 but if you refer to the numbers you will see that spending has only increased and we would have to cut our budget a heck of a lot to change it.
      Second, we have withstood bigger cuts in our defense budget. According to the same article by the Washington Post: the Post-Korea budget decreased by 43%, Post-Vietnam -33%, and Post-Cold War -36%. We cut about 31% with the Sequester and budget caps. (Those numbers are from the Center for Strategic and International Studies)
      Now those of you who work for the military or have family in the military probably hate me right now and think I have everything all wrong. Just bare with me and I will explain. There is something amazing and wonderful that I advocated before the sequester happened. The president can grant something called Transfer Authority. It is fully explained in this article but here is an overview of what it says. Transfer Authority allows the given company to shift the cuts where ever they like. They still have to cut the exact same amount but they can pick and choose which departments or programs loose some (or all) of their funding. We saw that both high-priority and low-priority programs received cuts equally. If the president had granted the military Transfer Authority only low-priority programs would have received the cuts and those high-priority programs wouldn't feel nearly as much pain. If anything we need to make sure the military had this power. Cuts are necessary but it would make it a lot easier for the military if they got to choose which programs to cut from instead of everything being cut. We needed the sequester in fact it wasn't nearly enough. I wouldn't advise signing the petition but if you have different views go for it. I just hoped I made you slightly more aware of what the sequester did as well as an alternative for our military.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Turning off Your Inner Editor

    I don't know about you but when I write I tend to edit as I go which causes me some pretty big problems. Using this method I never get done with anything. Part of the reason is because I am a perfectionist and want it to be perfect on the first try. Today I want to talk about turning off your internal editor and just writing. 

     1. Remember the first draft ALWAYS stinks. This is where you find your voice, figure out the plot, and sometimes the story takes over and goes in a different direction than you thought. The first draft is messy and I know I personally will never show my first draft of anything to anyone. Get your ideas down or you will loose them and trust me that is not fun. Get it out of your head that it has to be perfect on the first go then when it is all done on paper go back and edit it. James Michener sold 75 million copies of his novels world wide. He said "I am not a very good writer, but I am an excellent rewriter."

     2. Use a pen: Still having trouble just writing? There are several things that can help you overcome that. Try hand writing your work in pen for a while. I know I am so old fashioned but it really helps.  Once you get in to the grove of not being able to erase words or sentences it will be easier on the computer. Develop the habit of just writing with out stopping. A good exercise for this is called Jam Writing. First you set the clock for however long you think you can write without stopping. Then as soon as your pen hits the paper just write whatever comes to mind. Don't pause, don't look back, don't think. Just write. You don't have to stop when the timer does but after time expires if you choose to continue the rules are the same. 

     3. Write or Die: Still can't control the backspaces? Still can figure out how to not stop? The other day I found this great app called Write or Die. They have a several apps for different devices (PC, Ipad, etc.) The primes behind this app is if you stop writing for a cretin period of time you are punished, that is you grace period. You can change how long the grace period is and you can also change the punishment. There are two that motivate me. The evil sound. If your grace period expire it admits a continuous annoying/evil sound until you start writing again. And what is more motivating that having your work deleted. If your grace period expires you have the option of setting it so that it starts deleting you work word by word. Now if you buy if for the desktop (it is only $10 and worth every penny) then you can also turn off the backspace. Talk about turning off your internal editor. Here is the link.
      4. Practice makes perfect. The more you practice writing the better you get at it. A football player doesn't start out as a professional, he has to work and work in order to get into the big leagues. Even those incredibly talented players work to keep their talent sharp and improve. Carry a notebook with you everywhere and carve out some time everyday to write.

Hope that this is helpful for those of you writers who can't turn off their internal editor. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Writing Group

I LOVE to read. I mean absolutely adore it which is one of the reasons I like to write. Now for some of you writers out there words come easily. It doesn't take you an hour to write a paragraph. Not only do they come easy to you but it actually sounds pretty decent the first draft. My friend Hannah fits into this category. On the way home from NITOC I just sat and watched her write. On the very first try her words are intriguing, they pull you in and you want to know what happens. Others, like my sister Emily, have really good and creative ideas but don't know how to develop them into a cohesive story let alone put it into words. She helps someone like myself get inspiration. What ever your style of writing it is vital that you practice and continue to learn. This is my first writing post and I hope there will be more. There are many techniques and tips out there and I want to go over the ones I have done and let y'all know the options that are out there.
     One way to improve your writing is getting together with other writers from all background and experiences.  I got invited to a writers group and the first meeting was today. I was incredibly nervous because everyone else is in college and older. I am the youngest at the moment and even though I generally hang out with those who are older then I am this group was intimidating. But honestly after the meeting was over I knew it would be a perfect fit. The people are amazing and I know I will learn a lot. I don't know how much I will be able to contribute to the group besides support but I am super stoked. I think that writing groups are very important and every writer should be a part of one. It doesn't have to be big but there must be at least one other person there.  The main reason I think it is important is because you need critics. No matter how hard you try you are not going to spot every flaw in your story because you love it and as the author you tend to fill in things so they make sense in your head. This is not good. Very few people are published this way in fact I don't think anyone can be published like this unless they are a genus and even then good luck.  
     Be careful and make sure you find the right group. One whose dynamic suits you and one where you will learn. Also it helps if the others in the group are as devoted as you and have somewhat similar goals. If your goal is to be published don't join a group of hobbyist.

