Encouragement for the Discouraged Writer

I should be writing on my novel right now, but frankly, I’m a little overwhelmed at the moment. I am smack dab in the middle of editing 60,000 words for the third time, page 65/114 to be exact, and I just realized that I have a bunch of scenes that I need to rearrange. I’ve been fine-tuning my timeline this time around and now need to make it all fit together, something I thought I’d been doing pretty well with…until now, that is.

It’s a little overwhelming.

This is not to say that I don’t love my story, because that isn’t the case at all! This is the story of my heart, the story that God has called me to write, and I love it so much. In fact, I know that when I’m finished, 100% done with it, I’m going to miss working on it. It’s just that, like everything, it’s difficult sometimes. To the point where letting it sit seems like a pretty good option, even if it does get me no where.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.

I look forward to the day where I finish editing the last line and click Save. I look forward to using up a load of ink and copy paper to print off my masterpiece. I look forward to measuring that stack of paper with a ruler to see how thick it is, and sharing my excitement with my family and friends who have encouraged me as I’ve written it. I look forward to holding a physical copy of it in my hands and paging through it, seeing all the words that I have written.

The thing is, I’ll never be able to experience that sense of satisfaction, joy, exhilaration, and excitement if I don’t climb the mountain first. The mountain can be anything that makes writing difficult for you right now. Plotting and outlining that’s not going well, description and/or characters that seem flat, not quite sure how to get your thoughts on paper. Realizing that, after having completed the first draft, you have a lot of work ahead of you to make anything decently readable. For me, it’s knowing that I need to rearrange and major-edit some scenes to make them work with what I’ve got going on now.

And yeah, it can be really discouraging sometimes, but like I said, if you don’t work through the hard stuff, climb up the mountain, you’ll never get to savor the result at the end, or enjoy the beauty of the view at the top.

Sometimes I think that it won’t be any good when I get done, hard work or not. Sometimes I think, “I do things differently than this-famous-author-person, so maybe it’s not as good.” So let me remind you (and myself) that what you have to say? It matters. Why? Because you matter. Everyone has a unique voice with something unique to say. On the subject of writing, one guy said, “I could tell 100 different students to write a story about pirates on ship and get 100 different stories.” And this is not a bad thing! Everyone tells stories differently because they have their own voice, perspective, and imagination. So just because you have a different approach or style to writing, doesn’t mean that it’s bad or you’re not a “good enough” writer. Strive towards improvement and honing your skill and create something that is uniquely you!

The story that I’m writing, I’m writing for me, and I’m writing for God. Having other people read it (eventually-maybe-probably) is just a plus! I don’t know what God wants me to do with it when it’s done. Maybe nothing, maybe something. Who knows! The struggle is still real though, because I still want to create something that’s of good quality, you know? Even if I’m the only one who ever reads but especially if other people read it!!

So when those hard days of writing hit, remember: It will be worth it. If it’s the story of your heart, the story that you want to get on paper, the story that you feel called to write…don’t give up. Keep on keepin’ on, and don’t give up. Hard work can be a reminder of what will be produced: a masterpiece. Haha, I know, I know! So easy for me to say, right? Yeah, but it’s also true…so…easy or not, don’t give up! The hard work is worth it!

You got this, writer! *fistbump*

PS…if you want, check out Go Teen Writers. It’s my favorite writing site. Pretty good stuff!

Save

Today Was A Good Day

Today was a good day. I didn’t do anything exceptional; I went to church, read some Trixie Belden with my mom, and went for a drive with my both my parents. We got ice cream, my parents went down Memory Lane as we drove, and I enjoyed wearing my big floppy sunhat. (I love hats.)

Today was a day to rest and enjoy the beauty around me. See, I struggle with the whole productivity thing. I have to be so productive in a day in order for that day to be worth something. For my time not to be wasted. But, as others have been telling me and God has slowly been teaching me, that’s not a good way to think. My worth doesn’t come from how many things I check off my to-do list. It comes from my Savior Jesus. He says I am His child and He loves me with an everlasting love. I am God’s treasured possession. (Exodus 19:5) Nothing changes that. I can rest in the fact that God’s love for me isn’t based on how many things I do. It’s okay for me to set aside the list, take a breather, and do nothing for a while.

Today was a day to let go of the busyness and chill. Believe me–I know how good it feels to have all those neat little check marks on your list, whether that list is on paper or in your head. But as I’m discovering here…it also feels good to sit and be. To notice the warmth of the sunshine and the bright green of new leaves–and not as I’m zipping around the house doing thisorthat. To sit, to relax, to close my eyes and thank Jesus for what He’s given me. While to-do lists help to be organized, they can also be stress factors if they’re not kept in their place.

