The Liebster Award

Annndddd I’m back. It’s been awhile, but here I am, and I’ve been tagged with the Liebster Award by both the amazing Karyssa Norton @ No Coffee, No Can Do and Pip and Lolly @ Pip and Lolly. But first, the rules… 
Link back to the person who tagged you.
Answer the eleven questions.
Tag eleven bloggers and let them know.
Ask your tagged bloggers eleven questions.

So first, Karyssa’s questions…..

How long have you been writing? 

When I was little, I’d crank out bits of poetry (my first poem was titled “Apple Cider Bubble Bath”) and create my own picture books, but I first started writing seriously about two years ago, when I first learned that I was actually good at this whole writing thing through a school project. It was then that I began writing longer stories beyond trips to the carnival and it was then that I started my blog.

When you write, do you like to type or write by hand? 

Despite my many escapades with writing novels in notebooks, I mainly end up typing. First of all, my hand prefers it. Like, REALLY prefers it. Secondly, it’s SO much faster than writing by hand, not to mention neater. Lastly, there’s something about that clickety click sound as my fingers sweep across the keyboard that is so satisfying. Am I the only one? =) And yes, I just copied, pasted, and slightly edited this answer from the Sunshine Blogger tag. xD

Oxford comma: yay or nay and why? 

*cheers for the oxford comma* Yay! Because that’s what I was taught to be proper grammar when I was a little girl, it just looks right (in my humble opinion, that is), and I love the name.

Do you prefer movies or shows? 
No, my family’s tv does not look like that. Sorry. xD

Shows. Because then I can spend several seasons with the characters I love instead of just an hour and a half. It’s the same with stand-alone novels and book series for me. I prefer series for the same reason. =)

If you could only visit one other country, which one would it be? 

Ummmm…. Seeing that I’ve already visited a bunch, I’d head to Uganda (again). I miss the red dirt and smiling faces SO much. There’s no place on earth that I’d rather be than in the humidity and sunshine of Uganda.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? 

I’d say I’m an introvert, but once you get to know me, well…. Just ask my friends. You’ve been warned. xD

What’s one random thing about you that few people know? 

One random thing…. Only one? *pouts* Well, I happen to be obsessed with typewriters. Seriously. I love them. They’re so pretty and they make that lovely click-click-ding-ding sound and they have some of my favorite font and—

I just love typewriters.

What is your favorite animal? 
I want one. 

*head bang* I have to choose between itty bitty otters, super cute sea lions, cuddly puppies, and fluffy chinchillas?! I don’t do well with these types of questions. I suppose my favorite animal would be a horse. I’ve loved nearly everything about horses ever since I was little, petting them, riding them, seeing them outside the car window, writing about them…. *sigh*

What quote (from a book, movie, YouTube video, etc) do you find yourself saying often? 

Believe it or not, it’s a Disney quote. From Frozen. Whenever my sisters and I are bored, I almost always ask, “Do you wanna build a snowman?” And you know what? They don’t tell me to go away!

If you could see yourself from someone else’s perspective, whose perspective would you choose and why? (It could be a family member’s, friend’s, your local librarian, etc.) 

I’d choose to see myself from my sister Malia’s perspective because her perspective would be very honest and down to earth, so I’d be able to see what I’m doing right and what I’m not doing right.

Would you rather live in the city, or the country? 
Isn’t it so fairytale like? =)

The country, for sure! Just think about it. *daydreams* A quaint little cottage where I can read, write, and bake all day and then I’ll walk outside and pet my pretty horses and cuddle the baby rabbits and watch the sunset and…. *cars whizz by* I did say I was daydreaming, right?

And now my next nominee’s questions…..

Why do you blog? 

I blog because it’s a way I can connect with other writers in an awesome community where we encourage each other and help each other grow. I blog because it’s a great way to help start my dream writing career. I blog because I enjoy writing posts and talking to my lovely readers in the comments.

What makes you feel on top of the world? 

Lots of stuff make me feel on top of the world. A scoop of salted caramel ice cream. A hug from my little brother. My dog deciding to (finally) cuddle with me. Spending time with my friends. Being sent into jaw dropping awe because of God’s incredible creation and His awesome majesty. It’s the little things and the big things that make me feel like I could fly on top of the world.

How do you cheer yourself up after a bad day or disappointment? 

