*gasp* A Blog Tour! You Don’t Say! The Daily Life Of Hailey Grace blog tour: interview with the author!

 Happy last day of January, everyone! It’s the 31st day of the year. Can you believe that? Cause, no, I can’t. It seriously feels like I was still binging on The Two Towers ridiculously late at night, and now, here we are. Doing a blog post.

I’m honored to be one of the last in a long line of bloggers for The Daily Life of Hailey Grace blog tour- huge thanks to Livy Jarmusch for reaching out! Livy’s a YA author herself, and she’s organized a group of people to help promote a newly published author, Beloved..

Beloved is a ministry leader and Christian Romance Author born and raised in Miami, FL. She spends much of her time studying the scriptures and has a gift for sharing the Gospel. Through her debut novel, Beloved hopes to inspire youth to seek God whole-heartily, knowing there is nothing impossible with Him on their side! 

And her novel!

For Hailey Grace, birthdays suck! She hopes with all her heart that her big day passes without gifts, or even a birthday wish. But with loving parents and two witty best friends who keep her on her toes, there’s no telling what adventure Hailey Grace will be forced to explore this time. Unexpectedly, her best friend Alex challenges her to do something she’s never done before. With that comes a whole new set of rules, and another life Hailey isn’t sure she’s quite ready for. Now questioning all that she has ever believed, she takes Alex up on the dare by asking for something that no one but God can give her. Her request also comes with a twenty-four-hour deadline. As the minutes slowly but surely tick by, Hailey’s life shifts into overdrive and she wonders if she has asked for too much too soon.

· Now, if you’ve seen the whole schedule, you might be expecting a book review as well as an interview. Due to some (technical) difficulties, and some confusion with links, I wasn’t able to get a copy to review in time for the post. 😦 But I’m looking forward to reading it nonetheless!

And now, please welcome Beloved up to the imaginary stage! 😀


So, to start things off..What’s the best thing about being a writer so far?

The best thing about writing is creating a world that readers can escape into to make their life that much more enjoyable.

·  That’s so true! I think that’s the joy of fiction, escaping. Uh, anyway..Where did the inspiration for this story come from?

The inspiration for The Daily Life of Hailey Grace came from Jesus. I remembered Him giving me this image of this little girl and the name to call her. I fell in love with the story, and the setting. There’s so much more behind that, but overall I just had to tell Hailey’s story.

·  That is so awesomely cool! I’ve heard people gain inspiration from like, looking at  random people, but never one like that. So what do you hope your readers will take away from this novel?

I hope readers will take hope away with them. I know everyone is coming from different walks of life, and we’re not all in the same place. But I believe everyone can use a little bit more of hope to get them through every day. I pray readers will draw such hope from The Daily Life of Hailey Grace.

· Amen. everyone can use hope. 🙂  Favorite ever writing snack? 

My writing snack is potato chips! All kinds.

· Ooohhh, chips! I’m hungry now. 😛 Who was your hardest character to develop?

My hardest character to develop was Prince, because of who he represents.

· Sounds like a character I can’t wait to read about! Are you planning on publishing any more novels?

Oh yes! I plan on publishing many novels. There will be two more in the Hailey Grace Series. And I have quite a few things in the works that will follow afterwards.

·  Eep! Looking forward to it! How’d this writing journey start? When did you know you wanted to write a book?

I knew I wanted to write books for years now. Probably since I was a teenager, but only seriously pursue it about three years ago.

·  Ooh, that’s great! I’m glad you got to achieve that goal! 😀 Alright, was wondering, if you had an audience full of people and you could only tell them one thing, what would it be?

I would tell that audience that Jesus loves them and there’s nothing they could do to ever change that.

·  And that’s probably one of the best things you can say. 🙂 What did you do when you were so tired of writing (if you were)?

When moments of weariness occur, I would take a little break and pray and read my bible. It never fails to ignite my passion again to write and lose myself in the story.

·  *claps* Wow. It’s kinda funny, I don’t remember to do that until like, editing. XD But you do it throughout writing too. That’s.. pretty inspiring. 🙂 Finally, what’s the first birthday you remember? 

I would say my 17th birthday, when my mom surprised me with having balloons delivered to my high school with gold fish crackers inside the gift bag. That was like one of my favorite snacks in high school and one of my favorite memories.

DID SOMEONE SAY GOLDFISH YUM.  That is a pretty sweet birthday! Well, thanks for letting me interview you, and I can’t wait to see where writing will take you! 😀

Concluding remarks:

Check out Beloved’s weblinks here!

Website: www.belovedauthor.com

Facebook: belovedchrist

Instagram: @belovedforever2018

Twitter: beloved4jesus

And if you’re interested in The Daily Life Of Hailey Grace, you should get the book from Amazon, and mark it on Goodreads if you can. 😉

Ooh, oh, there’s also a giveaway for an autographed copy of The Daily Life of Hailey Grace, as well as a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card! There will be 3 book winners, and one Grand Prize Winner will receive the Gift Card in addition to their copy.  Excited yet?

*****ENTER THE GIVEAWAY HERE :D*****

Go. and.  join. and read! ‘Nuff said. 🙂

Life is a highway,

 Jo

 

 

 

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Why Willabeth is a power couple, mostly according to Enni :P

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Is this post late? Yes.

Am I sorry? No.

