When I Can’t Even, I Can’t Even- The Year Is Almost Done, My Friends//Recap + All That Lovely Stuff

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Okay, I’m really trying not to go into excited squealing panicking nervous wreck mode, but the struggle is real: Today is the last Sunday of 2018 AND the second to the last day of 2018.

I just have one question.

WHERE DID THE TIME AGO?!?!?

This year has been one of the most craziest in… ever for me, huge changes that I had no clue would happen, people I didn’t think I’d meet, goals I didn’t think I was crazy enough to actually crush. It’s been a weird ride, but so far, God’s been a great driver of it all. There’s been a ton of bumps and curves along the way and I am semi-shook that I still survived.

Also I’m semi shook that it’s taken me this long to actually get down and write. Bad YouTube. XD Anyhow. This is real. This is happening. The year flew past my eyes. *shudders*

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January- Ummm… things literally started changing for me with New Year’s Day. I started writing novels, not just poems (which were terrible), I got into photography, and dreaded freshman year. So helpful. I played spy a few dozen times, and oh, oh, I started my resolution to listen to more AIO!

I also seriously started thinking about blogging. So there’s that.

OH AND MITCH

I STARTED TO LIKE MITCH

HOW COULD YOU MITCH

LEAVING CONNIE FOR BUDAPEST

Ahem.

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February- THE WORLD CHANGED!

Okay, not the world, but I did start blogging. I pulled out a laptop, googled best blogging platforms, picked WordPress, stole my brother’s email address, and started on this crazy adventure of documenting my thoughts and life experiences and random bacon crumbles. I picked a hideous theme and thought it was great. That’s it. That’s all that matters.

XD Ha! No, my brother had a birthday, and I was unofficially hired at a church dinner to play violin. And I broke 4k on Just Come Home, then called The Click Of The Lens, which was my highest wordcount back then.  So there was that too. But February was the month of new changes.

If I only knew, you know?

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March- March is kinda a filler month, if you ask me. At least for the most part. It’s not quite winter anymore but it’s not spring just yet and it’s most definitely not summer and it couldn’t possibly be fall and it just IS.

At least for the most part.

Not this time.

The same day I put up my first poem here , my mom had surgery on her thyroid, the doctors having found cancer the previous month. Thankfully, Mom doesn’t have it anymore, I think. I don’t know quite sure what’s happening even now. But that month, I came to know the inside of a hospital pretty well. That month, I started to take life seriously. Even though Mom’s cancer wasn’t fatal, it wasn’t all easy as pie. That month, I started to realize that there are things I can’t control or understand, but God does.

That month I saw Allison featured on Discover, and then saw Megan, and finally got into the…neighborhood? 😛 And from there I saw Gracie and Brad and Hope and Welcome To Odyssey changed my life. XD

That month, I broke down because my sister surprised us with a 4 day visit for March Break. Just when I was worried about Mom and it wasn’t all that great, it was like God sent someone to get me back into the game.

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April- April was a good month. It was when spring bloomed up and life was good, and spring cleaning was evil, and I was getting into the blogging thing (Starling had a contest, amirite?).

April was also when I met the awesome, evil author waiting to be a bestseller Rebekah, and got into Camp NaNo for the first time. With a pathetic 7k. It’s not my fault I only found out about three days before it ended! It s a decision that has forever sealed my crazed writer state. Forever.

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May- Things swung into high gear this month. I met a bunch of awesome people, Hope from AG Doll Dreams and Zielle from my Homeschool Notebook (miss you lovelies!) among other people, we drove to Buffalo to pick my sister up, Mom was getting better, it was hopeful. Really hopeful.

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June-  Okay, I want to squeal every time I think about this month. That was the month I got to fly out to Texas for my cousin’s wedding and I got to see family.

Family is a huge thing for me, this huge collective swarm of people that I can’t imagine not knowing. I got to hold nieces and steal donuts with my cousins and feel right at home and that was worth the allnighter and the heat and narrowly missing the plane. XD I started to plan Mirages too, and that’s something else I’m so stoked about.

And I got a DSLR. AH. AH. AHHHHHHH.

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July- July was HOT, people. HOT HOT HOT HOT OUCH HAVE MERCY ON MY POOR SELF.

But it was also awesome.

Camp NaNo started. And I got to be in a cabin. And I got to meet fellow writers and eventually friends. Bible Bee’s Summer Study and the Bored Games happened, and I found myself LOVING God’s word and clinging on to it.

It wasn’t all easy.

I won’t lie, I had a few times where I was shaking so badly I needed to breathe and calm down.

But I wasn’t alone. That helped.

I don’t regret trying to spread my writing wings, because that helped the rest of me.