I’ll either write a woe-is-me letter to God or binge read. Or both. Cuddling with and whining to my dog Wrigley helps too.

If you could live in any book for a week, which book would it be? 
*sigh* All the pretty books…

Okay, let’s see…. Not The Hunger Games, I wouldn’t last a week in that book. Probably The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. That would be SO fun to live in Narnia for a week. I’d get to wear pretty dresses, ride unicorns, stay at Cair Paravel, have tea with Mr. Tumnus, and ASLAN. Enough said.

If you could play any character in any movie, TV series, book etc. who would it be? 

Elizabeth Thatcher from When Calls The Heart. I’d love to teach a one room schoolhouse in an adorable little town out in the middle nowhere! Plus, she’s a writer, and I can find myself relating to her on quite a few occasions.

What is your favorite place you’ve ever visited or lived? 

I actually don’t have a favorite and simply cannot pick one in the place I’ve lived area. Each place I’ve lived has been special and unique, both in the location, the people, and the culture. But in the realm of places I’ve visited…. This is also super hard, but probably Uganda. I love that country to death.

If money wasn’t an object, where do you want to be in five years? 

If money wasn’t an object…. I’d want to have a big giant house in some foreign country with a bunch of adorable kids, and I’d bake them cookies and write them stories when we wouldn’t be out and about serving wherever we could. Basically, I want to be a missionary/writer/blogger/cookie baker/mom to many (aka like Katie Davis).

Are you a girly girl or would you consider yourself more of a tomboy? 

I’m not a girly girl (sparkles and the color pink don’t appeal that much to me), but I’m not necessarily a tomboy either (I mean…. What’s wrong with a day at the mall?) I’d say I’m somewhere in the middle. For example, I’d love to go on a hike and watch a baseball game, but then I’d also like t
o smear on facials and binge watch Downton Abbey.

What is your first memory? 

That’s a hard one (as if these others haven’t been difficult). I think I can vaguely remember chasing ducks somewhere…. But that’s about it.

How do you tell people you love them? 

I don’t always say it, but I like to do random things to show people that I care through little things like asking if I can help them, how they’re doing, and engaging in a conversation, but also in things a bit more noticeable like leaving someone a note or doing a chore. I don’t just like to say “I love you,” I like to show it.

What do you want others to see in you? 

I want other to look at me and see a young woman who loves the Lord with all her heart and pursues him no matter what. I want them to see Jesus through my imperfect self; I want them to see a light in the dark.

I Tag…
Anyone who wants to do this tag! Surely eleven people will want to do this tag, right? =)
My Questions…
I’m going to be stealing some questions from my awesome nominees, since I’m feeling very un-original right now. =) 
  1. How long have you been writing?
  2. Oxford comma: yay or nay and why?
  3. What’s one random thing about you that few people know?
  4. What’s a quote that you find yourself saying often?
  5. Would you rather live in the city or the country?
  6. If you could be any character in one of you favorite books, who would you be? 
  7. Which national park do you want to visit one day?
  8. What is your favorite thing to cook?
  9. What makes you feel on top of the world?
  10. If you could live in any book for a week, which book would it be? 
  11. What do you want others to see in you? 
*gives you candy if you made it through this post* Will you be doing this tag? =) What’s one of your favorite animals? Would YOU rather live in a tiny cottage or a modern apartment? What is one of your favorite memories? What is a quote that you love? Grab some ice cream and let’s chat!

6 Things My Mom Has Taught Me

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. I know, I know, this post is 24 hours late, but my excuse is in my opinion, EVERY day should be Mother’s Day. Moms do so much that they need more than a day of appreciation. After all, mothers are like doctors, cooks, teachers, therapists, errand-runners, dropper-offers, and so much more rolled up in one human being.

This Mother’s Day, I couldn’t help but think of all the things my mom has taught me over the years. Sure, as my teacher, she’s taught me everything I know from my ABC’s to 9×2=18, but she’s also taught me more than that, lessons that will stick in my head and heart longer than the quadratic formula. Here are just five of those lessons….