Should I be? Probably. But uh, I just finished watching Incredibles 2 with my family, and as I always try to say “life before blogging,” I don’t regret a thing. And trust me, I’ll be talking about that soon. TRUST me. But for now.. da post!

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Hey-lo! A happy mundane Wednesday to you.

I mean, you have school, don’t you? Mundane it is.

As such, here’s hoping this crazy unfortunately mushy post will crack a grin on your face, as I present the next part of mine and Enni’s duology! Which was in the title! Because I definitely gave it away with the jar of dirt gif! 😀

And ehhh, most of my reasons are actually Enni’s, because there’s no way I’m this mushy about a ship, so if any of these appear to a. have CAPS LIKE THIS b. the word love, or c. an overall aura of hopeless mush, don’t blame me. Go check out Enni’s post, she has the cooler reasons XD

(Also E is Elizabeth, W is Will. But y’all know that already. 😉 )

1. THE WAY THAT W LOOKS AT E WITH PUPPY DOG EYES

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My fine mate, you’re looking at Elizabeth,  not the horiz- oH.

You hopeless romantic.

What is it with people looking into someone else’s eyes? I could write a whole paragraph about starting into someone’s eyes and it still wouldn’t be enough to describe it.

2. E isn’t some useless love interest whose purpose in the story is fulfilled once W comes in, she’s in every right her own character. 

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YES. YES. YES.

I don’t know about you, but I hate it when any character, girl or guy, exists solely as a love interest- when they could be developed and rounded out and deep and impactful and when they do not need another person to make them a good character, they’re good on their own. And that is Elizabeth.

I mean, have you noticed her arc? Elizabeth starts off as a girl in high society, tries to help kid Will Turner so he won’t be mistaken for a pirate, accidentally triggers a bunch of problems, has to deal with Norrington (at least I think that’s his name), has to get used to pirates and fighting and all that, and then finally becomes a pirate in her own right. And fights and leads an armada.

What an arc. And yet, she’s still in love, but still strong.

*mindblown*

3. W genuinely supports and cares for E without being creepy HE LOVES HER

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Unlike *cough coughs* Norrington and like a bunch of other people I could mention right now.  No offense to James. He’s a good guy- helped the right side in the end. It’s just that… do you remember that scene where Elizabeth’s fainted because her corset is so tight, and when she mentions it to Norrington, he mentions how nervous he is? Cause.. I do. 😀

Anyway, Will is pretty great. He doesn’t assume Elizabeth can’t do anything by herself, he doesn’t feel the need to rush to her aid whenever fate would have her stumble, he fights with her and backs her up and I mean.. he said so himself, he’d die for her. He’s doesn’t hesitate to stand in harm’s way while knowing Elizabeth can protect herself. And that’s pretty nice. Scratch that, it’s really nice.

4. W and E are SO DEDICATED TO EACH OTHER IT’S NOT FUNNY
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So, uh, spoiler for those who haven’t watched it yet (but if you haven’t, well, this whole post is a spoiler) William and Elizabeth uh– get separated. And to top it off, they can’t see each other for 20 years.

20.

20.

I’m not sure I could handle not seeing my best friend for 20 months, let alone years. But they chose to do that. They knew it would be hard, and still, they decided being apart together was better than being apart period.

I don’t understand these weird people. But dedication. Wow.

5. Their wedding is the best wedding in history, and I will never take that back.
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Correction, Enni might never take it back, but I sure would. Because I’ve seen other– that spoils this section so nevermind. XD But while I wouldn’t go so far to say that it’s the best wedding in history, it’s one of the best fictional weddings.

They get married in a STORM.

With some creepy monster.

And people attacking them.

AND THEY SAY THEIR VOWS WHILE STABBING WEIRD CREEPY BAD GUYS.

oh, and need I mention they fight in sync— holding hands?? Now when’s the last time you saw a couple do that- much less fight, period? Hats off to these two. They have better fight choreography than my left feet. XD

But seriously. It’s pretty great.

So there you have it. My reasons for why Willabeth is a power couple. Is it kinda weird that this is coming from me? I guess. But I stand by it the same. While I can’t fully support everything in the POTC movies, I do want to point out the good parts it has- and Willabeth is one of them. 🙂

tl;dr: Willabeth is a great couple because they are equally strong characters, and their being in a relationship is tested over and over, yet they refuse to let go- even if it means they will hurt.

*bangs head* I’ve had it with mush for one day. Goodnight! 😀

Life is a highway,

 Jo

 

A Collab With Enni About The 101’s of Captain Jack Sparrow-ing

 

Jack's Compass - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Surprised to see a title like that from a blog like this?

Me too, to be honest. Me too.

In all honesty, the idea of talking about a film series I haven’t watched in ages never crossed my mind until a few days ago, when Enni and I thought it be a good idea for a collab.

Speaking of Enni, if you haven’t followed her blog yet or at least checked it out WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE go, go, go! Enni’s one of my first and craziest blogger friends that I have ever had the privilege of knowing, and her take on everything is pure and simple INTP. Go on and ask her about MBTI- I personally guarantee she won’t stop talking. As far as personalities go, Enni is an old, good, crazy soul.

Who’s probably waiting for this post right now. Heh. hehe. hehe.

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Pirates Of The Caribbean. Pirates. Fights. Swords. Rum. An unhealthy amount of rum. Strange sea-monsters. Epic music. These are probably what comes to mind when thinking of one of the biggest pirates movies/stories around.