Enjoy the day. For those of you who have a similar mindset of productivity=time well spent, don’t be afraid to take a deep breath, set aside the list for a day, and refresh. Rejuvenate. Sing a song, read a book, take a walk. You have time to get those things checked off. Your worth is from Jesus, not the number of check marks on your list. And whatever you do, whether it’s being productive or enjoying the day, love the Lord while doing it. That’s the most important thing, as I was reminded not too long ago. No matter what I do, love the Lord…

 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’       Matthew 22:36-39

 

…and enjoy the day.

Lots of love,

Emma xo

The Liebster Award – Part II

Hello there everyone!! I am here with the Liebster Award…again! I was nominated by Faith @ I Like That, and even though I did it last year, I thought why not? It’s different questions than last time and since I’ve gathered a few new followers lately I thought I could use this as a get-to-know-me post. So if you’re new, HELLO! I’m glad you’re here! And if you’re a faithful follower, HELLO! I’m glad you’re here!

1) What made you want to start a blog?

It wasn’t my idea. It was my mom’s. She told me I should start a blog to review books and other things since I like to read so much. So I did, and I wrote a few reviews, mostly on the Anne of Green Gables series. Except the more I did it, the more I discovered that I don’t really like to write reviews. Ha! So now I blog about life, God, music, my stories and poems, and whatever else pops into my head. 🙂

2) What does your first name mean?

My first name–Emma–means whole, or universal, but my parents didn’t pick it for that. They wanted a pretty name that wasn’t very popular. Ironically, by the time I was born, Emma was a very popular name. On another note, I am often confused with Emily.

3.) Did you know when you were younger what you wanted to be/do when you grew up? Do you know or have any idea now what you want to do?

When I was five I wanted to be a vet because I liked animals. When I was ten I wanted to be a baker; fourteen, an author. Now I don’t want to do any of those things. College has absolutely zero appeal to me. I believe that you can live a successful life without going to college.

I don’t know what the rest of my life is going to look like, and quite frankly, I’m sick of planning to try and figure it out. I mean “a man may plan his way, but the Lord directs his path.” So what I want to know is, why bother planning when God’s already got it covered? I am seeking Christ in all that I do and letting him direct my path, like the verse.

However I do have a few goals for the here and now. The first is I’d really like to finish my quilt. My grandma and I are making a crazy quilt for my bed. We’re stitching the crazy squares by hand. It’s taken a long time, but I’m so, so excited to get it done, and my anticipation is rising as we are almost finished. 🙂 Second, I’ve been working on a novel off-and-on for almost four years, which I am pretty anxious to finish. The end is in sight!

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

Kozmo’s. (That’s my dog.) For a while now I’ve wondered if he loves me or if he just loves the treats I give him. See, the mutt is nearing 12 years old. Age grants certain privileges. I wouldn’t give a two-year-old dog a treat every day, but after 12 years…why not? He’s a good ol’ dog. But when the dog hops up in the morning, wags his tail, and greets me before I’m even down the hall, is it truly me he loves, or the treat he knows is coming to him?

Mmhmm. Yeah.

5.) What was the last book you read? What was your opinion of it? Did you like it, or not so much?

For the past two-ish months I have been addicted to a five-book series about two teenage sisters in medieval Italia. The hitch? They time traveled there. Like what! There’s knights and battles and danger and romance and oh-my-gosh-what-is-going-to-happen-next drama. I could not stop reading. It was so. good. It’s pretty fantastic. I love it so much that I spent my Christmas money to buy the series after reading the first book. They’re the best books I’ve read in a long time. I plan on reading these books again and again and again. (I do that. I’ve read Ella Enchanted 20 times) So without further ado, may I present the River of Time series by Lisa T. Bergren.

 6.) What was the last movie you watched? What was your opinion of it? Did you like it, or no?

TANGLED! I love Tangled! It’s one of my favorite Disney movies, I think. My favorite character is Flynn Rider/Eugene Fitzherbert. I think he’s funny. The whole movie is funny. And I like the songs. It’s just a great movie all ’round, folks.

7.) What is your favorite movie adaptation of a book?

Can I answer this question even if I’ve never read the book that the movie was adapted from? Because…I really like the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit movies, but I haven’t actually read the books… *cringe* (Does it count if I’ve read most of The Hobbit?) Personally, I find Tolkien’s work hard to read. It makes my mind swim and takes me five minutes to finish a page. Dad’s read them and he said that the movies do a pretty good job sticking to the book. That makes The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit an automatic winner.

Otherwise…I’m afraid I wouldn’t have an answer for you.

Actually scratch that. I’d tell you that I like the Love Comes Softly movies. They are nothing like the books (which really bugs me sometimes) but I still enjoy them. It’s probably because I watched the movies before I read the books.