     By the way the picture I posted at the beginning is my favorite sign of all time but I can't seem to find it anywhere. If any of y'all see this sign could you let me know? Otherwise I shall have to make it.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Dealing with the Famous

     We have all seen those teenage girls screaming as some celebrity passes in front of them. Some people upon meeting a celebrity become incapable of speaking and are therefore are seen as airhead fan girls (or boys). I myself have a problem with this. No, I don't scream at the sight of Justin Beiber but when meeting writers I become incredibly nervous. Even after 4 years of speech and debate I still feel incredibly inarticulate when meeting authors. My friend and old debate coach, Matt, is the son of a well known apologist. I know and love his entire family but the first time I met Mr. Mittleberg my heart was pounding and I was very nervous. One time we were at a conference about Atheism and refutation to it. During the conference I had a question which I posed to my group. Matt said "Come on let me introduce you to Lee and we can ask him." Lee as in Lee Stroble....yea I was pretty freaked out. I couldn't believe he was so relaxed at introducing me to Lee Stroble! Luckily I ended up talking to Mr. Mittleberg instead and was able to articulate my thoughts a little better. What is the point of this blog post? No it is not to tell y'all of my inability to articulate thoughts when meeting writers but I want to talk about dealing with someone who is famous. Yesterday for 4th of July a whole bunch of my friend gathered together to celebrate the Mittleberg's included. Again I was very nervous when I saw Mr. Mittleberg had come and it got me thinking about fame and how the average person should deal with meeting someone famous. So here are my thoughts:

                                  1. Identify why you admire them
     This is the first step. Think about why you are starstruck. Is it just because they are famous?* Are they really successful at something you want to do? I am well aware that the reason I have trouble with talking to authors is because I admire them and respect them. I have gain knowledge through them that I wouldn't have gained otherwise. Without them I wouldn't be as close to God, be able to defend my faith nearly as well. Through authors I have learned about how people think, about places (real or imaginary) I haven't seen or known about, and am spurred to create worlds of my own.   

                                   2. Identify why you are nervous
     What is the real reason for your anxiety? You know why you admire them but why are you nervous? I mean you admire a teacher or friend yet you don't get starstruck. Is it the fame that changes things? Maybe but I know for me that fame is only part of the problem. The thing is when I admire someone I want to impress them, I want to show them that I have grown because of them. They have had success and especially for an aspiring writer people like Mr. Mittleberg are not just a source of adoration but also role models. And honestly when I have to do something like debate in finals front of someone I admire I become nervous and even more of a perfectionist than I already am. We are just more use to seeing them which would explain why Matt talks to well known apologist with apparent ease. He is use to it so it doesn't bother him as much.

                              3. Remember they are human
     This is the last and final step. Remember that they are human and they started out exactly where you are right now. Take a deep breath and if they talk to you don't freak out! Keep as calm as possible and pretend they aren't famous. That they are just the father of your friend or a teacher or whatever works for you. 

*If this is the case then skip to step three and no offense but it might be a good idea to find someone else to admire.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Friends. Some Random Thoughts.