It’s not really one with the best morals, either, y’know? I mean, there’s pirates. What more evidence do you need? It’s no Sherwood film, and to be honest, it’s probably on the same level as Guardians of the Galaxy. Entertaining, but more entertaining than wholesome.

So why am I writing a post about?

More importantly, why do I like it?

Well, I’m a writer. And this is like one of my favorite case studies: characters, plot, setting, SHIPS *hollers* villians, the whole bit. But the entire story in general has it’s good parts. And it has it’s hilarious parts. And the thing is, Jack- er, Captain Jack isn’t completely shallow.  I mean he is, but..

Use as a quote for a treasure chest filled with golden rocks with "treasures" written about the person..
No offense mate, but you stole this from Bilbo. *frowns* Good quote to steal though!
jack sparrow
Relatable.

I really took a hundred + words to say nothing? Wow. 😛 Ahem.  Let’s go before I walk the plank. Enni had the first five rules or whatever they may be called, and I have the last ten.

(Also- psst: look carefully- this post has an Easter egg for what’s next in our POTC duology 😉 )

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6. After anything offensive you might’ve said, always tack on a “savvy”.

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Extremely important, mates! With the tacking on of savvy, one needn’t fear of looking like an awkward land-lubbering greenhorn. When saying the word savvy, open your jaw and let your tongue flap, it works much better that way. Tilt your head in the most smuggest position you can think of and flash your gold teeth as you do so.

This goes well in hand with, “did you see that? because I will NOT be doing it again” and I suggest practicing as often as possible to ensure a truly Captain Jack Sparrow flair. Because if you’re like me, which you are not, then you may want to find yourself saying savvy after every sentence, just in case you don’t want a sword in your face or say, having to walk the plank. It turns out to be quite useful at times.

7. Do your best to look suspiciously at any and all monkeys.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. I didn't understand this until I watched till the end of the credits of Curse of the Black Pearl. Seriously, go watch it.

Don’t forget to hiss words like, “ooh, monkey” and “beast” as you flap your hand at a thieving little rasca- mammal with a handy tail. And make sure you squint especially hard at that monkey- for all we know, that sneak could’ve been related to that same one in Night At The Museum.. we’ll never know. *mysterious look*  Obviously, this means you must hate all monkeys, whether they’re shrunk up in bottles or snatching your jewelry. And look for a monkey if in desire to shoot something.

8. When in doubt run- preferably with your arms flailing and screaming never hurt.
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Oops, wrong one.
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Much better!

Now, I honestly don’t think you’ll be stuck on an island full of cannibals trying to cook you for supper, but if that or something pretty equivalent to that befalls you (say, it’s your turn in the church nursery or perhaps you’re pulling up to your annual family reunion or you’ve accidentally taken an important locket or you’re playing a highly crazy game of tag) then, follow the captain and RUN FOR YOUR LIFEEEEEEE!!

It’s simple really. Move your feet really fast, lift your arms and wave them wildly, and scream like there’s no tomorrow! 😀 It takes a moment of extreme panic- which will come eventually!

9. Whenever you find large jars of dirt, raise them up in triumph and loudly proclaim, “I’ve got a jar of dirt!”

Yeah, you have NO idea how important this one is! I mean, you could be holding one of the Avengers, mate, so lift that jar high and proud as you dash past some very confused mates and confuse the enemy.

Just don’t drop it, of course, because you can’t vacuum a boat!

And yes I just mentioned another fandom. >:)

10. If a plan sounds mad and there’s an 80% chance you’re gonna die- DO IT.
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And this, of course, is the epitome of Jack Sparrow- doing everything that’s dangerous and risky and plain out DEATH INDUCING and somehow surviving anyway.

It’s best, of course, to be confident about it. Say something insightful and confusing, like, “the problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.” And then solve the problem! 😀

Some good examples of mad, 80% risk of death plans include but are not limited to: doing all your homework on the last day, jumping off a cliff into water, saying hi in a different language to someone you’ve never met, figuring out if it’s yanny or laurel, writing 18k on the last day of NaNo, sneaking aboard a donut ship, solving riddles with a mangy ring loving bony raw fish eater, and going for the head.

If you follow these ten tips carefully, you should be on your way to being a great Captain Jack Sparrow! Just don’t drink rum- it ain’t good fer ya. Oh, and 11. Spout advice when you have it. Example:

Jack Sparrow Quotes | We Need Fun

 

I’m rather looking forward to the second part of this duology. 🙂

Oh, and check out Enni’s post here! Cause she’s way better at this stuff. XD

Life is a highway,

Jo

Invincible (BIBPC Cat. 7, A Wee Post, And An Explanation)

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I’ve committed the unforgiveable sin of posting twice a day and for that, I must apologize. XD But since technically this is a BIBPC post, it doesn’t count, right? 😀

Well, sorry anyway. 😛

And now for my final picture for Megan’s awesome contest!

It’s weird, I know.

For the prompt invincible…

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An.. ant.

And not in the best lighting too.

Way to go, Jo.

(If any of you makes a joke out of the words “go” and “Jo” I will find you and you shall feel my wrath.)

(ish.)

Anyway, I *wanted* to take a picture of my mom, since she’s the living embodiment of invincible, but Mom didn’t agree and told me to think of something else. So oh well. 😦 Antonio will have to do.