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

Do I do quotes? I don’t know. I speak in song lyrics and blurt random words, but I don’t know if I quote. More likely I’ll do something like this:

Bro: We should have a bonfire tonight.

Me: ♪♫ I was born to be a flame so I’m gonna light a bonfire! Light it up! ♪♫ (Bonfire by Building 429)

Or this…

Mom (after giving the dog a bath): Make sure the dog shakes before he comes back in.

Me: ♪♫ You’ve got to shake, shake, shake, like you’re changed, changed, changed. Brand new looks so good on you, so shake like you’ve been changed! ♪♫ (Shake by Mercy Me)

Or even this…

Mom: Look at the eastern sky this morning. So pretty.

Me: There’s a song about an eastern gate.

Mom: Of course there is. I’m not surprised you know that.

9.) If you could live in any other previous time period, which one would you choose?

I think it’d  be fun to live in the Victorian era and call on people and sip tea with cake and get dressed up to go to fancy balls.

10.) What would you consider your favorite thing to do in your free time? What do you ACTUALLY end up doing in your free time?

This is probably part of the reason it’s taking me a long time to finish my novel.  I sit down to work on my novel but end up doing other things. Like blogging. Which is still writing, just not on my book.

11.) What is one thing that you always want people to remember about you after you’re gone?

Well I hope they’ll remember Jesus. I hope that they’ll see someone whose joy was found in her Savior and did everything for Him. I hope they remember me as someone who radiates the joy of Christ. And I really hope people say “Emma always made me laugh” because I really like to make people smile and laugh. Makes me happy.


In lieu of nominations, I’m going to ask YOU some questions. Just answer ’em in the comments. 🙂

  1.  What is your favorite cartoon?
  2.  Are you a hat person?
  3. Do you enjoy a good mess or are you a everything-has-to-be-in-its-place kind of person?

I look forward to hearing from you!

xoxo

Em

Shall We Go Zip Lining?

Shall We Go Ziplining? | Majestic Adventures

So let’s be real here guys…heights? Not my thing.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to go zip lining. This was not my first activity choice. My first choice was a 3 v. 3 basketball game, which I didn’t want to miss. Lucky for me, basketball wasn’t until that evening. Translation: I had plenty of time to go zip lining.

Yeah…lucky me.

Zip lining in and of itself sounds like a bucket and barrel full of fun. (And I’m not being sarcastic here.) It’s not the zip-lining that’s the problem…it’s that whole height factor. I mean…yeah. There’s not really much more that needs to be said about that.

I got my harness on and stood in line, waiting for my turn. I was feeling pretty good about it, too. This is going to be no big deal, I thought. I mean, how hard is it to walk up the steps to the platform and slide down? This will be easy.

That’s how everyone was making it look anyways.

Everything was going fine until I started walking up the steps with my friend. I thought, is it too late to turn back? Probably…I’m up here…I can’t back out now…Fear can’t win…can’t be that hard, right…I guess I’m going zip lining, folks…

My hands were gripping both sides of the rail and I was not going to look down.

At the top, the zip liner dude in charge of the whole shebang checked my friend’s harness. After, he checked mine. Adjusted it. Checked mine again. And again. It was making me nervous.

As he admitted my friend and I onto the platform, our harnesses having passed the safety inspection, I had to ask the question that was running through my mind. Because there was no way I was going down without asking it.

“Um…is there some sort of weight limit on this thing or something?”

Zip Line Dude looked up at me and said, “Yeah, only 1,400 pounds.”

I laughed, trying to brush off my nervousness. “Oh, right, so, I should be safe then, hahaha…I’m not going to fall…”

So now I stood up there, on that platform twenty-five or so feet in the air, with railing on three of the four sides. (I never stopped gripping said railing.) It was daunting. Totally not a fan. I searched the people below for my brother, who had just finished his own zip lining expedition, and was now safely on the ground. He waved.

I took a few deep breaths as I watched my friend go down the zip line. It looked like fun, and I did want to do it. I was just a little…uncomfortable, up there where only birds, airplanes, trees, and mountaintops are supposed to be.

I didn’t want fear to keep me from trying something new, but this was…eergghhh. I’ve been listening to this great new song that was released two days ago, and I thought of it as I was up there. It’s called Fearless by Jasmine Murray. (I’ll share it at the bottom. It’s awesome!) Fearless. Well, shall we go zip lining?

“You can sit down and go off that way,” Zip Liner Dude said when I didn’t really make a move towards actually, you know, zip lining.

“Okay…yes…that sounds like a good plan…” Somehow that option sounded safer than just hurling myself off the edge. I don’t know.

I sat down, and I could hear my friends cheering me on from below. I closed my eyes. I’m going to do this. I’m not going to think about it. I’m just going to…GO!