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August-  Goodness, that was hard. So hard.
I found myself questioning a lot of things, I found myself clinging onto the Bible, I found myself wondering if I was secretly interpreting the Bible wrong, and I found that Mom banned bacon crumbles from the house if I all was gonna do was snack on them.
WHYYYY MOM?!
*sniffs*
Enni and I put our heads together and tried to make sense of the thing that was culture. It’s nice not to be alone for once.
We watched The Greatest Showman and I can’t stop humming A Million Dreams. Ah. *shakes the air*
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September- The dreaded scott known as SCHOOL started again. Need I say more?
This was also pretty hard too.
But we pressed though. God was good. Very good. I learned to trust and spent a lot of time delving into writing and photography and deciding that randomness is my specialty.
Oooh, ooh, I JOINED A FANBLOG YEET YEET HOORAY YAY Odyssians will never ever be the same again! Definite win of the month yet!
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October- October whizzed by so fast I’m a little scared of it. It took the snap of a finger, and it’s gone. Obliterated to complete and utter ash. Gone. Poof!
I started planning for NaNoWriMo, spent bunches chatting with friends, forced myself to get up earlier and actually be productive, cheered Tess on with APADO, and died every Saturday with Album 65 Adventures In Odyssey, really died. Don’t remind me about the time I jumped so hard my mom almost dropped her phone.
Oh, and Audiosmiths’ Radio Theater started. Win!
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November- Also known as the death of me.
National Novel Writing Month was a thriller in itself. I wrote more than I thought I could, yelled more than I thought I could, and basically did a lot of stuff more than I thought I could. And we had to wear jackets. And I got my laptop.
It’s a tad surreal to think It was just last month. It really is.
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December- Have mercy, it is 12: 26 AM and I still have another month to recap?? *sighs* This is what I get for “resting” and watching Youtube vids for like…an hour.
But December moved pretty fast too, believe it or not. I’m going with the latter, because I could sworn I was recording my fiddlings and writing out Christmas cards just yesterday.
25 Days, 25 recordings didn’t go as planned, but I’m okay with that. I’m proud of what I recorded so far, bad though they be. I mean, I edited and released an audio drama! So all ya’ll lovely requests are being saved, dontcha worry bout that. 😉
I turned a year older. Still feel like an immature writer dork. Advent. Wrote short stories. Wrote fanfic (!!!!) Gave gifts. Got more than I gave. Feel a smidge bad about that. but I *did* give!
And uhhh, I went to Parliament! And Montreal! And I wrote!
Yeah, this month has been good.
This year has been about growth. Like my bell pepper plant. There’s been thorns. And nasty flies. And it has been HARD.
But it has been worth it.
I’m overwhelmed by the people who’ve got my back, and whose backs I’ve got, who’re praying for me, and I’m praying for them, by the fact that I am not alone. And even if I never met anyone via blogging, God’s been closer. More real, if that’s even possible.
Okay. I’m done.
It’s been a hard year.
But we stuck through it.
🙂
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Wherein I Start Being Patriotic And Visiting The Capital

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Yes, I know this is a midnight post.

Yes, I know I read too much.

And yes, I know I should be writing like any good vertically challenged writer should be doing.

Lemme just say, it’s good to be back home!

We drove into the garage at 10 something PM last night, and I celebrated by reading fan fiction until 2am. 😛

But anyway, the past two days have been filled with all sorts of awesome fun cold, and me being an unoriginal blogger (TM) I’m blogging about it. Because it’s fun. 😀 I’ve finished my bag of frozen raspberries and listening to some AIO scores, so, let’s get into it.