I’m always surprised by how strong these little guys and gals are. They carry stuff more than a hundred times their size with little to no problem. And they’re seriously hard-working. No wonder we’re supposed to “go to the ant, sluggards.” XD And props to Antonio. If I was that small and some giant girl with some weird black box kept poking me around and large clicky sounds came out of the weird big black box, I’d scream my head off. Remind me to save up and buy a micro lens.

Moving on. Here’s my poster for the seventh round of BIBPC- one I hope to join again, because BIBPC is awesome!

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And now the explanation to cap off the second post of the day, which I’ll try not to let happen again! 😛

I’ve kinda been posting a lot this week. O_O

And I blame that midnight bloggie brainstorming session a week ago. -_- Too many ideas.

As a result, my schedule’s outta whack, but I’m working on it! So thank you for putting up with post after post. XD I’m cutting it down to every other day, which hopefully will be better for you and for moi.

So yeah, to sum up, I’ve been posting on a weird scheduley, I’m gonna try to fix it, and thank you all for putting up with me! 😀 Have a great weekend!

Life is a highway,

Jo

I Call Myself A Writer

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Today, or at least this month, marks an entire year I started to write seriously.

One year of looking at screens and seeing my story come to life.

One year of playlists.

One year of bacon crumbles.

One full year since Gale Darn became Gale Darn.

One year of hopelessly wanting to meet characters.

One year. 75k worth of words total.

In all honesty, it all started way before last year.

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I think I first got into writing by peeking over my sister’s shoulder. I dunno if I was five or six, but I do remember hearing the worst shriek ever heard in real life, and that I was promptly booted out and placed in the hall for an indefinite period of time.

It mighta been an hour later, but eventually I got invited back in and was allowed to take a sneak peak at my sister’s WIP.

If you’re reading this, Ate, thank you for putting up with me. It means a lot. 🙂

Like a lot a lot. ❤

Anyway, that was my first introduction to the wonderful world of writing: characters, theme, bad guys who were really just overgrown kids, laughing over dialogue, it was awesome. And now that I look back, I’m surprised my sister even let me know her WIP existed. Huh. I mean, I wouldn’t have told my five year old self I had a WIP. But anyway, the whole idea fascinated me for a couple weeks.

Aaaand I forgot about it.

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Fast forward a few years later, and I was 7, puzzling over my first poem. Which was a terrible epic about a Loyalist in the Revolution whose greatest secret was a wig. Yes, no kidding.

My first plot bunny was a crazy tale of a girl who was forced out of her home and roamed the streets of 1950 New York. Again, no kidding. 😛 That particular story begins with a flashback. How entirely original.

All that to say, stories have been in me for a while. I guess now I just decided not to bottle it up anymore.

Or rather, a year ago.

How was it a year?

I’m gonna be honest (which I try to be, for the most part, sometimes painfully so) sometimes I look back and groan. I’ve been writing for a year and I haven’t finished a single draft? I haven’t edited a single complete book? I didn’t even submit any of my stories to anything?

I thought I was a writer.

And while some of that doubt is thanks to nosy people that are also known as family and friends, a good deal of that is thanks to myself.

Publishing would mean the world to me.

And I’m nowhere near that.

Maybe I’m not cut out for this kinda thing. Maybe I should stick to my comfortable old self, the one that daydreamed her stories instead of writing so others could see them too. Maybe I should just let it go. Leave the doc open, but never read through it.

Because if I’m a writer, why on earth am I not writing anything worth writing?

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Thing is… publishing is not why I started writing.

Writing is why I started writing. XD I write because I love to write, because I love putting words on paper.. on or a screen. Whichever I get my hands on first. 😛

So I think I’m done mentally beating myself up over not being a published author of a great series of novels yet. I’ve only been writing for like a year and 6 more years. XD Writing shouldn’t feel like a chore, but something fun, new, something completely the opposite of school. Unless you like school. Then it’s very similar.

But yeah. Here’s to one year, and hopefully more coherent posts to come. 😀

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*coughcough* um, at the same time, I’ve been working on a project that’s been under wraps for a while. 🙂

Life is a highway,

Jo

 

 

Letters Arranged Into Words Arranged Into Sentences Arranged Into Lines

 

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Or in other words, a post of poems. XD Hope you enjoy this drabble of words!

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Ice Cream

Too sweet

Tastes like summer and winter and spring all in one

Too cold

A heap of freshly fallen snow

Too soon

It gets smaller and smaller until

All gone

A cone to remember

*********************

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The Night I Was Gone

Gone, gone, gone, that’s what I was

Grab a bag and don’t look back

Just gone, gone, gone

Stuff’s in the truck

Truck’s filled up

Gone, gone, gone

By midnight

I’ve crossed state lines

The gas stations

Are little lights

Gone, gone, gone

Darkness was an old friend

I’d come back to visit

I could never leave for long

Gone, gone, gone

My phone’s dead

The radio’s playing

A song and I’m

Gone, gone, gone

Then the red light

My alarm rings

And gone is the night I was gone,

Gone, gone.