With a scream (terror or thrill, not too sure) I was off, speeding down the zip line…it was soooooo fun guys! I went a lot faster than I thought I would, even as I scooted off the edge. Some people before me tilted upside down, but I was just excited about doing it upright, I didn’t even think about going upside down. Not that I would want to if I had happened to think about it.

I was mega excited as I regrouped with my friends. I DID IT! That was a feeling of great accomplishment.

And hey, if you have 3 minutes and 3 seconds, I really like this song. I think you might too! Happy Music Monday (on a Sunday, because I don’t feel like waiting, haha.)

Much love, Emma xoxo

Behind the song for anyone interested…

 

Kozmo the Explorer

kozmo-the-explorer

I have a black lab mutt named Kozmo. That’s him, pictured above, bathing in the summer sunlight, one of his favorite pastimes. And of course I’m bias, as every pet owner should be, but I think he’s the most adorable puppy-wuppy on the planet.

This puppy-wuppy also happens to be eleven years old…so he’s not much of a puppy anymore. But like any mother and her child, I shall always refer to my dog as my baby, no matter how old and gray he gets. We’re best buddies, my mutt and I.

The one thing about Kozmo is that he likes to explore. What dog doesn’t? I can only imagine how monotonous it must be, trapped in the same fenced backyard, day after day, year after year. Like Rapunzel in Tangled, they must wonder what’s out there, beyond their tower.

Kozmo likes to explore beyond his tower when he can, ever since he was a little bitty puppy. Even in his grandpaw-old age,  don’t let him fool you. He still gets excited and can run fast when he wants to.

It wasn’t too long after we got the Koz, a sleek little puppy only a couple months old, that we lost him. He was so tiny (smart?) that he decided to look for the one fence picket that’s spaced a little farther apart than the rest and squeeze right through to freedom. Finally we found him curled up underneath the steps in the garage. I guess as a puppy, the world seemed too big and intimidating for him to go far. Another time he did the same thing, and the neighbor lady caught him. Eventually he grew too large for such shenanigans, thank goodness.

When that happened, Kozy decided that the back gate was a good way to escape. If we happened to forget to close it while working in the yard, he would take advantage of the perfect opportunity. Kozmo would make sure we’re not looking then bam! He’s gone. Off to explore the neighborhood. What’s really fun is trying to catch him. The Koz has a tendency to wait until you’re five feet away before running off again. It’s lovely, truly ‘tis.

Too big to fit through the fence and with the back gate securely locked, Kozmo had to figure out something else. His new plan of escape? When the screen door was open to let in some fresh air, he would push it open with his nose and walk down the stairs, to freedom, the door slamming shut behind him.

This got really annoying, because it would happen all. the. time. Whenever the screen door would slam shut, someone would shout, “Was that the dog?” One time Dad, The Bro and I were working in the yard. Kozmo needed a drink of water so we put him inside. Later, I couldn’t find the dog anywhere, but I finally figured out he’d escaped through the screen door.

To solve this problem we bought a baby gate to put up whenever we wanted the screen door open. It works great!

Oh, and here’s a question for you! Have you ever had your dog run away while hosting a costume party? Kozmo thinks that all our friends come to see him. He’s a very extroverted dog (around most humans; we never did really get around to socializing him with other animals). Using the push-on-the-screen-door-and-escape trick he was able to waltz out into the front yard as we were greeting our guests for the costume party. And off he went, exploring the neighborhood again, before any of us could stop him.

The Bro chased after him first, his black cape flying behind him, as he was dressed like a phantom. Soon he returned, unsuccessful, and Dad went in his place. Kozmo went through a few people’s backyards, but Dad finally got him back. But what’s really funny you guys, is that my parents even dressed up for our costume party. And guess what Dad was? A bum. He ran through people’s backyards, chasing our dog, dressed as a bum. I thought it was hilarious. Dad…not so much.

Another good one is when we got a phone call from some lady, her saying, “I have your dog here. He’s such a good dog. He hasn’t even tried to get the chicken off my grill!”

Yes, he’s such a good dog. Although he’s not a chicken thief, so #score! No, in all honesty, I would say that my puppy is a very good puppy. Once in a while he’s a little naughty, but for the majority of his eleven and a half years, he has been the best (also only) puppy I’ve ever had. He has to put up with me running into him in the night (it’s dark and he’s black) so I can deal with him running away. It’s a “crazy little thing called love”. (Hey Mom…you know what that is? It’s a song. Hahaha…)

Perhaps in a later post I’ll compile some of Kozmo’s silly little quirks, but for now, let me ask you: Can anyone relate? 😀

Much love, Emma xo

Save

The Versatile Blogger Award

Good afternoon! 🙂 I was nominated by JoT over at Journal of Thought for the Versatile Blogger award. Thank you so much JoT; I love tags and am honored to be nominated. 🙂 For this award, I am supposed to share seven things about myself. Let’s see if I can surprise anyone with some facts about the girl behind the blog. Shall we?

versatile-blogger-award

Fact #1: I blurt random words at random times.