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It only took a few minutes on the road to get into wanderlust mode, not that I’m sorry about it. Endless trees, fields and barns just get me excited, for some reason. And itching to finish Just Come Home. XD You know how they say half the fun is getting there?
They were right.
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The other half was just as fun.
Add really, really cold to that list and you got it down pat.
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I’ve been to Ottawa once, when I was 7. That time it was night, it was chilly, and I had no clue just how beautiful this city was.
We technically weren’t even supposed to be in Ottawa. Split second decisions for the win.
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The vibe here- well, the ambience, pick whichever fits you- was so different from Montreal. not that is was bad or anything. I dunno, it was just different. Fresh. Old and new and… inspiring.
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It’s kinda amazing. To think that years ago, the people who founded your nation walked the same streets you stand on. Built the tower that you’re gaping at.
That a long time ago, it all started here.
And what’s weird, is that even though you’re not in a museum, history’s never been more alive than it is right now.
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Yep, that’s me struggling in the magenta jacket. And yes, that gargoyle is ugly.
After a good half hour of freezing cold, we finally made it into the building to get tickets to see the capital building- only to be told all the tour tickets we’d get were in French.
French.
As in the subject I flunked in a year ago.
But when you think about the fact that the capital won’t be open to the public for another 15 years, French isn’t so bad! Right?
And no, no it wasn’t. 😉
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The Eternal Flame was flaming all right- I forgot what it represents, but it apparently hasn’t stopped representing it. Good for you, old fire.
And heheh, I was messing around with angles. It seemed to be better than the selfies that everyone else were taking.  Though, taking a picture of yourself with a monument that stands for our rights as citizens, our freedoms, the blessings God gave us as Canadians (Or Americans or wherever y’all come from), with a reminder of what we stand for- that doesn’t seem too bad.
Except when we’re no longer sure just what we’re standing for, but here’s hoping we figure it out in time.
Was I being philosophical for a second there? Huh. 😛 Moving on.
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FACE REVEAL!
No, my brother’s not a gargoyle, sorry. XD He’s way handsomer than one and no, you aren’t allowed to tell him I said that. XD I think the best part about this trip was bonding with family. I mean, we do have to agree on where to stop for WIFI, right?
And looking up at Capitol Hill, I think it’s called, I couldn’t help but feel a tad proud of what Canada means. Sure we’ve made some dumb mistakes and tax is bad and that Christian belt of people isn’t as prominent as it really needs to be, but it has some good things too. Like maple syrup. And snow. You know, some good things.
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Pay attention to that statue to the right! 😛 The poor guy!
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My feet were cold, but my brain was working overtime to store all the architectural detail… everywhere! I love old buildings, no matter what style, and I practically jumped just turning around. A wonder I didn’t trip no anything.
Also, I dunno bout you, but I feel really sorry for Henry Albert Harper over there. Trying to save a gal from drowning and dying with her, at only 28. I gotta write a story about it sometime. It’s kinda sweet that of all the plaques they coulda picked up, they picked one random, lesser known hero.
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The streets were b e a u t i f u l.
It really was like walking through a story or something. I can only imagine what Ottawa looked like when it first started.
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I don’t know how my family managed to snag free tour tickets in French, but somehow, it worked out and we headed back to actually get inside. And that was awesome. If it wasn’t so cold. 😛 I really connected with those gargoyles, the poor guys stuck on the building for who knows how long. They look so done right now. Like I am with this post– moving on!
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And this is where all the huge arguments take place, friends. I wouldn’t know, because as helpful as our tour guide was, I couldn’t understand a single word he was saying. It’s not your fault Felix, you were great! Blame my total dunceness concerning any other language.
But seriously though. I’m learning French, and I’m gonna actually pay attention!
I bet my mom’s sighing in relief as she plans 7 days worth of French assignments at me. Have mercy…
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My absolutely no doubt about it most favorite part of the entire place was the library.
THE LIBRARY.
AHH.
Felix called it the bibliotech or something, and I’m pretty sure I spelled that wrong, but the library was so beautiful I can’t even.
AHHH.
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I mean, I woulda gladly spent the entire day inside the library, if it weren’t for the fact half the books were gone. For renovation purposes. Rats.
Also, all the designs were hand carved.

O_O
Moving on.
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The next part was the Peace Tower- as in the tower in front of the building, yup, that. I had no clue you could actually go and see the city- but you can. And it is so beautiful I could’ve been standing there for a long time if my feet didn’t hurt. XD We got up there by way of a small, dark elevator, and on the way up you could hear bells ringing.
Of course, I saved that in a folder of my brain for writing. It’s somewhere along with evil plans to take over the world and homework.
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Outside of the elevator was something else to look at. Practically the whole city you could see from that lookout. It was something to marvel at, alright.  And looking up- ahh, there wasn’t anywhere you could look at and not want to take a picture of. At least for me.
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Not Big Ben, but just as wow- worthy.
And so is the height we were up at.
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If that was all we got to see, that would’ve been more than enough for me. If we’d come back down and drove off, I’da been more than content.
But there was more.
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As one of the guides told us, one of the main reasons for building the Memorial Chamber (so sorry if I got like all these names wrong) was to never forget the first world war. They carved out stone and wrote down names, not expecting there would be another war.
Somehow the last fact makes me shut up and think really hard.
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There were books all around the room, sealed in glass cases.
On every page are the names of every soldier who gave their life for the war.
Fathers. Brothers. Lovers. Scientists. Random guys.
People.
Sometimes you really need to remember that,  y’know?
I walked out with a new appreciation of living in Canada. Because the freedom I have, the freedom I take for granted, people died for that. Can’t forget. I owe that much and more.
Anyhoo, we drove back home, and I successfully managed to get my entire family into the AIO fandom (YAAAASSSSSS). 10 episodes! 10 episodes nonstop! While I’ll be ranting on that on Welcome To Odyssey, I would like to note with pride that my parents listened to an episode with Jason Whittaker and liked it. It happened to be Accidental Dilemma, and they were promptly worried about Jason exploding himself.
Very proud fangirl right here.
Ahem, this post in on the long side, wouldn’t you say? So I think I’ll end it right now. Thanks a bunch for sticking through the end!
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Wish I knew what was going on in this photo. But I think it’s beautiful. 

The 23rd Of December… Make That 24th

Was it a bad idea that I ate two slices of ice cream cake at 12 AM? Probably.

Am I regretting anything yet? Nope.

Will I? Hope not.

Ahem.

