Book Review: How to be a Perfect Christian by the Babylon Bee

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About the Book-

Do you dream of becoming the poster kid for Christian perfection? Then get ready to be baptized in the glorious waters of modern Christian culture!

How to be a Perfect Christian is a step by step guide to grow you from a clueless Christ-follower into a supercharged megabeliever. Discover how to:

  • Join the right church–see how to ditch that group of hopeless losers holding you back and find a church that’s built around you.
  • Vet your pastor–assess his command of sermon acronyms and alliteration–plus his grasp of dynamic gestures.
  • Worship like a pro–find out how to have a worship experience that leaves you with that all-important, addicting emotional high.
  • Do life together–master the art of never letting anyone get close enough to your life to see what a mess it is below the surface

Wait! There’s much more–like acing the church potluck and serving the church without lifting a finger. This book is filled with everything you need to be your best spiritual self, even a free inspirational coloring page!

My Review-

If you take books seriously, then this one is not the one for you! How to be a Perfect Christian is FULL of satire/sarcasm (the one authentic line is probably the acknowledgements).

The Babylon Bee, a satirical Christian site, is well known for poking fun of Christian habits (reminiscent of John Crist), and while I haven’t really followed it, the book really gave me a taste of what they were about!

The entire book is basically a huge Christian inside joke, ranging from Baptist potlucks to worship services to youth group. Granted, it would probably thoroughly confuse anyone who wasn’t Christian, or didn’t have quite a bit of experience in the church.

So long as it is not taken seriously, this is a very humorous book! And even seriously, this book highlights some of the hypocrisy within the church and the little quirks and double standard of within the church.

My Ranking-

3/5

Things Liked-

  • super funny!
  • a big Christian inside joke
  • some important truths presented

Things Disliked-

  • definitely will not appeal to nonChristians, and may confuse them if they were to read it
  • sometimes things were presented a little too hard

Thanks to the publisher, Waterbrook and Multnomah, for providing me with a complimentary print copy of the book in exchange for my honest review; I was not required to write a positive review.

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A Week In My Life || Senior Year Homeschooling || Spring 2018

Hey everyone! I’m very close to finishing out my senior year, and closing out being homeschooled (waHT), and I realized that I never did a day in my life/week in my life type post. So, HERE IT IS!

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(obviously, this is very simplified: every week is different, and I’m not talking about my morning/evening routines, or anything like that. My week is the only thing that is consistent enough to possibly write about)

Sunday

Sunday morning always begins with church: sometimes I help in children’s Sunday school with my mom, and sometimes I play flute in the service, but church always happens on Sunday mornings.

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After church, I go home and eat lunch, clean my room, sometimes do some reading that I didn’t get done during the week.

In the afternoon, there is youth group, something my church puts on for middle and high schoolers, where we talk about topics and play games. I play on the worship team, so I get there a couple hours early to rehearse.

Sunday nights are usually when the deadlines of most of my classes are, so it’s usually spent rushing working to get everything turned in.

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Monday

I have class Monday morning: calculus. Lots of fun. After I get home, I make coffee, unpack my backpack, and write out my to-do list and my assignments for the week. I finish the workbook assignments for my AP Lit class, and then take calculus notes.

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In the evening, there is a Science Olympiad meeting. Usually at these meetings, I work on gathering data and studying. Sometimes I work with the middle school team to get some bugs on their end sorted out.

Tuesday

Tuesday is my favorite day of the week. In the morning, I’m productive: usually doing online class homework, and sometimes cleaning my room. I usually get a lot of offline work done, such as notetaking and problem-solving.

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Then, in the late afternoon and evening, there is band, the highlight of the week! The early part of the night, I help in the flute section of the younger band, or lead a sectional, then later on in the night, I play flute in my band.

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Wednesday

I have class in the morning, and I usually stay and work in the campus library. Usually I comment on blogposts.

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After I get home and eat lunch, I attend my music theory lab, where we do sightsinging and musical dictation, and all that fun stuff. After that, I do more homework, AP lit or music theory usually.

In the evening, I go help at AWANA Cubbies: a Bible memory club that our church hosts. Getting to work with three and four year olds is always fun.

Thursday

Thursday morning I work on school work and stuff, then around noon, I head to my church to fly helicopters for Science Olympiad with my partner. It works better some days than others, but it’s fun (usually).

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Once a month on Thursdays, I have a 4-H meeting, but usually, I head home. I teach piano in the afternoons to some family friends’ kids, which is fun (because I get paid).

In the evening, I attend a youth group discussion, where the seniors in youth groups from around the area get together to discuss what to expect during college, and being a Christian in college, which is always fun.

Friday

I have class again ><

When I get home, I write my blogpost that goes up, then homework, usually calculus and sometimes read.