     Recently I have had to say good-bye to some dear friends of mine who are graduating this year.  One good-bye was said knowing that we may never meet again. Although I have only known Rae and Elizabeth three or four months this was the hardest and first true good-bye I have ever had to say. I got to wondering why it was so hard to say goodbye especially since I hadn't known either of them very long. One revelation I stumbled upon is that the reason I was having such a hard time is because I had opened my whole heart to both of these beautiful young ladies. There was never a hesitation on either side in our friendship and that meant it grew quickly. Friendships are incredibly dangerous. They can hurt and good-byes are seemingly inevitable. But they are oh so worth it! I remember sitting outside one of my Mars Hill rooms with Rae. We hadn't really ever talked before but I laughed so hard throughout the conversation. Elizabeth and I have had some incredibly serious and some incredibly goofy conversations and together (with two others) we ran through a crazy maze in South Dakota. It was dark and we were all just running around trying to get to each of the stations and then to the exit. It took us a whole hour and we only had to dive under one fence ;). Oh geeze am I going to miss them.
      One of my favorite analogies when talking about friends is a puzzle. Now this puzzle is your heart and each person represents a puzzle piece. They are all different sizes and shapes depending on how they impact you life. Until you die your puzzle will never be completed. Everyone who has an impact on you becomes part of that puzzle. Here's the thing. When someone is no longer part of your life their puzzle piece doesn't go away. The things they said to you, the lessons they taught you will always be there. Of course now a days it is so much easier keeping up with people long distance. What with cell phones, texts, email, Facebook, Skype etc. Sometimes you keep up with someone and then your paths meet once more other times you must learn to let them go. There is that phrase "if you love something you'll let it go" and sometimes you have to do that with friends. That doesn't undermine all the awesome times you had together and what not but good-byes are a part of life. 
    Not convince? Well, think about it you only have so much time and energy. You can't have a hundred friends because some of them will feel left you and you will feel exhausted. (Yes even you extroverts) Saying good-bye allows more people to come into your life. Now don't think I am saying that you should say good-bye so you can have new friends. No, good-byes will happen naturally and you should let them. This is meant as encouragement and comfort for when they do happen. It doesn't make them easier in the moment but just remember for every good-bye you will feel more comfortable with someone else coming into your life.
      One last thing. God is like a director, he knows exactly when a character/person needs to enter and exit the stage of your life. He puts them there to fit what you need then, when the time is right, he calls them off stage.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Is Fear Really A Choice?

     I watched After Earth the other day with a group of my friends and something caught my eye or rather my mind and I have been turning it over in my head all weekend. For those of you who don't know After Earth is about Cypher Raige (Will Smith) and his son Kitai (Jayden Smith) who crash land on Earth after people have left. Now Earth has been abandoned by humans because we destroyed it (typical environmentalist ideas and what not). Everything has supposedly 'evolved' to kill humans. Now Cypher was severely injured in the crash and upon finding their distress signal completely destroyed, sends his son to find the tail of the plane which apparently has another distress signal device. All alone Kitai must track across the wilderness to find it but his father will be with him every step of the way with this suit that he wears. It allows Cypher to see everything his son sees (because apparently technology in the future still works after really bad crashes:P). 
     Sometime during the beginning of Kitai's trip Cypher gives him a lecture on fear. He says "Fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Now do not misunderstand me, danger is very real. But fear is a choice." Honestly I think this is the wisest thing I have ever gleaned from a movie. Think about it the more you come up with the worst case scenario the more fearful you become. People are hardly ever scared of heights  they are scared of plummeting to their deaths. Have you ever been in a tornado? Have you ever been in a room hiding from a tornado with someone who was terrified of tornadoes? If you are that person (as I am) you know that the reason you are scared is because you know what a tornado can do, you know the danger they hold and the reason you are panicking is because you are saying "Oh my gosh we're going to die! We are going to die. It is going to come and rip the building from the ground and we are all going to die" The more of those thought you produce the harder it is to calm you beating heart. Trust me, I have been there done that. Why is a little kid scared of the dark? Because of the monsters he "sees". The pile of clothes that now looks like some slime monster. The more the child allows his mind to wander the more scared he becomes.
      Think of a time you should have been scared but weren't. A time where you should have been shaking in your boots but weren't. Why? Was there someone there who you trusted to catch you, was there something that you trusted to keep you safe in that moment, had you accepted your fate and just decided to enjoy that time? Imagine it like this. When I was in Tae-Kwan-Do my instructor Mr. Tuck would always call me up so he could demonstrate certain moves. Now most people would be terrified if a 4th degree black belt decided to kick a half a centimeter from their face. I on the other hand was not, I didn't move I didn't flinch. My stomach didn't even do that weird flip-flop thing it does when you are scared. Why? Because I trusted him completely. I made a decision that I wasn't going to be scared because I knew that Mr. Tuck was in complete control of his kicks. Plus I knew if I moved a fraction of an inch I would no longer have a nose. I can't claim many times like this because I tend to be a fearful/nervous person. 
     Choosing not to be scared is a really hard thing to do but it is possible. In the movie there is a concept called Ghosting. This is where a person shows absolutely no trace of fear whatsoever and apparently the monster can't see them. (Warning somewhat of a spoiler....kinda) There is one part where Kitia is floating on a raft and he has a vision of his sister who is dead. When his sister asks him if he is scared Kitia answers he is too tired to be scared. Kitia's sister replies, with the key to choosing to be scared, something along the lines of 'good. Your heart is filled with something else"
     That is the key to choosing not to be scared. Your heart must be filled with something else. In the Bible it talks constantly about how God is with us therefore we should not be afraid (Deuteronomy 31:6, Isaiah 41:10, Psalms 23, 27:1, etc) Here is the choice we can choose to trust God completely and if we do that we won't be scared. 
      My friend Cynthia wrote a fantastic article about the Scary Ghost Places on fear which is worth the quick read.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Zebra Stripes and Birthdays