It’s the 24th of December. In other words, Christmas Eve. In other words, release day of Christmas Chances. But before we get to the debut of the Audiosmiths I have to ramble for a few paragraphs. 🙂

*mentally screams* Where on earth did time go? I could’ve sworn I was just starting on WordPress and the great American eclipse was yesterday and we just discovered that Jules was Connie’s half sister and Mr. Parker’s VA sounds so different and Thor got his hair cut and that it was just yesterday, just yesterday when I saw my cousin for the first time in four years and honestly I have no clue how we sped up to now. To December. To Christmas.

But that Christmas spirit that’s supposed to have infected everyone’s hearts?

I guess it missed me. I don’t have it.

(Sorry to all you guys who don’t celebrate Christmas! 😦 This is a lame apology… but it can’t hurt to make it. I think.)

Anyhoo. Christmas spirit. Missed me. That’s where we were. It’s weird. For all my life, I remember being so excited and happy for Christmas, the gifts, the family, the something that just made the day special, the fact that though Jesus probably didn’t come on the 25th, He came and that excited me- Christmas was a big deal. It was the one time our family was a family. And by family I mean your third great grand cousin’s niece’s son’s aunt’s nephew on your grandfather’s mother’s brother’s side that comes over once a year and gives you carefully cooked pandesal. All the good things happened on Christmas, and it was just this wonderful thing.

Fast forward to now, and it feels like just another day to me. Advent’s special, but not special. That magical feeling when you hear a carol? Sure, I’ll get chills up my spine, but I get chills listening to an epic movie soundtrack. Reading the Christmas story? It’s more of a comfty familiar feeling than excited fangirl squealing. Gifts? Thoughts and kind words seem to really be more than enough.

Maybe it’s life. Maybe it’s that I’ve gotten a littler older and understood a tad bit more, and maybe it’s just daily life and I’m not as stoked about Christmas like when I was five. Maybe it’s all the crazy that’s come my way and I’m still figuring out what goes where. Maybe it’s missing people. Maybe it’s all the big fuss the stores and malls make about it. But whichever of these maybes it is, Christmas and I aren’t the tight compadres we once were.

Hey, maybe that’s okay.

Maybe you don’t have to have the excited, happy feelings on Christmas to celebrate Christmas in your heart. Maybe it’s like joy, where you don’t need to be happy all the time to have it.

I’m okay with that. More than okay.

Anyway, The Return Of The King is playing and I’m not missing that with my family, so I’ll leave you this awesome card:

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And give you the link to Christmas Chances! At last!

AH. AH. AH. AH. AH.

Makies is indeed a word, friends. Many thanks to Mya, Gracie, and Penny for helping spread the word.

Merry Christmas Eve!

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Here is a short Christmas story based on Just Come Home that I wrote by hand. By hand. BY HAND Y’ALL.  I just might put it up here. Maybe.

 

If I Knew Then What I Know Now (Plus pic for BIBPC, carol, and linky to more of the blog tour yikes this title is long)

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You’re not the only one, kid.

Not by a long shot.

There is only one you you of course, the dorky quirky awkward weird laughing kid who’s just not the same from everyone else, but there are other people with your dreams. Your quirks. And your alarming obsession of Adventures in Odyssey, good gracious.

You’re an annoying little midge of energy, so yes, the haters were right.

But you’re lovable. Sorta. So the haters were wrong.

Also, the haters’ opinions don’t really matter, so keep that in mind.

I don’t know how to tell you, kid. I don’t know how to tell you that people will break your heart and what you thought was right is wrong and that things will change with the snap of a finger and you’re gonna have a lot of curve balls whizzing your way, so please learn to catch, kay?

Your “friends” are shallow, but be nice. Don’t collar the big kids even though you know they’re being jerks. If you do, don’t lie about it. Lying is evil. And don’t think you’re all that smart, why don’t ya? But do learn more. You’ll need it.

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Remember how you said you had nothing to live for? Ohhh boy, you be wishing you could take that back. Look around you. Look at the little miracle baby of the C’s, that little tiny thing that everyone thought was a dangerous tumor. Her? She’s gonna grow up to be a sweet little terror, and you’ll be chasing her around a hall more times then you can count. Good on ya for not wearing high heels.

Books are portals to another world. I’m glad you spend your head off in them. Also, pick up a pencil soon- you’ll be writing your own before you know it.

Love your family. Love love love them. They’re broken and not perfect, but still good. Also you’re a part of it.

Bacon crumbles exist. You’ll love them.

Good gracious, stop assuming things are gonna be carved out for you, like an easy puzzle. You gotta start doing things yourself and get it done. People are gonna depend on you whether you like it or not. And if not now, definitely in the future. So get used to it.

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You’re gonna meet people in ways you didn’t expect and you’re gonna pour your heart and soul into projects you would never have dreamed of doing. So attack that homework while you still have energy.

It does get worse.

It will. It will hurt so bad you can’t breathe.

But it will get better. I can promise you that. Don’t take my word for it. Take God’s.