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Friday afternoons are lots of fun. I go to my Science Olympiad coach’s house and we study for Science Olympiad. Usually I run a powder identification test for forensics, and we identify some rocks and minerals. I get to hang out with my friends and geek out about fun science things.

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Saturday

These are all different, since there are different things I have to go to. Sometimes I have to work at the museum I volunteer at, but today I have a 4-H event to go to.

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Saturday evening, I clean my room, because it’s gotten messy again over the week, and do something relaxing like read a book.

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How did you like this post? What is a typical week in your life like? Are you finishing up the school year too?

April 2018 Recap || What Happened This Month

April was a weird month. While on one hand, I got a lot done and put out a bunch of blogposts I’m really proud of, it was also very emotionally draining because of lots of things ending. And aside from doing a lot of *stuff*, I wasn’t really productive either. So. it was weird. But I did a recap!

What Happened This Month April 2018
Photo by Maggie H on Unsplash, [terrible] editing by me

Playlist-

Happenings-

Awesome-

  • going prom dress shopping with friends
  • getting chocolate from a random little old lady at church
  • changing the music you’re listening to on your computer with your phone on spotify
  • the sweetest moments with Him™
  • getting to meet the SWEETEST and SMALLEST and MOST PRECIOUS baby boy after his parents, my youth group leaders, walked through infertility for 9 years
  • realizing how much Jesus loves us
  • posting a picture of Him™ on the finsta and y’ALL LOVING ON US

Awkward-

  • writing down a list of activities and stuff that are ending in a few weeks, hitting the words “the end,” and starting to tear up
  • getting that YODEL BOY’S SONG STUCK IN YOUR HEAD
  • being at community college, paying thousands of dollars to attend class, and going on Youtube, and them having the audaCITY TO SHOW YOU THEIR OWN AD WHEN YOU’RE TRYING TO WATCH A CALCULUS VIDEO
  • going from 85 degree weather to 40 degree weather in the span of three days
  • sitting in the college library studying and listening to the conversation of the four guys by you, three of every four words being the s word, the f word, or the n word

That Moment When-

  • you find out dodie is going to be twenty-five minutes from you on tour . . . then also find out that tickets are sold out
  • doing multiple choice in class and a kid saying his answer was “D for doggo” and the teacher saying he was wrong because she didn’t know what it was and thought he said “B for bongo”
  • Him™ breaks his wrist IN FRONT OF YOU
  • Pentatonix comes out with an AWESOME ALBUM but you listen to it on a day with lots of sad memories and ruin it

YouTube Videos-

Blogpost Read-

Self-Love vs. God's Love Banner

Self Love VS God’s Love by Christine Smith

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Just Little Things by Emily Mundell

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The Confidence of a Child by Maggie

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Dear to be Happy Again by Julia

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Extraordinary: A Definition by Madeline

April Goals WrapUp-

  • Do 150 hours of productive work- pshhhhh hahahahah no. As my Camp NaNo cabinmates have seen, I’m so far off of this goal it’s funny
  • Take one chapter of notes a day- you would think that with finals coming up, I’d work on this more . . . but lol no
  • Finish 30 Day Ab Workout- I did 24 days! Which was more than I expected!
  • Memorize Philippians (with church)- not . . . .really?
  • 5 blog comments per day- I did it!!!
  • Be in bed by 12 and up by 8- this goal helped, but no
  • Fluoride Rinse everyday- did it! (mostly)
  • Read 7 books- haha I got no time *distant crying*

May Goals-

  • Handletter the Little Bible Plan prompts
  • No social media between 11am and 10pm
  • Finish out high school (!!!)
  • 3 blog comments a day
  • Read 20 books
  • Clean out the house

What happened TO YOU in April? What are some of the goals that you have for May? Can you believe that it’s MAY next month??

Spotting the Light: Sumedha || Creative Spotlight – 8

Hey everyone! It’s time for another Spotting the Light post! Today, we’re interviewing Sumedha!

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Sumedha is a 19 year old Indian studying Computer Science and Engineering in college. Usually in her down time she’s blogging, reading or hanging out with her best friends. She does pretty much everything with her best friends. She loves looking at aesthetic pictures and basically gush about it to everyone.

What do you blog about? (books, lifestyle, etc)

I blog mostly about books, music and bullet journalling. Overall, though, I try not to keep a niche because I love the freedom to blog about anything I want.

What made you decide to start blogging?

I love taking up new projects and trying new things, especially online, so I randomly made a blog one day. I never planned anything but it actually got a lot of views and so I made an effort to do better at it. I recently changed my blog name because the old one was too long and no one could remember it.

Where do you get ideas for what you do?