*********************

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Blue Eyes

We both knew you liked her

But never a word you said

You seemed to sink into her

Blue eyes

And everything left your head

That explains your face

hitting the door

of our Algebra 2 class

 

At lunch we sat together

Cause you were scared to go up

And tell her hi

You were okay

With catching her

Blue eyes

and smiling back

And I groaned behind my tea with ice

“stop being scared and just do it”

I told you every time

 

Like the good friend you are

You ignored me

Because blue and brown don’t match, you said

It was that way until at last, we graduated

And you looked into her

Blue eyes

For the last time

At least until

You somehow applied for the same job

And both got it

Don’t ask me how that happened

 

And now that this thing is over

I can finally crumple this poem

And say to all these people

who are laughing at your red face

And gazing at her

Blue eyes

None as much as you, duh

I crinkle my stone blind eyes

Feel for the microphone

“My ship has sailed at last.”

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Papers

I saw them

on the kitchen table

your coffee was there too

cold

black

boring

16 year olds shouldn’t drink coffee

 

But you wouldn’t listen

Because Mrs. Secil expected

Nothing but the best from you

at 8 am tomorrow

It’s 11 pm now

So you groaned from your rickety chair

picked up your pen

cold

black

boring

hunched over the kitchen table

I saw them

papers

******************************

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Another 

Another family

Another finally

Another forever

They were nice

They were kind

Just like the ones before them

She gripped her suitcase

And sighed

And smiled

She wouldn’t stay very long

It was just another another

 

But they were there

When the mares of the night

Came to steal her away

On another night

She held her screams

Shut her eyes

And faced it all alone

Until two pairs of arms

Wrapped around hers

And stayed

They were the first

Just like the first smile

The first laugh

The first cry

 

She didn’t know how

She didn’t know why

It took time

For her to see

First family

First finally

First forever

Not just another another

But she saw

Gripped her suitcase

And sighed

And smiled

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I really need to get back into writing real stuff soon.

Life is a highway,

Jo

 

Hard Stuff: Don’t Call Yourself Dumb

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My dad and I were driving around yesterday and we were just talking about the weird things that are normal in the here and now: speaking with emojis instead of words, looking at your phone instead of talking to people, little kids spending their entire days on YouTube videos *cough cough heh guilty during NaNo*, people taking huge risks to make those videos, movies that churn out mediocre stories in exchange for money, how people will believe anything the internet tells ’em. Anyway, Dad mentioned something that I haven’t stopped thinking about for a while.

“you live in a dumbed-down society.”

I suppose, to an extent, he’s right, of course. This world’s very different then it was a decade or two ago. But I’d have to disagree if that statement applied to people too.

But forget people now, what I’m interested in is you.

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Ever feel like you’re just, so, so, hopelessly dumb? Annoying algebra and your brain just don’t work together, you push instead of pull on a doorknob, cashier at the checkout asks for a dollar and you accidentally give her two, you have no clue what “bonjour” means despite a test and two quizzes? Flunked?

The best running joke in my family is that I don’t have a brain, but I do have a placebo for it and it actually works. XD And that joke’s still run by me. I like poking fun at myself and the things I do that are just… well, for lack of a better word. Dumb. I’m already messed up, why not make fun of it and make other people laugh?

Thing is though, dumb is an adjective that fits nobody. Nobody.

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During July Camp NaNo, when I was groaning about how Mirages wasn’t ending up in the style I wanted and the characters were too OOC, and it’s just full of melodramatic nothingness and I was just a dumb writer, I think it was either Tess or Enni or quite possibly both at different times who shook my by the proverbial shoulders and said,

“Hey. God made your brain. Are you telling me He made a mistake in designing you?”

With all the love I can muster, ouch.

As Doc Hudson’s coach said, “truth is always quicker.” Or something like that.

Anyway, we talked for a while, and Tess and Enni? You practically wrote this post. I’m just passing on what you told me because it’s kinda important.

I’m not sure if self esteem is a thing, but I do know that self negativity (which I’m hoping means always thinking of yourself as dumb or something to that extent) can really trip you up and stop you from moving and brings you down. So. What my crazy and awesome cabinmates told me, I’m telling you. To stop that from happening.  😀

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Because you are fearfully and wonderfully made, that includes your mental system, which means your brain and mind were wonderfully made, which means if you’re putting that down to yourself, you’re saying God wasn’t a good Creator. 

Ye-ouch, that hurts writing it. But God is the Master Creator. He “skillfully wrought you from the depths of the earth” (Psalm 139: 15b if you wanna fact-check me from the NASB). I dunno about you, but the word skillfully should give ya a clue as to how you were made.

Take a snowflake and look at it.. Ever think how delicately intricate it is? Ever wonder why in the world are no two of them ever exactly the same, no matter how many winters we have? If God pays so much attention to a melting crystal that dissolves in like 5 seconds, how much more you? Y’know?

Anyway, back in July when they were telling me this, I faintly remember arguing, if not on the cabin, in my head, “So I have a good brain. or mind. I still make the dumbest mistakes on a daily basis.”

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Everyone gets the chance to grow from their mistakes.

We’re all kids. We make mistakes that really are dumb. We’re growing, and making mistakes comes with the growth. It’s up to us whether we learn from them or still repeat them.

The mistakes, dumb they may be, do not define you. Not if you don’t let them define you.

Who knows, in a couple months’ time, I might look back on this post and groan at it. We grow.

If you wouldn’t call another person dumb, don’t call yourself dumb.

Am I right, or am I right? Maybe, when in exasperation or a joking mood, you can tease someone about being dumb, but for the most part, you wouldn’t go up to a person and say, “you’re just really dumb. Look at this work, can’t you just stop being so bad at this and actually get stuff done?” Of course you wouldn’t. Because if you would, you’re so dead.