It happens when I get mega excited about stuff. Or mega not-excited. The Bro and I were playing Wii together, and I totally messed up, so I said the first word that came to mind: “Apricot!” Other words I’ve been known to spout off at moments of triumph (or failure) are: gumdrops, armadillo, peaches, sweet applesauce, sugar snap peas. (Anyone notice I like food?)

Fact #2: I can braid my own hair,  but not other people’s (at least not very easily).

Inspired by one of my close friends who has mega-long hair, and sick of having just-above-my-shoulder-length hair and not being able to do much with it, I decided to grow mine out. In addition to your basic braid and French braid, I’ve learned to do a Dutch braid, a few braided headbands, a lace braid and a couple others that I think I invented but they don’t have a name. I’ve made a bow with my hair a couple times too. It’s pretty fun!

Fact #3: I am left-handed…on most things. 

I do some things right-handed, so a lot of the time I’m confused about which hand is my left and which is my right. That also means that I might not want to be your first choice of navigator in your car, unless you don’t mind me pointing and saying “that way,” almost always. I use the “L” trick a lot. Some of the things I do right handed are: scissors, batting, golfing, and I wear my watch on my left arm (which is what right-handed people are supposed to do).

Fact #4: My brother is one of my closest friends. 

We explore our corner of the world on our bikes, go on adventures, and tease each other. I can’t imagine life without him.

Fact #5: I like to name things.

I named my old computer Yui (You-Eee). Much like Qwerty of VeggieTales. Anyways, Yui the First was quite…temperamental. He didn’t always like to start, and quite often liked to crash, and hated to cooperate. Now I am onto Yui the Second, who behaves so much better than his predecessor. I also have a cute piggy bank named Maurice, and a pink puffball key chain named Irving.

Fact #6: I don’t drink a lot of pop (or for those of you who call it differently, soda). 

Unless it’s a special occasion, like going to the movie theater or a get-together or party. I don’t care for all the sugar that’s in it, and I really am just fine with water, milk, tea or the occasional hot chocolate! But if I do have pop, I like Orange the best.

Fact #7: I like floral candles over fruity.

Not to say that I don’t like some fruity candles, but 8.7 times out of 10, I like floral better. I enjoy stopping in at Yankee Candle and smelling them. My latest favorite is a sunflower candle, and a lilac one. 🙂

Well, I think that’s it!

I had a lot of fun with this tag, and now it’s time for me to nominate people to keep it a-rollin’.

Faith @ I Like That and Sarah @ Forever Aspiring Writer

Thanks for reading guyses! Until next time!

much love, Emma xo

 

 

3 Tips for an Improved Sledding Experience

3 Tips for an Improved Sledding Experience | Majestic Adventures

Sledding.

It’s a wonderful winter pastime; a true classic for kids and adults alike. I love sledding. It’s so fun. Of course, in order to sled, you need three things, all of which are essential.

  1. A hill to sled down,
  2. A sled to sled with,
  3. Snow to sled on

All three together, you have an afternoon of fun waiting to happen. For years I have enjoyed whizzing down the hill, running back up, and sliding down again. My brother and I have made ramps and bumps to hit and invented a couple games to play.

Through it all we have accumulated quite a few sledding stories. From those sledding stories, tidbits of knowledge. And those tidbits of knowledge? Well folks, that’s what I am going to share with you today. If anything, my trial and error won’t become your own–that is, you’ll learn something from my past (and failed) experiences.

Sledding Tip #1: Don’t Walk on the Track

There is always a section for walking and a section for sledding. These are always two distinct areas; never one in the same. That way as you’re walking up, other people can sled down. As you’re sledding down, you won’t hit people walking up. Nice, right? Another plus to this is that when the snow freezes hard, your track won’t be a frozen strait of footprints. A frozen track of footprints makes for a bumpy ride. Don’t walk on the track.

Sledding Tip #2: Be Wary of Ice 

Ice is the best thing to sled on because of the speed factor. To feel the wind against your face as you speed down the hill…ahhhhh!!! It’s so fun. One year we arrived to the sledding hill only to discover that everything was covered in a layer of ice. Of course we had to stay and try it out. We slipped and shuffled our way up the hill and soared down. It was a blast! Except we couldn’t make the return trip up. The result of trying was falling flat on your back. Ice is fun, but only in limited quantities!!