My Mom Has Taught Me….
What A Godly Woman Looks Like. 
What comes to your mind when the word lady pops up? An English noblewoman with impeccable manners and a gorgeous dress? A woman with a kind, gentle heart? When I think of the word lady, one of the people that pops up in my mind is my mom. Sure, she may not live in an English mansion or ride around in a barouche, but she’s every bit of the lady little girls dream of becoming. Watching my mom act and speak like a lady has shown me what a godly woman, or a godly lady, looks like. I hope that one day I can be at least half of the woman my mom is.
To Try, Try Again. 

My mom has taught me not only to have patience, but to try. And if you don’t succeed, try, try again. Don’t get the correct answer to a problem in school? Try, try again. Failed at that recipe? Do over! Couldn’t figure something out? Google it! Try, try again.
To Have Patience.
I am not a very patient human being. However, patience is a trait that my mom showcases with flying colors. How she is patient with my siblings and me all day every day and is STILL sane is beyond me. By watching her, I’ve learned that patience is more than not going insane in the checkout line at the supermarket. Patience, from my observations, is more like an attitude of grace and calmness when things aren’t exactly going your way. Every day, I try to be as patient as my mom. One day, maybe I will. *waits impatiently for that day to come*
Mother’s Day makes me think of flowers. Hence all the flowery pictures. =D
To Be Myself.
My mom has ALWAYS wanted my siblings and I to not give into peer pressure and be something we’re not. She’s always wanted us to be ourselves and hold onto our values despite all the pressure being put on us. She’s taught us that we are wonderful creations handcrafted by God, and that we shouldn’t go along with what everyone is is doing.
To Love God.
This is probably the most important lesson my mom has taught me. To love God with all I’ve got no matter what, and to follow him at all times. She’s taught it to me through Bible lessons, the words she speak, and the way she acts, which brings me to the next lesson my mom has taught me…..
To Love Others.
There’s a sign that hangs in our living room with a quick run down of Mark 12:30-31. Love God. Love others. The way my mom selflessly serves the people around her has taught me to love others. As I’ve watched her open our home to guests, love and respect my father, teach and care for my siblings and I, and basically just live, I’ve learned what it looks like to deny oneself for others.
Mom, thank you for teaching me all of this and so much more. Thank you for being a shoulder to cry on and a role model to look up to. Thank you for all you do, from making muffins and doing laundry to reading Jane Eyre and watching Downton Abbey with me (we still have quite a few episodes, by the way =)). Love you, Mom! 

EDIT: This post was originally titled “5 Things My Mom Has Taught Me” but I realized that I actually had six things written after I published it. xD *hides face* Don’t worry…. I fixed it. 
 What are some things your mom has taught you? What did you do for your mom on Mother’s Day? Please tell me you also enjoy Downton Abbey, and that everything Jane Austen and Jane Eyre makes you flail. Let’s chat!

Remembering Stories

I’ll never forget March 2015. After turning thirteen, one of the first things I got to do was fly with my dad and members of our community to Uganda to serve with  Sixty Feet, a ministry that works with children in Uganda’s child prisons or “remand homes,” for a week. One week. That’s all it took to turn my world upside down.
In Uganda, I met a lot of different people with lots of different stories. Stories that coaxed tears from eyes. Stories that made me want to hold those who had those stories close and never let anything hurt them again…
There was Daniel’s story.
He and his little sister went biking one day in the big city of Kampala. Nothing bad was supposed to happen… But then he got lost. He tried to find his way home, but to no avail. Soon, the police found him and took him to a remand home.
Daniel was never reunited with his family before he passed away because of HIV.
There was Annie’s story.
I didn’t know all of her story, but I saw her joy. I saw her radiant smile. I saw her curiosity and what I could call a tendency for mischief blossoming. In the midst of the ugly… She was a spark of joy.
There was Eli’s story.
His Hard Rock Café t-shirt hung loosely on his gaunt frame, but I can recall seeing more than a physical hunger. He had wishes and dreams-one of which included going to America and meeting the famed American President. I got to teach him tic-tac-toe and chat with him for awhile.
I could tell multitudes of these stories. I could tell you about a little boy whose cries moved me to tears and about a young mother on the streets who begged for a single drink of water. I could tell you about a group of little girls who found joy in simply stroking my hair and a two-year old boy who stuck stickers all over his sweet face.
So many stories. So little space.  
Today, those stories still impact me. Because of those stories and that trip, a little boy named Matthias is playing with his trains as I type this. Because of those stories, God has challenged me to see the world through his eyes and not my own. Because of these stories, I have a deeper desire to be the hands and feet of Christ no matter where I am. 
I hope these stories will change your life like they did mine and that you will join me in praying for the imprisoned children of Uganda.  
If you’d like to learn more about Sixty Feet and their mission, plus more ways to help, click here. Do you want to help children like Eli, Annie, Carrie, and Daniel? To make a donation, click here. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer them. =) 
What are some stories that have impacted you? Have you been on a missions trip before? If so, what did you learn? If you haven’t, where is a place you’d like to serve? 