So why you doing it to yourself, huh?

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If you keep saying it, there’s a good possibility you’ll actually believe it. 

Raise you hand if you’ve heard the story about that lil train who kept saying he could and he did. Or, for a different illustration, maybe you’ve heard Natasha Romanoff mutter this:

“I thought I knew whose lies I was telling. Guess I can’t tell the difference anymore.”

Black Widow is a fictional character. You’re real. Among the many lies you can tell yourself, the “I am dumb” one can be an easy one to believe. And the more you tell a lie, the more you start to believe it. Don’t need HYDRA or the KGB to believe a deadly lie.

Sure, sometimes you need to scold yourself once in a short while, I mean, I find myself doing that a lot, but if you keep thinking about how dumb you think you are, that can and will get to you.

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tl;dr:

Your mind is fearfully and wonderfully made by God among everyone in this earth (i.e. this also applies to kids with autism and Aspergers and down syndrome and people we call “normal”) and bashing that won’t help you get anywhere.

Maybe, the more people start to realize that their minds were intricately and specially made, society wouldn’t be as dumbed down as we think it is.

Life is a highway,

Jo

 

Once and Then Book Review (More like Once I cried, Then I cried some more)

Finally, I get around to reviewing the books I borrowed and read on a dare. Yay!

The problem is that this specific book is so good, I can’t just review it. Or rather, these specific books.

Once is its own book, and Then is a book by itself. They’re just smushed into one cover. Funny, ain’t it? There’s a whole series by Gleitzman, Once, Then, Now, After, Soon, Maybe- I really need to read the rest. I mean, these two alone shredded me.

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If you’ve ever read The Boy In The Striped Pajamas, then you already get the setting for these books. Sorta. They travel a bunch of places. But war-you can’t avoid it. It’s everywhere. Through a child’s eyes, however, it’s a whole other story.

Felix. Good ole young, hopeful, naïve Felix. Just a kid in an orphanage whose parents are sure to pick him up after they find a safe place to store their books, right? Well, add in Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass and the fact he’s Jewish and the fact there’s soldiers everywhere, and it gets a little trickier.

But see, Felix doesn’t know why there’s a war or why everything’s happening the way it is. To Felix, it’ll all be okay in the end. So until that end comes, he’ll content himself with his stories and wait.

Ayyy, if only he did. If only he didn’t see the soldiers take those books away and burn ’em up. Then maybe he wouldn’t have done what he did and none of the heartbreak happened.

But then again, sometimes the hero needs to make choices he can’t ever take back. More on that in another post. Anyway, Felix ends up doing just that.

Morris Gleitzman Quote: “Everybody deserves to have something good in their life. At least once.”

I’ve always loved studying WWII, and reading fiction from that genre. I don’t know why. This period, this time, it’s special for me. I don’t really have any reason. I’m just one of the many lives forever affected by that war ending. I’m more especially interested in the people whose lives were directly affected by the war. Real or fictional. Especially since fictional often is heavily based on the real.

Especially because fiction opens our eyes to how bad the real thing was.

Anyway, thoughts specifically on the book:

I loved the style of writing this was written in. As you can guess, every chapter in the book starts with the word “once”. Except Then. Then every word in Then starts with “then.” Okay, that’s confusing, but read the book and you’ll get what I’m saying. XD

The characters oh my word they were so well written I can’t even. Felix, Zelda, personwhosenameIcan’tsaybecausespoilers, otherpersonwhosenameIcan’tsayforsamereason, they all had depth, they all had arcs, and just- ahhh it seemed so.. real. They carried the story so well.

I loved the perspective this was written in. POV. Whatever. Like The Boy In the Striped Pajamas, this is through the eyes of a boy who has to grow up too fast. A boy who’s naïve, and hopeful, and dreaming, and basically every kid ever. Seeing everything he does through his eyes opened my eyes.

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Zelda ahhh this kid is a well written 6 year old and she’s just really adorable and great and.. so sad.

Once and Then shows an amount of slightly violent stuff, like kids all being dead and guns and knives and -okay, erase slightly. It is violent, because the war was violent, and none of what happened should ever be whitewashed. Ever.

And yet, despite everything, there’s hope. Felix, as young and naïve and childish (oh come on, he IS a child) is so.. hopeful. And that hope is seen in trace amounts throughout the book. And that’s something I really, really loved in this bittersweet, hard hitting novel about a kid who was forever changed by WWII. Maybe he wasn’t in real life, but somebody was.

We shouldn’t forget that.

Life is a highway,

Jo

 

Letter to my future self

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So a while back, I saw Bayance do a post like this, and I thought it was a really great idea. Since I’m young and impressionable (I’m being sarcastic) and the idea of writing something that I’ll answer later on seems pretty neat.

Because the truth is, I’m terrified, yet eager for the future. I’m nervous and excited. Nervouscited. Sometimes I’m grateful I’m not driving my life and God is, but other times I wanna poke my head out from the back and ask, “Where are we going? And can we stop for a break?”

And then there’ve been times when I was so, so tired of the road, of life and- I guess you could call this letter thing.. a reminder to keep going? 😛 I don’t know. But here goes.

(I just realized how silly this might sound, especially when I just did a letter to my past self. I have put my hands to the keyboard and there’s no pressing backspace. XD)

Dear future Jo,

Are you getting enough sleep or are you still staying up ridiculously late for “writing research”? Or are you forgetting that because you’re writing too much fanfiction?