Another potential hazard of ice-sliding is not being able to stop your sled when you reach the bottom and possibly hurting yourself. (My mom will be nodding and saying to herself, Mm-hmm, when she reads this.) But as long as you avoid the big ice boulders where snowplows have dumped their snow, then you’re perfectly fine!

Sledding Tip #3: Know How to Steer

I have been sledding for years. I know how to steer a sled. But if you saw me last week, sledding down the hill, trying to hit a snow ramp? You would’ve said to your buddy, “Wow, that chick needs to learn how to steer.” As you watched me circle and circle and circle and circle my way down.48-in-wham-o-snowboogie-alpine-rocket-foam-sled-15498

Last year I broke my sled while sledding. I really love these foam ones because they are nice to land on after hitting a ramp. They are pretty sturdy. Assuming you don’t land on the handle a bunch of times and break it off, like I did. When I found two new foam sleds at Salvation Army, I was stoked! Last week my brother and I got to try them out for the first time. But for the life of me, I just. can’t. stop. spinning. And I have no idea why! I’ve tried shifting my weight, sitting on the back of the sled, the front of the sled, lying on my stomach (I can go mostly straight when I do that). I usually sit on my knees, you see. Anyways, before I had it 100% figured out, I thought I would hit the ramp we made.

Bad choice. Just as I was about to hit the ramp, I turned sideways and demolished it. After rebuilding, I tried again. Only this time, I hit it backwards, flew in to the air, and landed on my side. My brother encouraged me to try it again, so I did…and I hit it straight on!! The landing was less than graceful though.

Oh, here’s another one I just remembered. Instead of ramps, my brother and I decided to make these speed bumps down the track. We dug small trenches and built bumps and hit them. The Bro went and then it was my turn. But as I went down, my sled turned sideways.

“Don’t hit it sideways!” he yelled, but I didn’t hear. As he later described to me, I looked like Superman slamming through a skyscraper and skidding to a stop, leaving a dirt trail behind me.

Practice makes perfect and once I figure out this doggone sled, I should be able to steer just fine. (It’s not me!)


Okay y’all…I think that’s it! All I can think of at the moment, anyways. 😉 All the information in this post has been gleaned from past and personal experiences, though I do not claim to be an expert. 😉  I’d love to hear about your sledding experiences in the comments below. If there’s one thing I love about winter, it’s the sledding…it’s so fun!

Until the next time, folks! Happy Almost New Year!

Emma xo

Counted With the Stars by Connilyn Cossette – Book Review

Counted with the Stars Connilyn Cossette - Majestic AdventuresSold into slavery by her father and forsaken by the man she was supposed to marry, young Egyptian Kiya must serve a mistress who takes pleasure in her humiliation. When terrifying plagues strike Egypt, Kiya is in the middle of it all.

To save her older brother and escape the bonds of slavery, Kiya flees with the Hebrews during the Great Exodus. She finds herself utterly dependent on a fearsome God she’s only just beginning to learn about, and in love with a man who despises her people. With everything she’s ever known swept away, will Kiya turn back toward Egypt or surrender her life and her future to Yahweh?

 

This is Connilyn Cossette’s first book…and I’d say she did very well! From the moment I began reading, I was swept into the Egyptian world, picturing vivid images from the author’s descriptions. Not knowing too-terrible-much about life in Egypt, I was intrigued and fascinated, and loved to read what it might’ve been like during the plagues for the Egyptians.

The first half is about Kiya’s life in slavery, the second about her decision to flee Egypt with the Hebrews. I liked how Connilyn got into Kiya’s life and showed the struggles that must’ve taken place, not only when the plagues hit, but when Kiya was stripped from her social status and lowered to a slave.  The plagues were interesting to read about, offering a new depth. There were several times I just thought, “Wow!” It brought to life the ten plagues that swept through Egypt. Kiya’s struggle between her gods and Yahweh seemed pretty realistic to me.

Even when they were fleeing Egypt in the wilderness, I was still interested in reading the story. I do enjoy some romance, and this book had that too. Sometimes it seemed a little overdone, though. While some people thought the book was slow, I thought it was well-paced.  As another reviewer put it, this book was thought-provoking.

There were only two things that I didn’t like about this book. The first thing was that sometimes it seemed a little…predictable. There were no major plot twists, and I had a pretty good idea of some things for a while before they were revealed. That being said, I still heartily enjoyed reading about Kiya’s story.

Second, it’s important that biblical fiction hold to what the Bible says. This book did that…for the most part. In fact, there were a few parts where I said to myself, That wasn’t in the Bible, only to look it up in Exodus for myself and find it, which really impressed me. However, when I read that the Red Sea completely froze into two walls of ice, and that God spoke directly to all the Israelites to give His commands, I cross-checked that as well. In the Bible, it says the walls were water, and that God spoke to Moses and then relayed what His commands were. In the book, the Lord’s voice overwhelmed the adults but the children could listen easily. At this point, I kind of checked out…this isn’t what I read in Bible, and was the book’s biggest disappointment.