Also, never ever ever skimp on the Bible. Ever. You’re gonna need that weapon. You’re gonna need to be armed and dangerous.

Uh, no, no, I didn’t mean to practice knife throwing, especially because that’s our last good knife. Thank you.

Things are gonna change. Not all of it will be good, but there will be good changes. You’re gonna meet people you can’t imagine life without and yet don’t like.

Okay admit it, you like that person.

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Write, my friend. You’ll love it. You’ll love making up stories and charries and daydreaming and plotting terrible deaths. Surprising, I know. And it’ll help you. So much.

No, no, screaming because of jogging pants and not jeans isn’t normal, no matter how much everyone thinks it is. Don’t be emotional when you respond. Calm down. count to ten. Punch that meanie in the nose. Don’t do the latter one because it won’t make you feel better. Instead… uh… I haven’t come up with how to handle that guy, but as Jesus says, treat them like you would a tax collector.

Run for your life!

Sorry, wrong context, friend. Speaking of, you do need to understand contest very, very well. But you pick your battles, and you stand up to that guy. To your fears. To that goal. To that line. You got this. Life won’t give you a bowl of opportunities and tell you to pick, so keep your eyes peeled for anything you find, and take it.

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Connie and Mitch break up. Tom Riley dies. Old Yeller gets shot. Iron Man gets hurt. The Baudelaires are confusing. The stories and life are similar in a way: they don’t go the way you expect.

Unlike the stories, your life story is being written by the Perfect Author, so never fear.

There is always a reason to laugh. I know there will be days when you’ll feel like drek, but trust me, you can find something to smile about. Care for something other than yourself, and do it a lot. Pray constantly. Pray continually. Don’t get out of touch with God.

Get stronger. Practice your high kick, especially on your right foot. It’s terrible. Push yourself to excellence, but stop for water. take care of yourself, and learn how to braid so nobody objects to your ponytail for the hundredth time in a row.

Observe people. Note their reactions, their fears, their movements, how they think.

Don’t be creepy about it though.

Man, there’s too much I wanna tell ya. Too much. Too much about loving and hurting and living and dying and reading and writing and fighting and resting and the time of day and how the year’s gonna fly by before you know it and Aragorn is brave and courageous but he is broken too and broken pieces can be fixed and people like Blackgaard will be defeated and-

…and you’ll find your way.

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Love,

Jo

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Well, another sign of my past is the above picture, friends, ^, which is also my picture for BIBPC. This category was so much easier, thank you Megan, tradition. And here’s mine. See, every Christmas Eve, we go on a marathon of AIO’s Back To Bethlehem, and it’s something I hope to be doing til I’m old and gray (and with those same cassettes XD)

4 days until Christmas Chances, people! Ahhh. You can catch more of Audiosmiths with Hannah and Enni’s lovely posts. Well maybe not Enni’s because she messed up my name. 😛 For now, though, I’ve taken a break from editing the audio drama and worked on a carol. I hope ya enjoy, bad though it may be. 😉

https://www.dropbox.com/s/anjxh0voag0qvid/Oh%20Holy%20Night.m4a?dl=0

(And if the linky doesn’t work, then uh.. lemme know)

 

The Trouble Of Innovation (But the good things of it, too.)

 

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I wonder if Thomas Edison’s mother thought he was crazy way back when.

This is the story of how I got into trouble, you see.

But don’t worry, I got out of it! I mean, if I didn’t I’d be stuck in Peru with some angry water buffalo, you know? (I don’t either)

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See, my parents have been asking for the longest time what in the world I’ve been up to.

I.E. Christmas Chances, i.e. the secret thing I’ve been working on, i.e. the thing I just finished today and I can’t stop screaming about but have to keep my cool about it, that.

But, see, I couldn’t exactly tell my parents because…. well, not only is it a debut for the Audiosmiths, but it’s also a sorta a surprise gift, I guess you could say, to my parents, in the hopes that maybe they’d like it. (And well, Mom, now you know. :P)

If. From the suspicious glares I’ve gotten and the prying comments and the averse reaction to my suspiciousness- worthy evil grins, (which was the trouble I got into but thankfully got out of- suspense is not a strong suit here) I’m not sure if they’ll think it’s worth all the fuss I’ve made over it, or if it’s worth anything. Maybe it’s just a big flop.

Maybe everything new I try to do is a big flop. Maybe I should just stick with what’s comfortable and well-known, something everyone else has done.

But that’s not original, novel, or creative. And that’s not an innovating way to help put smiles on people’s faces, which happens to be my preferred line of work. And that’s just plain boring!

Yes, innovation is a risk. Doing anything new that nobody’s done before is an exciting, semi scary risk. Can it get you some weird looks? Yup. Will people understand you? Nope. Is it possible you could accidentally make yourself explode? Definitely.

Is it worth it?

I’m inclined to think so.