I wonder if you’ll remember me? The kid that was you just a year ago? Maybe just shorter than you by a couple inches- speaking of, did you get taller yet? XD If you don’t.. well, I guess your old journals should remind you. Wait, you’re still writing a page a day, right? 😀

I have so, so many questions but I won’t know the answers til later. Whyy- so this won’t take too much of your time.

How are you? Really? and not just “good”. How are you? Are you still the same weird crazy writer photographer lover of God bacon crumble enthusiast person? Do you still love reading? Ooh, did you find any new books? Did any of your alphas publish?? 😀

How’s your family? Did we change in any way? Did we get to go to Minnesota and meet up with Uncle Danny, or did work get in the way again? Speaking of work, do you have a job now? Tell Mom and Dad I say hi. XD That’s kinda funny.

Did you finally publish your book? or more importantly, did you finally FINISH your book? 😛 As well as memorize all of Galatians, or did you slack on that too?

Have you met anyone new? People that became close friends? 😀 Ooh- did you ever have a meetup or anything great like that?

Was this summer as crazy as you thought it would be? As last as last year? As rich and good and growing-y?

I kinda wonder.

I wonder about what you will be.

If you’ll be different.

The thought’s scary.

But kinda cool, too. 🙂

Have you joined any writing contests- oh, oh, oh, and how’s the Audiosmiths? Is that still going? And did Buck Oliver get adopted yet? please tell me Jason didn’t end up with Jillian. Even better, tell me Jillian left town- pleeeease. I begst of thee! Did AIO have anything new up its sleeve?

How many words did you girls write in your fanfiction? 😉 It was at 57k when last I checked, and we’re starting a new book soon. Where you at?

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Also, can you do a backflip yet? You still wanna join American Ninja Warrior or something great like that, right? And how’s Bible Bee going- assuming you joined and studied and did the work. Did they let Canadians compete in semi-finals yet?

Or like finals?

Because I’ve been wondering.

I wonder a lot, and I wonder if you will wonder too.

Are you still blogging, or did you give that up after your first year? And did you change your theme and actually put effort into your blog design, or were you lazy like I am?

Is your prayer life stronger than it is now? 😀 And your walk with God in general? Hopefully that got stronger over time.

How much did you laugh at St. John In Exile? XD Or in general? And is your favorite movie still CA:TWS? And is you favorite hero still TWS? 😛 Oh.

He didn’t die right?

I mean, he can’t.

I sure hope not.

Ahhhh if you find the answer, please lemme know.

Of course, I won’t receive it in time. XD But that’s okay.

Did anything change?

And are you okay with that now?

Because I’m still trying to figure stuff out.

I think that’s it for now. See you…. soon, I guess?

With all the questions my brain finds no trouble in mustering,

Jo

P.S Will you even still answer this- or remember you wrote it?

P.P.S. Now I got nothing.

P.P.P.S. Byeeeeee!

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Y’know, I still wonder.

But I guess time will tell. 🙂

Life is a highway,

Jo

An Cringey Interview With An Unusually Calm Child, Plus Aesthetic Snow Pictures (not)

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For a second there I thought I was on the new editor and I panicked a bit. I HATE the new editor. 😛 Happy Sunday fellow friends, countryfolks, and bloggers and nonbloggers!

Anyway, last night I couldn’t sleep, so I used the surefire way to make anyone sleepy: brainstorming blogging ideas. You can guess how effectual that was. The result was 8ish hours of sleep and more blog post ideas than I know what to do with.

I’m actually planning ahead. For my blog. *mindblown*

So if you maybe are interested in new content, it’s coming. 🙂

Anyway, on to this post. I had fun with it.

Once in a blog, you’ll see those interview-with-younger-siblings posts. Those adorable transcripted babbles and hilarious comments and they’re just really fun. Who doesn’t love a 5 year old’s opinions on mac and cheese? I can’t really say I don’t, so. 😛

If you think you know where I’m getting at, I don’t have younger siblings. I’m the youngest. XD No point in interviewing myself right? But I do babysit. More like keepthekidsaliiiiiiveforanhourwhiletheirparentsarebusy. And not die myself in the process. These kids are crazy. But I love ’em. And it might be fun to showcase them on this blog. (And I may or may not be planning ahead for a school project, so heh.) Without further ado, Selse (name changed to protect the innocent- me, for one)! *thumbs up*

(And yes, I did get permission just so we’re clear.)

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*Cool Intro- just roll with it okay*

Me: Okay, I’m gonna ask you ten questions, just ten, kay? (Liar, Jo, liar) One. What is your favorite thing to do? (Wow, so original)

(basically Selse answers the Liebster Award)

Selse: *half-chewing on pizza* um.. do gymnastics.

Me: Do gymnastics? okay, that’s cool. What’s your favorite thing about gymnastics? (Jooo shut up)

Selse: *thinks* I like to do the bars flip.

*Edit side questions because cringe!*

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Me: What do you think about American Girl dolls? (Finally, Jo, a semi decent question)

Selse: Um.. I think they’re kinda creepy because I watched a video at night *sniffs nose* of, um, American dolls like, move around, and *laughs* take up knives and like, chop tomatoes with blood.

(I’m dying XD XD Stopmotion gone wrong? I guess we’ll never know)

Me: Okay, that is kinda creepy. So you watch these on YouTube?