This book was beautifully written with vivid imagery, compelling story and characters, even if at times a little predictable. Kiya’s journey seemed realistic and was engaging. She was a strong main character with real struggles to overcome. The side characters that accompanied her journey were likeable and amusing. For a debut book, Connilyn Cossette did a wonderful job, if only she would’ve completely held to what the Bible says.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…

beginning-to-look-like-christmas

Deck the halls with boughs of holly! I loooove Christmastime. It’s so festive. Currently the grounds around my area of life are laden with snow. My mum and I even built a snowman, a smidge taller than I am (and I’m 5′ 6″)! I’m in the midst of getting presents around and ready, singing Christmas carols, and thinking about what I’m going to make and bake for Christmas at Gram’s house. That all being said, I thought I’d dedicate a post to some crafts, recipes, and songs, all fit for Christmas. Ready?

One thing that I really enjoy doing at Christmastime is making gifts and cards. Under certain circumstances I buy them (i.e. lack of time or ability to make, or even occasionally, motivation), but there’s something really special about making stuff by hand. Here are some of the cards I made this year. Who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself inspired to get creative!

A Bookworm's Majestic Adventures

All the cards I started with a white cardstock card and used scrapbook paper, markers and stickers to achieve the look I was going for. On some of the cards I didn’t get very elaborate at all, because I was sort of on a time crunch. I found some pretty paper, slapped it on, and found a coordinating sticker. I think they turned out to be some of my best!

A Bookworm's Majestic Adventures

The Santa Claus card is definitely my favorite, and was relatively easy. I cut a piece of red cardstock to the width of the card, and then scalloped the edges so when I put it against the white card, it would look like the white puffy stuff on Santa’s hat. I did the same thing for Santa’s skin tone, scalloping the top the same way so it finished out his hat brim, and then scalloping the bottom so it looked like he had a beard. To bring it all together, I outlined everything in black, and drew his eyes, nose, and mouth. Ho, ho, ho!

A Bookworm's Majestic Adventures

Okay, so, I don’t know about you guys, but food is a huge part of Christmas in my family. It’s just delicious. There’s always an abundance of food, so you don’t need to worry about going hungry. The first thing on our Christmas menu is bacon-wrapped water chestnuts. It has bacon, so, need we say more? We always make a big batch of these this time of year, because they have the tendency to be eaten in heaping amounts at a time. It’s also good to have helpers, because if you’re making a lot…well, you’ll see why.

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts Recipe

photo credit to Food.com!!!
photo credit to Food.com!!!

Ingredients:

3 cans water chestnuts

1-1/2 lbs bacon (cut the strips in half)

1 cup ketchup

1 cup sugar (white or brown)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Drain water chestnuts. Wrap each one with a 1/2 strip of bacon and secure with a toothpick. (Here is where help is a good idea if you’re making enough for a small army.) Place in a 9×13 pan and bake for 30 minutes. In a mixing bowl, mix sugar and ketchup together. Pour mixture over water chestnuts and continue baking for another 30 minutes or until they carmelize and crisp up. Enjoy!

Extra tidbit:

You will want to drain the bacon grease before adding the sauce.


Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies Recipe

photo credit to Food Network.com!!
photo credit to Food Network.com!!

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon almond flavor

2 cups flour

1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

Sugar to sprinkle

1 cup powdered sugar

3-4 teaspoons water

1-1/2 teaspoon almond flavor

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat butter, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon almond flavor. Beat in as much flour as you can with electric mixer,, then stir in rest of flour by hand. Use cookie scoop (1-inch size) and place on ungreased baking sheet. Use thumb to press indentation into center of ball. Spoon in 1/2 teaspoon jam then sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 10 minutes. Combine powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon almond flavor. Add enough water to make drizzling consistency. Drizzle the cookies with icing.

Extra tidbit:

If you like blueberries, what about using blueberry jam? I haven’t actually tried this, but I am going to this year. Or peach jam, or apricot? Oh the possibilities. An array of fruit thumbprint cookies. And I believe we got about 36 cookies out of this recipe.

(Have you heard of seafoam candy? Oh my land, delicious. I did a post about it a year or so ago that you can find here!)


The final stop on our Christmas excursion is in the music department. What is Christmas without music?

A very non-melodic Christmas, that’s what.

Anyways, here is one of my favorite “silly” Christmas songs, sung by Gayla Peevy: I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas. I discovered it about four years ago and sang it non-stop. My family loves it. (No, I’m totally not being sarcastic, hahahahaha…) Last year, my Grandma asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Because I like to talk in song lyrics occasionally, I told her I wanted a hippopotamus.