Hey, if Edison didn’t perfect the light bulb, we’d all be sitting in the dark. Ford didn’t work on the automotive line-thingy, cars would be crazy expensive.

We’re not doing anything even equal to the light bulb or the line, but maybe, just maybe, sparking inspiration in your head.

You know, like a domino line of ideas. Maybe our attempts at audio drama can give you that boost to do something you never thought you could. Maybe you can inspire someone else to reach for the stars.

And with enough people, maybe someone can smile tonight. Tomorrow. The next week.

Ya never know unless you try.

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Christmas Chances releases on the 24th, my friends. In the meantime, check out Rose’s and Cat’s posts, and be on the look out for more posts to come!

And of course, Christmas Chances itself. 😛

Seeya!

 

Right Where You Are

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Ever heard of the movie Moana? Sea princess movie, follows her heart, sails the ocean, saves her people, doesn’t fall in love with a guy, has a telekinetic thing with water? I don’t agree with much of what Moana does, but I do sympathize with her on one thing.

I want to see more than the horizon I’m looking at. I want to sail that sea.

For the longest time, I have wished (and still wish) that I was anything other than who I am right now. It seemed that I was born into the most opportunity lacking situation possible.

I’m Canadian, and everything I wanted to join was on the other side of the border. The Get In The Show contest AIO had? Nada. Bible Bee? I’m immediately eliminated. That Christian atmosphere? Not here. Let’s not forget I’m Filipino- Canadian. Which makes it a little hard when people expect you to have an accent and be fluent in Tagalog because you have slightly chinky eyes. Slightly. I don’t even notice it.

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Now we get chestnuts.. I won’t shriek, I won’t shriek, I won’t shriek..

I’m homeschooled. Which means I learn at home and wherever. But for some reason, I’m not in a co-op. I don’t get any extra curriculars other than what I make for myself. There’s no sports, no summer camps, no cool things I learn if I don’t learn it myself. Sometimes it’s hard to constantly be the one to push yourself, and alone.

Unlike the cool stereotype, I don’t live in the country, in some awesome rural area with tiny dirt roads and deer and that small town farm life thing. No. I live somewhat in the city and somewhat not. Where people get hurt or worse almost every day, you need a permit to breathe, you have to watch your back walking down the street, and it’s.. just…eh. No place is completely safe, but where I am ranks a lil low down the list.

And…. I’m a pastor’s kid. People scrutinize you like a Marvel trailer. They dissect everything you do, and if you seem to mess up, bam, you’re outta the frying pan and into the fire. You’re supposed to be the example, and well, I’m not. Heh.

I didn’t like it. I wanted anything other than this. I wanted to have the choice to take awesome cool stuff, to have other homeschoolers to study with, to not be considered weird for liking a Bible passage other than John 3:16, to live in a place where people know you by name.

I kinda wanted to follow my heart. Heh.

But God’s changing my heart.

And I guess I realized something: God did not make a mistake when He put me where I am, who I am, and what I love to do.

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I knew that, duh. But it kinda came real last night, when I was practicing The Huron Carol (thanks Meredith for the suggestion!) I wanted to search up the history behind the carol, and I was surprised. I knew it was Canadian, yeah, but I didn’t know how it was sung in the Wendat (I think I spelled it right?) language, or that the French wrote it first, or that it’s Canada’s oldest carol. Or that Canada had a carol.

Was it possible I was too busy not liking how my country is that I didn’t see the beauties of it?

It kinda made me think.

There’s a reason why I’m here.

I don’t know what God wants for me. Yet. But I do know He has a plan for me. I know that He’s growing me to be the person He wants me to be. He’s picked the right greenhouse. I don’t know why I am at this specific latitude and longitude and I don’t know why I have to do a lot of things alone. I don’t know why I stick out like a sore thumb, or just don’t really fit in.  But God does.

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I don’t even know how I jumped from a carol to this whole life thing. XD

But while I’m here.. I know there’s more I haven’t realized. And I’m learning that there’s so many blessings in this situation I haven’t realized because I’ve been too busy looking for blessings elsewhere. That what I considered disadvantages are advantages in their own way. I’m never gonna stop dreaming for y’know, more. But I’m not gonna sulk cause I don’t have it yet.

So that part, “you can find happiness right where you are?”

I’ve found better.

I’m finding joy.

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Um, quick quick announcement.

What you are about to hear is WAY different from what I used to put up.

Honestly, after making this, I’m kinda ashamed I even made the others. XD I like to think it’s better, but by all means draw your own conclusions.

Thanks a million squared to my brother Joseph for helping me make this! I know I’ve said you were driving me crazy and that the sentiment is mutual, but seriously, you’re awesome! Thank you, thank you, thank you! This whole thing would never have happened without you, and thank you so much! (Y’all, if you like hard rocky stuff, you can find his works at eaglewingsandguitarstrings and I am sorry this sounds like an ad. :P)

But. Ahem. Here ya go. 🙂

Happy Friday people.