Selse: Yeah.

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Me: What’s your favorite YouTube channel?

Selse: *waits* *mumbles something I didn’t catch* ..and I like slime videos because I like slimes.

(I had no clue slimes or slime videos were a thing until a year ago. Huh.)

Me: You like slimes? (Selse JUST said that Jo, stop repeating things to make yourself sound less awkward)

Selse: Yeah.

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Me: What kind of slime do you like? Butter slime, or… (halp I don’t know what I’m saying right now, obviously)

Selse: I like all slimes. That’s the… uh *plays with fingers* fluffy slime, fancy slime, butter slime, crunchy slime, and just regular slime.

Me: So any kind of slime?

Selse: Yes.

Me: That’s really cool. (I stand by this- do you know how much of a kid’s attention a glop of this glue mixture can capture? Where has this been all my life??) Okay, next question. What’s your favorite book?

Selse: Fairy books.

Me: Any fairy books?

Selse: I read like lots of them.

(And now I wanna write a fairy book XD)

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Me: Who’s your favorite Disney princess? (random, I know)

Selse: *deep in thought* I like Moana. *grins*

Me: How come?

Selse: Because that’s my favorite movie.

(forward thinking on Selse’s part!)

Me: That’s awesome! Let’s see… do you have any pets?

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Selse: I got like, a puppy.

Me: Really?

Selse: A really small puppy.

(it’s as big as you, child! I don’t think so! XD)

Me: Does it have a name? (cringe- I hate calling animals “it”.)

Selse: *smiles* Bailey.

Me: *nods* She’s the chocolate lab, the *chokes* little black dog?

Selse: Yes.

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Me: *after chuckling because our friend was dramatically smushing her nose in the glass door* Okay, uh, um, if you could be with anyone in the world, who would you be with?

Selse: Ooh, my sister.

(aawww kid- me, too, me too.)

Me: Aww, that’s great! *hurries a bit* Do you or do you not like Ariel’s sisters? (I only hear the girls I watch sing “Part Of Your World” for like an hour on end, kay? I really wanna know!)

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Selse: *shakes head* I don’t like them.

Me: *a dumb interviewer* How come?

Selse: I don’t really like mermaids.

(Ehh, welp, sorry Ariel.)

Me: Okay, gotcha. *grins goofily, which is my permanent look* What do you think of unicorns? (Where did THAT come from?)

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Selse: They’re good.

Me: Would you ever wanna touch one?

Selse: *sighs* Yes!

(can’t tell if this is a happy sigh or an exasperated sigh, but here’s hoping for the former. 😛 )

Me: Alright, do you like roller coaster rides, and what’s your favorite?

Selse: *gasps* Oh, in Canada’s Wonderland, those rides are SO good, I go on ALL *bangs fists on table* of them. *tilts head and smiles*

(Even…. BEHEMOTH?? Okay, this is truly a brave girl. How??)

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Me: Wow. Uh… what’s your favorite holiday, like, ever? (Yep, I said “like”.  I’m groaning now)

Selse: *looks back and forth and adorably props up her chin on her hands* *sighs* uh… Halloween and Easter!

Selse: And Valentine’s Day.

Me: Because of the candy?

Selse: *giggles* yes.

Me: And your favorite candy is….?

Selse: *thinks and drums her fingers on her table* Skittles, Kit-Kats, and pop rocks.

Me: Okay, cool! Okay, what do you think of pumpkin spice?

Selse: *dead serious* NO. No-o. *shakes head and pouts*

Me: *chuckling internally* You dont like pumpkin spice?

Selse: NO- and *gets excited* I also like Twix!

Me: *mishears* Twinkies?

Selse: *matter of factly* TWIX.

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*we laugh a little about my terrible hearing*

Me: Okay, okay, what do you think of millennial pink? (this.. wow. How do I even know what that is?)

Selse: Like this color? *touches her hairband, which has millennial pink written all over it)

Me: Yup!

Selse: It’s a just good color. *waves her hands like she’s patting someone for emphasis*

Me: cool. So: Hawaiian pizza. Evil or really good? (There have been debates about this for a while now XD)

Selse: *firmly* Good.

Me: Alright. Second to late question. Last question. Second question (make up your mind Jo): If you could go anywhere in the world, but you had to bring your brother, where would you go?

(Those two fight like cats and dogs)

(And then they love each other a lot too)

(Kids)

Selse: Canada’s Wonderland. (I ain’t trying to sponsor anyone, but they do have awesome rides :P) Or Disneyland!

Me: Nice! (also just appreciating how Selse picks the best places for her brother and her to go- and she’s just like that. Remind me to tell you about the time she was almost 5 and made up a song on the spot about their adventures) okay. Last question: If you could give any piece of advice, what would it be?

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The transcript ends here because of too much laughing and things which I have sworn to keep secret- only select friends can know. 😎 But, as messy and random as that was, I hope you enjoyed it! Top thanks to Selse for putting up with her weird babysitter and to her parents for still letting me keep an eye on her when they need me too. XD

Go out and talk to a younger kid today- maybe you’ll have better questions than I did! 😛 One thing’s for sure: every kid, no matter who they are, have insights and sometimes downright funny answers- if someone just listens to them. 🙂

Life’s a highway, 

Jo

(I’m still trying to find my signoff, okay, so sorry for the cringe)