Guess what my Grandma got me for Christmas? A stuffed hippo. It was awesome. Hippa the Hippo is one of my favorite Christmas gifts. So if you haven’t heard this song before, here you are!

 

Second up on the favorite list this year is a brand-new one put out by one of my favorite singers, Beckah Shae. It’s called Smile. I love it because, like Buddy the Elf, smiling’s my favorite.

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!

Love Emma xoxoxox

 

 

 

 

When You’re Wondering What’s Next…

When You're Wondering What's Next | Majestic Adventures

Couple nights ago as I was talking to God, I asked Him the all-important question in my life right now. “Hey God…what’s next?” I’ve reached a point where I’m about to step into a new adventure of life, and I’m trying to figure out what direction God wants me to take.

It was nearly midnight, but I decided to try and flip through my Bible and find some reassuring verses on the future or God’s leading, but nothing was really speaking to me. Feeling only a tad discouraged, I just kind of thought, “Let’s check out Matthew 10.” So I did. Near the end of the chapter, I found these verses I’d underlined earlier, and knew that this was God’s answer to me.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. ~Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV)

Reading those verses reminded me. God will take care of me and all the fine-details of my life. He takes care of the sparrows, and I am worth more than many sparrows. God knows everything about me, all down to the very number of hairs that are on my head. And if He takes the time to know that detail about me (one that I don’t even bother to know myself, because why on earth take the time?) then He will most definitely take care of me and my future and everything else.

I don’t need to know what the ten-year-plan is, or the five-year-plan, or even the one year plan. I’m learning to take each step as it comes and to follow God’s guiding and to trust Him, because He knows best. After all,

A man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life], But the Lord directs his steps and establishes them. ~Proverbs 16:9 (AMP)

Sometimes its not easy. There have been days where I just want to know what on earth am I going to be doing a year from now? Because I don’t know. Only God knows, and I wish He would fill me in a little bit.

When that happens, I remember that God hasn’t forgotten about me. He’s not up there scratching His head, thinking “Oh…yeah, her. Um…now what?” I remember that God has brought me here, where I am now. And when I look back on everything that God has done in my life up until this point, I know that the verse in Deuteronomy is true.

 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. ~Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV) 

There have been times in the past where I think, “Wow, this is huge. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Um, God?”At the time it was hard to see what God was doing, but looking back I can see that God did just what He said He would do. Through the unknowns He lead me, He never left me, and I grew closer to Him in the process. (He also never leaves you even when you know what you’re doing, just to throw that out there!)

Those experiences, those hard times, grew me to be more like Christ. I’m closer to Him now than I was five years ago. I trust Him more now than I did five years ago. I’ve seen how God can take a situation that seems horrible at the time, and grow it into something amazing.

I know the same is true now, as I try to figure out what’s next in my life. When I get that question, “Hey, Emma, what’s the plan?” my response is, “I don’t really have a plan. God’s taking me one step at a time.” (In a world where having “a plan” is the thing, this is sometimes a shocker–but that’s okay! We’re called to be different, right?) God has proven to me in the past how He’s truly got everything in His hand. He won’t lead me wrong. One step at a time is good enough for me.

Someday I will look back on this season in life and think, “Yup, I can see God there where I didn’t see Him in the moment. He was totally working that out, just like He said He would.” Maybe it doesn’t make sense why we went through some rough patches in life. Just trust God, and know that He doesn’t waste anything.

 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and snow come down from the heavens, and return not there again, but water the earth and make it bring forth and sprout, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. ~Isaiah 55:8-11 (AMPC)

It’s hard. It really is sometimes. I may not have it all together, but that’s the thing. God doesn’t give up on me. He loves me where I’m at, even on my bad days, but He loves me too much to let me stay that way. He wants to bring me to a place where I am trusting, relying, loving, serving Him 100% of the time. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. God’s got your best interest at heart. He loves you.

When you’re not sure where you’re headed next,

When you can’t see how this could possibly turn into good,

When you’re not even sure if God remembers that you’re still struggling to hold it all together,

Let go and let God do His thing. He knows where you’re going.

Sometimes life might feel as hopeless as completing a 1000 piece puzzle without any picture on the box to compare it to. Impossible, right?

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” ~Matthew 19:26

Not impossible. Because y’all, we got a God that’s bigger than everything. He’s bigger than any mountain that we can or cannot see, bigger than the boogie man, and bigger than the impossibilities of this world.

God takes care and loves the little birdies. You’re worth more than many sparrows.

He loves you.

He’ll never leave you.

Just trust.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid… ~Psalm 56:3-4a