For my discussion posts, basically anything that I feel ranting about. Once I actually wrote a blog post on a poster I saw at a bank. So basically anything, to be honest. I also DID make a blog post about this so you can check it out to know more.

If you could talk to yourself when you were starting out, what advice would you give yourself?

DO SOME RESEARCH. And choose a good, easy name!

What is your favourite piece of content that you’ve put out?

This is always hard to answer! I always feel like I could have done better with my posts. But there ARE posts I’ve loved writing. The most recent has to be my review of the movie Fallen based on the book by Lauren Kate. I’m not salty very often in my reviews but when I am, I totally let go.

Describe your progress, from idea to post

The brainstorming ideas post was the first of my blog posts to share exactly this in detail.
I usually write down my blog post ideas in my bullet journal. If there’s any planning for the content, I write that down as well. I usually don’t have the time to immediately type the post so it sits for a while and when I get the time, I come up with way more things to say. I usually frequently switch between the normal and html screens in my post editor because lately I’ve been doing a LOT of formatting. After I’ve typed it out, I add the images and schedule it. I plan my scheduling dates so that consecutive posts aren’t the same, so as to give a little variety. For example, I’ll do a book review followed by blogging tips and then a discussion post.
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What does a day in your life look like?

I’ve tried to pen down a routine but to be honest, I don’t have one. On the days I have classes, I wake up at 6am and get ready in a rush to catch the bus at 7. I’m at college until 4pm and get back home around 5:30pm, following which I chill for a bit. I start my assignments/work around 7pm or I sit down to plan things if I don’t go out with my friends. I don’t socialise very much but I hang out as much as possible with the friends I’m close to.
I blog on Sundays, typing up multiple posts at a time to utilize time better and be productive. Sunday mornings are for this. Since I have classes six days a week, Sundays are my only down time days so I use it to get things done as much as possible.

What is your favourite book?

This is HARD. My all-time favourite books are Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine and The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. My latest favourites are Warcross by Marie Lu and the Shades of Magic series by VE Schwab.

What is/was your favourite childhood book?

I read mostly Indian comics until 6th grade because we didn’t have a proper library near my place. My mom used to bring home comics when she went to other cities for work. The first absolute favourite book of mine is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

What is your favourite song/artist the the moment?

I haven’t listened to any new music lately but what I HAVE been listening to on repeat is the Dusk till Dawn sing-off by Conor Maynard and Anna Maynard. I’m not a fan of Conor Maynard but I like Anna Maynard and make sure to watch the videos she’s in. I was blown away by her voice! I haven’t heard her singing before, so I really like it.

What is your favourite ice cream flavour?

Chocolate. Whatever chocolate. I’m not a fan of actual chocolates but I love anything chocolate flavoured.

Follow Sumedha here-

States 2018 || Science Olympiad

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5:20.
alarm.

5:40.
roll out of bed, get ready, pack (bc was too tired the night before and bc lazy and bc was writing memoir)

6:12.
driving. very derealized. pretty sunrise. brief moment of being present. happy, almost start tearing up. quickly is derealized again.

7:23.
on campus. it’s familiar from past years, yet worn out by time. parking garage is familiar, but still vaguely horrifying. sees SW’s car. feels oddly comforted. walks on campus, sees rival school students. their shirt colors match ours. see my especial rival. we exchange peace signs and good luck wishes.

7:42.
homeroom. my last one. big room, auditorium like. gets wristband. puts it on lopsided. I feel oddly cheated. sits next to SW for briefing meeting. hooray for Wifi. I try to feel something. I fail.

8:12.
walking events with GM. is passed from behind by a group of three from another school. “sorry, sorry” they mutter. “it’s okay,” I say “experimental design is more important.” realizes how creepy that sounds. walks to rocks building. sees CK and RF. also MM and JC. they are very excited about live snakes.

8:22.
walking towards labs. speed limit 12. because 10 is too slow and 15 is too fast. I overshoot the lab. she’s running out of time. we’re by the gym. we find the side door. runs up 3 flights. BK’s dad leaning over the railing, concerned, on the phone. I’m a terrible chaperone. checks my lab rooms.

8:33.
leaves lab building. sees F parents and A. they’re struggling to keep the door open. it locks on its own. Mr. F holds the door, I find a big rock. problem solved.

8:47.
back at homeroom. talks with Mrs. B about helicopter transportation. parents are highkey stressed. it’ll be fine. but will it?

9:11.
lab apron, goggles, notesheet, box. forensics. it’s a beautiful day outside. an elderly couple out for a walk. what are you carrying? can I see the baby? I turn, surprised. the box with my sweater over it looks like a baby, apparently. I look old enough to have a baby, apparently.