So Far…

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School’s been very mean to me. It drones on and on and on anon and then suddenly, “please prepare for a test on section 4A.” Woah, where did that one come from?

To be honest, I’ve paid way more attention to news on A4– Avengers 4, that is… and…

The.

Trailer.

Is.

Out.

Today.

People.

*mind explodes* I’ve been watching it for at least the sixth time today and I have too many theories that will probably kill me.

I’ve also been waiting for anything on Album 66: Trial By Fire and my head hurts with all the possibilities of 1. Skint kidnapping Buck, 2. Buck being adopted, 3. a literal fire. Also, we do need to ask the question WHEN WILL JILLIAN DIE?

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Life’s been hard. There’s been so much tension and tiredness and homework and questions and times when I need. to. get. out and anxiety about the future and frustration and perpetually gritted teeth and always having to push yourself harder and harder even when nobody could care less or has to and screaming and fighting and praying and dying and I just need some peace today and tomorrow and for every second Sunday in May and it’s so hard to believe God is good even when He is and we’re out of bread and I gotta finish and I can’t remember the dratted reference and I’m okay with giving up right now.

Don’t we all? Something tells me I’m not the only one who’s had one or all of the above and much worse. And then I gotta re-learn how to trust again. I gotta re-learn that God is good and He is love and He won’t leave when the guns growl, which is handy because right now I’m afraid I’m short of ammo. So if you want to swap prayer requests, let me know.

And nobody wants to admit that. Nobody wants to admit they’re a quitter. Everyone wants to be the tough hero who gets the job done no matter what the cost. I really want that. I want to prove ’em wrong and wrong and so wrong… even when they’re right.

I guess I’m learning that burden was never mine to carry. That it was God’s all along.

Maybe some things shouldn’t be posted. I know I hate that long post that just lines on about how hard and sad life is, yet here I am writing one just like that. Why am I doing this?

If reading this can help someone, anyone, then it’s worth writing this drek down.

So yeah, that’s where I’m at.

I’m staying up ridiculously late to reads books and waking up ridiculously early to write them. I’m skating backward and falling forward and laughing. And mailing a letter or two.

Oh, and I got up at the crack of dawn for a lousy rendition of We Three Kings, so if you’re interested in notsogood and notsobad music, here you go.

Been wandering around taking random pictures, snapped this lovely one (ha!) and I guess I’ll leave it here.

It’s not Instagram worthy.

It’s not Pinterest worthy.

Good grief that mirror isn’t even the cleanest!

Well, it’s life. The less people feel pressured to display a perfect life on the screen and actually live, the better. The far, far better. And I know I’ve been tempted to do that. To show this aesthetic rose tinted life that’s full of roses and daisies and is just so Chikfila sweet tea wonderful. But it’s not.

That doesn’t mean my life isn’t wonderful. Or that God isn’t working in it. Because He is. More glory to Him, and less to me. I’m 110% okay with that.

Until next time.

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What You Really Should Know About The Spectrum Because I’m Getting Tired Of The People Who Think They Do And Clearly Don’t

I don’t want to open a can of worms.

Okay, you know what? I do. I want to open this can of worms because it’s been too long. This stigma with special needs kids, with “disabilities” needs to end. I know nobody reads this but at least it’s out there. Waiting for maybe someone to see it.

Don’t worry, I actually kinda know what I’m talking about this time. My brothers are autistic/ dyslexic/ have Asperger’s.  And guess what? That doesn’t make them any lesser than anyone else. Okay, so here goes….

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Know that there are different kinds of autism, based on a spectrum. 

See, this is the thing people don’t understand. They might come across a really jumpy kid who won’t register a thing they say, and they’re like, “ohh, that’s autism? That makes sense,” but if they see another kid who’s pretty normal, except for some minor differences, they won’t believe it.

Welcome to the spectrum. It’s like wearing glasses. For some they need it because their eyesight is bad, others for reading, and others because one eye looks like an egg. Or something.

See, there are varying kinds of autism and that’s not an indicator of how disabled you are. It’s an indicator of how your mind works. Some kids zone out completely, they don’t hear anything or anyone and live in their own world. Other kids are sociable, but everything they say seems pre-recorded, and they repeat stuff a lot. Still other kids are normal- but then just a smidge different. Some have treatment, and others don’t. So don’t go thinking all autistic kids are in the same boat- because the differences can be drastic.

Know that autism is NOT a disability. 

People always avoid my brother because when they talk to him, he speaks in soft, quiet monosyllables and because they don’t understand. But if you know Jacob, you’d know he carries a lot of work wherever he is, he’s the friendliest soul around, he’s a major Cars nerd, and he loves Ferdinand. You’d also know he doesn’t like people yelling, too loud sounds, or questions pointed directly at him, like, “What’s wrong?” It’s not that he doesn’t know the answer, it’s that he can’t communicate with whoever’s asking because he communicates in different ways.