     My sister Emily has a birthday in March but because I had so many tournaments she wasn't able to have a friend birthday as she insisted on me being there. So on Saturday we were able to finally have the party. My Aunt, who just moved here a couple months ago, made all these decorations and set everything up for a spa party. I made cupcake as is my job. Emily loves zebra stripes and the color theme is purple and green. So I made zebra striped cupcakes with purple flowers and of course some luster dust. I got the idea from this website. I thought if you can do this with a cake why not cupcakes? My stripes weren't as uniformed owing to the fact that 1)it is in a smaller area which makes it harder to land right in the center and 2)I was trying to get them done somewhat quickly. Warning: If you want to make these this recipe will make 48 cupcakes because there are two batters. For a party of 5 that is just too much. If you only want 27 just do white cake and then divide the batter in half. To one half add some cocoa powder and proceed as usual. So here are the pictures from the party!

                                         Shot of the inside after it had been cooked

My Aunt made this cute stand with the cupcake holders and little stick things as well as the paper purses. Aren't they cute?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Great Blog for Teen Writers

     For quite a while I have been working on a novel which is part of a series. Every once in a while I get stuck and can't figure out how to continue or how to make a specific scene the way I want it. I have a couple friends who move along the writing process. My friend Hannah is a great person to discuss plot ideas and characters but when I want advice on how to write I tend to go to several different sources. On of which being a blog called Go Teen Writers. This fantastic blog is chalk full of extremely helpful advice for teen writers or any writer for that matter. The website is I encourage you to browse the site if you are a writer or are interested in writing. 


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ban the Spoon!

     Obesity is a growing problem in the US. In fact,according to more than 1/3 of adults in the United States are obese.(Link) Solution: ban all spoons. I believe that spoons are the root of all evil and if we ban them obesity will be significantly decreased. Sounds stupid right? If they don’t use a spoon they can use a fork and if we ban those what about chopsticks or hands. Are we going to chop off everyone hands? Banning spoons wouldn't solve the problem because it is merely a tool not the source of the problem. Currently our government is proposing/enacting Gun Control laws. Not only is it going against what the people want (go into any gun shop and almost everything is gone and background checks take weeks) but it is like putting a Band-Aid over a bullet wound. It solves nothing.
    Several police officers have said they will not enforce the gun control laws when they are put in place. Article Here 
     It is also unconstitutional. The second amendment says "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringe." One objection to this is that the second amendment is that it is out dated, that it was written for muskets. Well, the founding fathers weren't stupid. They knew that technology would advance and they allowed for that. Instead of say the right of the people to keep and bear muskets they said arms meaning any firearm in the present or future.
     The Sandy Hook shooting was a devastating tragedy but in order to stop mass shootings banning guns is not the answer. If they don’t have guns they can use a knife or a bow and arrows. If you examine areas where there is heavy gun control you will see that crime is extremely high in those areas. Criminals don’t abide by the law that’s what makes them criminals, if we ban guns it will only hurt law abiding citizens and criminals will continue to attain and use guns for evil. So what is the source of the problem? Evil. Seeing as we can't defeat the Devil just yet we need to focus on little things we can do that will make his job harder. One of the major elements in all of these mass shootings is mental illness and in many of these cases there were several people who knew of that mental illness. Solution: if you have a ligament concern that your son or friend is crazy they will be taken to a mental hospital right away. They will be released if doctors, after months of careful observation, believe they are mentally stable. Now that wont stop all killings but it would help a little. 
      Another thing that would help with these shootings is allowing a select number of teachers and staff to carry guns. There would be background checks and we would be sure they don't have any intention of using them on the students. Here is my logic. Which sign is more discouraging? 
 We have already established that criminals break the law so the first sign is like a beacon. Telling all those with evil intent that you are an easy target. The second sign is just the opposite. There is this quote from Cesare Beccaria concerning the subject of Gun Control. 
"False is the idea of 

utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one 

imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire 

from men because it burns, and water because one may 

drown in it; that it has no remedy for evils, except 

destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are of 

such a nature. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted 

and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage 

than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be 

attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." 

      Let’s not blame the spoon for obesity but get to the heart of the problem.

PS Sorry for the weird format of the quote. The lines were over lapping each other so I had to double space it and I have no idea why it was highlighted.