9:24.
SW walks up. GM waits with us for her event. she goes in, we sign in. I’m out of it, and SW gears me up, which is an oddly sweet gesture?

9:35.
instructions. I hear the words but they never make it into my head. SW nudges me. you hear that? no plastics. I didn’t. I’m glad. I’m bad at plastics. we talk about the good test we have. the next table team looks over. yeah that regionals test was messed UP. we didn’t fill in half of it and we got second. they’re good. are we?

9:41.
small scoops of powders into the well plate. SW lights the bunsen burner. we have a real life legit bunsen burner. an actual bunsen burner. I am elated. I know most of what these powders are. SW does chromatography. he screws up one. it’s okay it’s okay, I reassure him.

10:02.
twenty minute call. I’m halfway through the powders. “I suggest you start the analysis” says the proctor. but I’m doing well at these powders. I keep going.

10:08.
powders are done. plastics descriptions matches notesheet, nearly word for word. brilliant. accidentally pour vial of strong base all over the counter. no time for that now. label forensic diagram. everything matches and it. is. glorious.

10:14.
start analysis. I can’t focus. five minute warning. no way can I do this in time. I write, but my focus is not there. four lines in, time is called. we’re sitting right under the proctor, so I can’t sneak a few more sentences. I’d done less than ⅕ of what was supposed to be on the analysis. the analysis is worth 30 percent of the score. “I told you” says SW. I’m sorry, I was doing powders

10:23.
gather everything, toss it back in the bin. leaves room, feeling confident but despondent. we’d been doing so well. but I missed the entire analysis. a flurry of activity distracts me for a second. SW runs off to his next event, I meet GM and CF coming out of theirs. GM needs to run too, so I take her stuff and my forensics box, and CF and I walk to the homeroom. “will your family come to get you?” I ask, wanting to avoid abduction accusations. “no, they probably don’t remember” she says. we arrive at our building. her dad is behind us, smirking. he did remember.

10:32.
“how was it?” chimes concerned parents in the homeroom. I drop the boxes where they belong. terrible, absolutely terrible. we finished about half the test. I have to talk to Mrs C. she’ll listen and calm me down. I leave.

10:36.
she must see the stricken expression on my face. “it was terrible. so, so terrible” I wail. she hugs me. “the powders went great, but I didn’t do the analysis. which is worth 30 percent. it was an awesome test, but we only answered 60 percent. it was terRIBLEEEE”
like I expected, she reassures me. “at least you got the powders. you think you got all of them?” I think I did, but I wasn’t sure. after all, my last powders test I’d only gotten a 65% on. she talks on. I listen, glad for something to fix my mind upon. she talks about growing up, having kids, change. she read my dramatic poem and she relates. we walk back to the homeroom.

10:42.
we walk to the homeroom. I internalize her words. by the time we get to the homeroom, I feel like talking. we sit and talk. about life and music and other events. normal things. I’m glad for the distraction.

11:12.
I get ready to head off. walking through the quad, see MM and lots of other people. we compare how events go. he heads back to grab some food. I continue on to the rocks building.

11:24.
arrive in front of the rocks room. there’s a group inside. I sit down on the floor outside to wait. some other students gather.

11:32.
MM joins me. we sit on the floor. I lean against him. waves of memories. the bookends of my science olympiad years. rocks and minerals.

11:35.
the proctor pokes his head out. you here for rocks? we nod. come on in, we already started. what? confused, we point at the sign. you don’t mean the 11:45 slot, do you? he’s baffled, but hides it. yes. we’ll give you extra time

11:39.
we go in, get our packet. I drop everything and we sit. MM takes over. I do basic binder work. it’s fast. easy. we got this.

11:57.
time for the stations. the pictures are terrible. not even real specimens. the rival school calls over the proctor. they point. no doubt they’re talking about us. our field guide. sure enough, he comes over. with the rules. “I’m sorry, I don’t think that’s allowed.” we’re ready for this. attached to the rings, in any form. we point, our hands bumping. oh. okay.

12:13.
I pick up a mineral. we look at each other. it is what you think it is, right? he writes it down. no words are needed. we need fifteen seconds. we get two minutes. we sit together on the floor. we don’t talk, breathing in sync. time’s up. we move, do it again.

12:24.
we’re done. that was bad, but it could have been worse. the pictures even match the pictures in our binder. we’re not sure of one. it’s not in our binder. we guess. educatedly. we don’t need the extra time. we walk out. that’s it. I drink water. he leaves, grateful for a break.

12:31.
I walk around. speed limit 12. it’s so warm. Mr. C is there. no one is clamoring for his attention. I go up to him, tell him about my day. he hears about rocks, gets all excited, whips out his phone. it’s okay. we know rocks. he calms down.