What Is Love?

Once upon a time, I had another blog. It was a teeny tiny blog, A Little Bit of Everything. On that blog, about a year or so ago, I posted my thoughts on what love is. This February, in the month of love, I thought it would be fun to repost one of my favorite posts from my old blog of long ago. Without further ado, may I present a (partially edited) piece on love. 

Everyone’s favorite talking snowman puts it right out there. Plain and simple. I don’t know if Olaf used a dictionary or anything, but he’s pretty much spot on when it comes to what love is. Maybe he should be classified as a love expert…

Love isn’t a fuzzy, warm I’m-on-top-of-the-world feeling. Love isn’t a fondness for others (or for my favorite red velvet cake). Love isn’t smiles, romantic dinners, and red roses. Love isn’t hugs and kisses or x’s and o’s.

Love is putting someone else’s needs before yours. It’s saying, “You first, I’ll go last.” Love is a sacrifice.

Jesus Christ illustrates this the best of all.

God sent his one and only son into the world as a fragile baby to die. It most certainly wasn’t Jesus’s need to live a lowly human life and end it all by hanging on a cross… It was ours. He didn’t just tell us he loved us-he showed it with his actions.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

-Romans 5:8 NIV

Jesus’s sacrifice shows, as the Jesus Storybook Bible puts it, a never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love. That’s God’s love for his children in a nutshell.

This February, during the month of love, remember that you are loved by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You are loved with a never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love.

What do you think love is? How does knowing that you are loved SO MUCH make you feel? How can you show love this month? Don’t you LOVE Frozen (and isn’t Olaf the best?)? =) How did you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Let’s chat!

Just Keep Swimming…

Is anyone else excited about the new Finding Dory movie? I sure am, even though I haven’t seen it yet. *hides face in shame* All of the excitement about the new film has me thinking about the blue fish’s chant from the first movie.

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…

Dory’s catchy song translates into one word for me: persevere.

It may seem as easy as singing Dory’s chant, but it isn’t. In the Christian walk of life, it can become hard to persevere. Peers pressure us, our families have disagreements, and people spread rumors and gossip about us. We are ridiculed and persecuted, left out and branded. We fall into dark places and trip over our own two feet.

Sometimes, life can get pretty, well, discouraging. The odds seem to never be in our favor at times (yes, I had to put that in there).

Let’s go back a couple thousand years to a man named Paul. He traveled all over the ancient world preaching the Gospel, shining God’s light, and encouraging fellow Christians. It wasn’t easy, especially with opposition from other religious groups and the Roman government. In 2 Corinthians, Paul writes about some of the hardships he endured during his ministry.

Five times I received from the Jews forty lashed minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a day and a night in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.

-2 Corinthians 11:24-28

Through all of those hardships, Paul persevered for the Kingdom. He kept swimming. But He couldn’t do it on his own. He had to rely on God to persevere.

In the song “My Everything,” Owl City’s Adam Young sings:

When I can’t get up, and I can’t go on, I run to you, and you alone. 

Later in the song, he continues to sing of how he runs to God when hardships come his way and it gets hard to persevere. We can all learn from Young’s song. When hardships come your way, run to God.

Run to Him through prayer. Pour out everything, how you feel, what’s going on, and why it’s hurting you. Then ask Him for help. Don’t be shy. He loves to hear you. He wants to help you. He’s not afraid of your mess, your problems, your circumstances.

Run to God through meditating on Scripture. When you’re confused and need answers and encouragement, flip open the Word. There, you’ll find comfort, advice, and stories about people like you and me. Messed up people who needed to rely on God to persevere.

Our life isn’t easy. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s hard. But when we rely wholly on God and make him our everything, we can have the strength to, “Just keep swimming.”

 Have you ever had a hard time persevering? What are some other ways you run to God when times get tough? How have you seen God at work lately?