12:38.
the back gym. SW is there. so is mama. and Mrs. B. and our helicopters. I sit next to SW. we check our phones. time passes. we’re on a time crunch. I set up everything. focus, focus. I am focusing. do you want food? I thought you wanted me to focus. calm down. it’ll be okay.

12:45.
I go check in. where is KB? people start coming in. red shirts. the Fs, the Ws, the Ks. I go sign in. what team are you? I say it. one of the last times I ever will. the last time I get to fly with these people. he’s so nice.

12:52.
there he is.
KB doesn’t have blue hair? oh. we go stand in line. we’re second in line. they wind, meticulous, slow. it actually flies. they relax. it drifts up to the ceiling, floats back down. second flight. KB pokes me. electric drill, he whispers. I smirk.

1:03.
more people trickle in. the wall is lined with red shirts. I text Mrs. C. helicopters in 10 minutes. she texts right back. coming. Mrs M. is timing? people walk back and forth. I try to shield the helicopter with my body. if anyone breaks it we’re done for.

1:13.
still in line. we’re next. they fly. I’m keyed up but relaxed. KB and I stand in our own little bubble. action is all around. we’re like new parents guarding our child with our bodies and our lives. sees my especial rival. of course she’s here. she wouldn’t miss it for the world.

1:22.
our turn. I take a deep breath, unload my arms, clamp the torque meter. do we have paper towels? he shakes his head. my mind whirls. it flashes. the box top. I snatch off the lid. there it is. we wind, load. I walk to the center of the room. where? KB shrugs. it doesn’t matter. it won’t go up straight anyways. I close my eyes. this is it. five…four…three. I let go, swing my arms back. two…one. and it goes. unsteadily, but upwards. it rests on an edge. the red wall lets out a collective gasp. it’s staying up. it teeters on the edge. a swoop, it lands flat. everyone exhales.

1:28.
second flight. she catches my eye, gives me a thumbs up. I give her a thumbs up back. we wind, load. we have a good flight under our belt. this one could put us on stage, or even, on top of the stack. my last ever flight. KB counts down, loud and clear. the release. it flies, but not how we want it. it flies straight. but downwards. I look at him. I’m so sorry, KB. I’m so sorry. I didn’t check. why did I not check? it’s all my fault. how did I forget to check? I’ve never forgotten to check before. we walk out, in a daze.

1:31.
my hands are shaking. a tap on my shoulder. can I get you to sign this? I nod, numbly, scrawl an illegible version of my name. 1.33. we could have flown so much better, but also so much worse. you know where you went wrong, don’t you? of course I do. I’ll be thinking about it for years. I’ve seen lots of those, he tries to help. but it doesn’t help. we’d thought we’d be better than those. we know what we’re doing. or at least, we should.

1:39.
somehow, I find myself in front of the chem lab room. SW must have led me. I have all my stuff. we look at the comic wall. all I see is the helicopter. driving straight down. I need to shake it off, move on. I have one more chance. my last ever event. we gear up, sign in.

1:43.
we start. everything looks familiar, but I don’t know it. SW takes over. okay, so what you need to do is . . . I obey. he bends over the packet, intent. water boils. my hands are shaking.

2:13.
none of the math is checking out. I don’t even know the multiple choice. this is not going to turn out well. I start tearing up, but catch myself. not now. wait. there will be time to cry. nothing makes sense. both of us have forgotten this.

2:36.
that’s it. we did terribly, but I cling to a shred of hope. we walk back to the homeroom. I’m starving. what do we have to eat? mama pulls out a costco salad. God bless mothers. a tap on my shoulder. do you want to go outside? it’s Mrs. C. we go, stand around, talk. the boys are playing football. AH is studying for her government exam.

3:04.
RF and I sit on the bench. it faces bushes. the scenic bench. I eat my salad. it’s good. we talk. how warm. MM slams to the concrete. ouch. the peanut gallery has comments. the game resumes. we talk. stupid little things.

3:18.
everybody disappears, suddenly. Mr. C is back. MM takes a picture. the three of us on the bench. none of them turn out well.

3:21.
we file in. my last debrief. how was your day? terrible, but we all knew that already. I know I’m being hard on myself, but it’s my last tournament. I need to make it the perfect day, and it hasn’t been. none of the building events failed, which is encouraging.

3:41.
we’re done. more accurately, I’m done. dear heavenly father. a rush of tears.

3:46.
a flurry of activity. we clear out the room, load up our arms. I hand off the forensics box to Mr. C. he needs help carrying things out. I grab the box, stand there. CK swoops it out of my arms.

3:52.
we walk out. my family deserted me. team or sushi? what? team or sushi? we walk to the parking lot.

3:59.
the cool darkness of the garage. I outline the security story to RF. she laughs. her father works here now, apparently. we see SW and his dad. they’re looking for the C’s car. I find the key fob in my hand. there’s a gray van. we walk around, try the door, peer inside. the windows are dark. that’s not it. we walk. I push the panic button. the distant echo. we walk up, see the flashing lights. the C’s and the K’s are walking towards it. Mr. C is laughing. I hand him the keys.

4:04.
we find our car. daddy and D aren’t there. I don’t have service, but call him anyways. they’re coming. we load up the car, and walk.

4:08.
walking through campus, relying on memory. it really is a beautiful day. do you want to split a bowl with me? it’s P. yes, of course! where is chipotle. crossing the street. RF trips spectacularly. we see it. chipotle.

4:18.
orders food. can you order for me? sure, what do you want. I grab my bowl, join GM and other people at the tall counter. the most surprising smorgasbord of people–SW and his dad, Mrs. J and her twins, GM, AM, MM, AH, me. RF comes in with a bagel.

4:32.
they’re looking through my bullet journal. you didn’t get anything done. yes, GM, I know. you also know.

5:04.
start walking back. the campus is all uphill. it’s lovely seeing the campus without rain. what’s on campus today? some high school thing. you go here? no, I’m homeschooled. oh cool! so are we! trashcan.

5:24.
we’re sitting on the wrong side of the room. we should move. Mr. C refuses. we have all the results ready! hooray for competent administration. they’re still muddling around. I thought they were ready? the small F comes. sits next to me, shares my chair. so does P. he’s subbing for JK. he’s so excited.

5:34.
we start. we get first on our first event. a good start. next. where is AH? I run out, try to spot her. it’s her event. I hear she got fourth from behind me. she comes in. both her events finish.

5:46.
second in rocks???? how. I’m screaming. we go up in a daze. how did we mess up that badly? if rocks went that poorly, how did the rest of my events go?

5:49.
FIRST IN FORENSICS? How???

5:50.
middle school got first in rocks. how.

5:57.
we knew we were doing poorly, but this is exceptionally poorly.

6:05.
they pause. not really sure why; they said they have all the scores. this is exciting, says the small F. I used to think this was really boring, but now I understand!

6:09.
it’s KB’s events. where is he? I run out to see. his mom is pulling up. we go in. he got a ribbon. game on. helicopters. if we didn’t get first, I’m getting up and walking out. we get first.

6:42.
we got first. both teams. small school league, but still. chem lab didn’t get on the board, we’re not surprised. photos. so many photos. and hugs. we sing. to God be the glory, great things he has done.

7:04.
we start walking out to the cars. we’re all going the same way, why are we walking in different directions? I need to go to the bathroom, get water.

7:31.
start home. it’s still light out. my phone buzzes. want to stop for ice cream? we decide. I text everyone. some respond, some don’t.

8:29.
I sit there. it’s getting dark. I’m so derealized. I’m too dehydrated to actually cry, but I’m close.

8:32.
we pull in the parking lot, see red shirts. we order. the little ones go in the playground. I sit there, everyone else talking, not wanting the day to end.

9:22.
my phone buzzes. JC’s water broke, she’s having her baby! I’m so excited. we chatter more.

9:51.
some last pictures. we leave. my heart is full. that ending was perfect.

Growing Up is Overrated || My Thoughts About . . . Growing Up

i have four weeks left of high school
four more weeks with my friends, my routines, my life
four weeks until i go off into the Great Big World to seek my fortune, like stories say
i’ll get presented with a piece of paper that says i’m certified to do Life™
and i’m expected to break ties and forge new ones

it hurts.
i’ve been in the same routine for four years, maybe more
a part of me is straining at the bonds, waiting to see what will happen
the rest of me is willing time to move more slowly
willing myself to be more present, to take it all in
these last moments are to be treasured
hide them away
i need to store them as the memories come
i wish i could experience them fully
but i can’t thanks, derealization

i write but the memories fade
warped through the lens of time
what’s real and what did i think up

their lives will be the same
everyone moves up a grade
new band pieces will be chosen
new science olympiad events will be assigned
new cubbies kids will join
but i won’t be there
i’ll be with a couple thousand other kids who also don’t know what they’re doing
trapped on five square miles for four straight years

my friends will make new friends
adjust to life without me
i’m sure i’ll make friends too
but there’s no going back

back to the days in the band room
“running through” pieces “just one more time”
back to the days in the old church
looking at event pairings on the too-bright projector
back to the study days
rocks, powders, writing, talking, laughing
back to the kitchen counter
supergluing impossibly small pieces together
back to the church foyer days
waiting with bated breath to see fragile forms fly
back to the church basement
loving on kids that are much too small
back to the farm
giving presentations and eating snacks and talking about band

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there’s no going back
and it hurts.
tears are shed
so many tears
tears for the unknown
tears for the known
tears for the people
tears for the memories
tears for the love

it doesn’t feel like i’ve been doing the same thing for five years
but it has been
monday- science olympiad
tuesday- band
wednesday- awana
thursday- class
friday- more science olympiad
just as i was getting good at how it works
and it’s time to go.

growing up is overrated
people always talk about ‘when you go to college’ as if college is some glorious, magical place where everything is made right
i’ve spent the last four years of my life getting ready
internships, resumes, extracurriculars
standardized tests, advanced classes, opportunities
my list of accomplishments

but it doesn’t include the hours curled up on the couch with your friends
it doesn’t count the moments where it’s just you and your friends, when nothing else exists
none of these count, in the Big Picture™ of life
but those are the ones that matter

growing up is exciting
and beautiful
and challenging
but it also sucks
growing up is overrated.


P.S. a song that came to mind, not really related, but i thought i’d share

Book Review: The Captain’s Daughter by Jennifer Delamere

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About the Book-

When a series of circumstances beyond her control leaves Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theatre putting on the most popular show in the city. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage. That is, as long as the shadows from her past don’t catch up with her.

After a hand injury forces Nate Moran from his army regiment in India, he returns home to London, a place that holds bitter memories. He agrees to fill in temporarily as a stagehand while his brother recuperates from a broken leg, but Nate is counting down the days until he can rejoin his regiment. His future is decided–until he meets a beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate yearns to leave behind.

My Review-

I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf for a while now, and I finally buddy read it with my friend Mary (at least, up until I went and finished it before I was supposed to. #oops)

Both of the main characters I really liked: Rosalyn was really sweet (although clueless? like, vERY clueless?), and Nate is just sweet and cute and all thAT. Both of them have a really interesting backstory, which I enjoyed reading.

A lot of this book was set in the theatre, which I really liked as well. Seeing how the theatre tied everything together (also the charACTER DEVELOPMENT on Rosalyn’s part in the theatre thOUGH) was lots of fun, and also the theaTRE CAT. CAN I HAVE HIM???

One thing I was slightly confused about was the fact that the title and the cover really didn’t match what was IN the book? Like yes, Rosalyn is a captain’s daughter, but aside from that, it was literally never mentioned. I don’t know what’s going on.

All that being said, this book really was very sterotypical of Christian fiction: I’m rereading that post as I link it and it’s just like yup, check, check, that too, so if you want a brief synopsis, read that post lol.

All in all, it was a fun book. There is almost no brain power needed to read it, and it isn’t particularly memorable, but it was still a fun read!

My Ranking-

6/10

Things liked-

  • They were from George Mueller’s orphanage, how cool!
  • Theatre things
  • Nate (also Nate and his family) was so precious and lovely and bantery and I loved them

Things disliked-

  • that bit about a brothel. Like yes, I get why it was relevant . . . but there could have been better ways to do it?
  • very sterotypical

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review; I was not required to write a positive review.

Spotting the Light: Ashley Tahg || Creative Spotlight – 7

Hello everybody! I’m here again today with YET ANOTHER interview! Today, we’re talking with the oh-so-lovely Ashley Tahg!

Ashley Tahg

IMG_5402 - Ashley HunterAshley is a developing writer, a part time poet, a still life photographer, as well as an avid journalist, and occasional scrapbooker. When she is not doing any of those things, she can probably be found reading or playing video games (she has an obsession with games that give both a beautiful art style and an immersive story world). She’s a strange Slytherin, an introvert who can masquerade as an extrovert, and an INFJ. Also, while not at all connected (currently), she also has a passion for Korean people, media and music and would love to eventually see her life headed in that direction.

What do you blog about?

I blog mainly about lifestyle and books. For me, blogging is a mix between media journalism (book and movie reviews) and a documented, online journal.

What made you decide to start blogging?

I started blogging in 2008, and honestly, it was a place to practice typing (I was homeschooled, and my mom got creative for typing class). All my friends had blogs, and I wanted one. Through the years, my blogging has been mainly a ‘just for fun’ experience, but this year, my tenth year of blogging, honestly feels like a ‘rebirth’ of my blogging experience. I’ve decided to return to blogging and set a new course. I decided, I have words to say and I want them to be heard and aside from my twitter, this is the best place to do so

Where do you get ideas for what you do?

Oh boy…well, that is something I always struggle with. Mainly, I draw from my life, my personal interests, but sometimes that fails me and leaves me creatively dried out still, in which case I can often find ideas in blogging prompts. No shame, folks, no shame.

If you could talk to yourself when you were starting out, what advice would you give yourself?

Well, I was 11 years old back then, so…there’s an awful lot I would give in the way of advice, but, honestly, there’s not much I would listen to myself on. There was a very heightened period, about three years ago, when I became very successful in book blogging. I had three or four book publishers sending me books almost monthly for me to read and review on my blog. I got distracted, busy with finding and holding a job, and the book reviewing got cut out of my life (and blog). I see that as a massive mistake and, if I could go back to 18/17 year old me, I would encourage her to not be so job-driven, and focus more on her love of reading and sharing books.

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What made you decide to start writing?

I don’t think I ever made the conscious decision to start writing. I remember being five, six years old and putting together stories from the pictures I drew. Then, being eight or nine and writing stories full of animals and mischief. Storytelling is a part of who I am, just as strongly as any DNA-bound part of me is.

What is your favorite part about writing?

The creation, definitely! I am a world-builder after Tolkien’s own heart and I have often found myself getting so carried away in creating the world, the people, the setting and society of my book, rather than doing any actual writing. There’s just something relaxing about making a new land and new cultures and immersing yourself in it.

What makes a good story?

Strong relationships between characters. It doesn’t need to be a romance, or even a friendship, exactly, but having that chemistry even between nemeses really propels a story forward. Where would Lord of the Rings be without Sam’s selfless friendship for Frodo? Or where would Star Wars be if Han’s begrudged loyalty couldn’t always be counted on? I could go on and on, but whenever a story has characters who fiercely love, trust or hate each other, I always find it enthralling. Also, food. I write so much food in my books because, we humans are obsessed with eating and yet you try and tell me that on a Hero’s mission NO ONE is concerned about food? Nooo, I write so much food and when I find authors who invest in writing and describing food, I instantly know they are a kindred spirit.

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Does writing energize you or exhaust you, and why?

Both, honestly. I go through sprints where I could write all day and never tire, but more often than not, writing is like pulling weeds. I love the worldbuilding, as I mentioned, but writing does not come as easily as creating. I think, honestly, it is because I have this massive, immersive view of how everything is, and sometimes trying to get everything out in word form can tire me.

How many books have you written? (drafts count too!)

10

What is your biggest challenge?

Lighting. Lighting is always the challenge. But also remembering your self worth. Everybody and their aunt is a photographer, it can easy to look at your photos and think ‘someone else could do this better’. And, it’s true, most of the time. But I also think of the second Mona Lisa painting (done by what historians believe might have been da Vinci’s pupil or lover). It is a gorgeous painting and I prefer it over Leonardo’s original. But it will never be as costly or as precious as the Master’s. While my photography may never be the talk of society, while I may never be remembered as anything more than a student of my art, there will be someone out there, somewhere, who finds it beautiful, and that, and the fact that I do truly enjoy capturing still life, propel me to never give up.

What is the most surprising lesson you’ve learned from your art?

Your favorite image may not be the client’s favorite image. Once, I held a photoshoot for a family where the mother was diagnosed with stage three cancer for the third time in her life. When I showed them the pictures, I showed the artistically prefered ones, the one where everything was flawless, where the wind was perfect, the lighting was optimal, and I was proud. But then I got to a picture that I had included just on a whim, it was far from perfect and honestly, I was a bit self-conscious about it. They loved it. It was their favorite and when I stepped out of my artist’s circle, I saw why. It captured them, in all their imperfect, dysfunctional glory. Sometimes, we photographers get so caught up in the perfect image, that we risk losing the right image.

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Where do you get inspiration?

Mostly, photography comes without needing inspiration for me. But theres this guy on twitter (and instagram), Brandon Woelfel (@brandonwoelfel) who is a wizard and photography. His command of light is absolutely magical. He is my greatest inspiration and photography role-model.

What do you want your legacy to be?

“She captured people; their soul, their laugh, their heart.”

What is your favorite book?

Chalice by Robin McKinley (or anything else by McKinley, for that matter)

What is/was your favorite childhood book?

The Redwall Series by Brian Jacques was my obsession (and possibly why I am so infatuated with food in books).

What is your favorite song/artist at the moment?

Absolutely anything that Sleeping At Last puts out is going to get heart-eyes from me. He isn’t just a musician, he’s a real legit artist.

Favorite ice cream flavor?

Halo Top’s Mint Chocolate Chip is to DIE for.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

I’ve had so much fun with this interview! I’d love to find more people to connect to and share passions with (I’m legit the friendliest Slytherin you will ever meet). Thank you so much, Hanne, for hosting me!! I’ll have to return the favor sometime. 🙂

Go check out Ashley here!

Blog || Instagram (@pocket.full) || Twitter (@hushashesspeaks) || GoodReads (@AshleyTahg)