Jeff, a kid I babysit often, has a different form of autism. He always has this thing with lights. Turn ’em on, turn ’em off, give someone epilepsy with toggling the switch; he’s fascinated by lights. Now if you ask him what’s wrong, he can’t tell you because you’re just in the background to him.

Are these kids “disabled” or “mentally challenged” because of this? No! I mean, if you were to apply that reasoning for autistic kids like that on me, I should be having ADHD or dyslexia or something. Lemme ask you. Are people who wear glasses disabled because they can’t see properly without them?

You know as well as I do the answer is a flat no.

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Stop, stop, stop, stop, for the love of everything sane in this world, stop treating older kids- and anyone with autism- like they’re not capable of thinking and understanding.

Lots of people have tried to figure out Jacob every way possible except the understand-the-way- they- think-and-communicate-on-that-level method. Maybe it’s too much work for them, or maybe they don’t think they should bother. How about not bothering at all? In the past week, I’ve seen my brother threatened with bodily harm to stop crying, demanded to know what’s wrong, told big boys don’t _____ or _____, had people say out loud that they hope he grows up and make sense in front of him like he won’t be hurt because he won’t understand. I know about a quarter of you mean well. But often those people do the most harm.

Fortunately for Jacob, he forgets people’s cruel blunders better than I do.

The truth is..he can 100% understand you if he wanted to. Unless you’re shouting or he doesn’t like the topic. Then he’ll go off to another thing to do, because you aren’t interesting. Which frankly, is my common response too.

Not all kids can though. Some kids need to go to a school (my brother does but we can’t afford it) and need treatment. That doesn’t mean you have any right to treat or think of them like vegetables.

So if you’re in a situation where anyone, autistic or not, is a. crying b. panicking c. not responding to you, how about NOT saying, “big boys don’t cry/panic/ not respond”. Thank you. Of course, unless you run into me. Then there’s a difference.

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I don’t want to make Jacob the poster child for anything. Because he isn’t perfect and can get on my nerves like everyone else in the planet. I want him to have a normal happy life with people who understand.

But things aren’t looking fair for people like my brother. If you can’t think a certain way, then you can’t pass the SAT or ACT tests, go to college, graduate, get a job like everyone else thinks you should. *glowers at laws and cultures*

Maybe if more people actually knew about autism, they’d think differently.

 

 

 

Being Down and Getting Up

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Did I just make two references? Yes. Oh well. 

Ever get those days when you’re just down, you’re tired of everything and algebra has never made less sense than it does right now? Everything hurts, your head is ringing and plus you don’t have enthusiasm to do….anything?

Yeah, you get where I’m going. I wasn’t very eager to do much today. (Blame the fever!! :P) Which is kinda annoying, because I have too much homework to afford being sick, and sad, because I don’t like being weak. I don’t like being that person curled up on the sofa not having the strength to move anything. I like pushing myself to doing hard things and crushing them. 

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But you can’t push yourself forever. And that can be very discouraging as you waddle up in a blanket of tiredness and prop yourself up on a pillow of discouragement.

 (Huh. That last line sounds very poetic. I’ma have to save that for a sappy essay in Literature soon.)

You also can’t let your tiredness bring you down either. And that can drive a person crazy. Unless they’re already crazy. So finding that balance between driving it hard and just giving up is tricky.

No, I’m not helping you find that balance. I don’t even know where I can find it. But I can give you little things to keep going. Little bursts to crack a smile on your face, tiny reminders that yes, the sun will shine again. 

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First, go and eat something. An extra burst of protein or sugar (never mind, just sugar) can boost you up. It’s like that ad, you’re not you when you’re hungry. XD

Second, take a look out the window. Maybe it’s snowing like it is right now, or maybe there’s raindrops hitting the glass. Maybe the sun’s coming up. Even better, get out and enjoy it for a while. A breath of fresh air can really help. 

Listen to things that make you happy. I dunno about you, but some songs that come up on shuffle just make me wanna dance, and sometimes, that’s not a bad thing. 😉 Play your favorite song on guitar, fiddle up something, create a beautiful sound. 

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Look at that big nasty list of things that need to be done. When all’s said and done, it’s just a list. It doesn’t define you. Yes, you have a test tomorrow, so do I, and yes, it would be more productive to finish a chore than read that book, but if you’ve been seeing nothing but work and it’s getting to you, don’t be afraid to switch things up a little. Tell you what. You reward yourself after finishing a bunch of tasks, I’ll do the same, and we’ll see how far we can go without dying. 

Go bake a pie, jog a mile, write something, listen to an episode *screams Adventures In Odyssey*, call a friend, read a book, take your day back. Being down is, well, a downer, 😛 but if you can get up again, go for it!

A good friend of mine (who, if you’re reading this, which you aren’t, know that you were thought of!) once said something that may or may not help. He asked me if I’m waking up every day for myself or for something- somebody other than myself.

Ouch.

And, like my good friend, I won’t say anything further. Unlike my good friend, I don’t have anything better to add.

 You got this. You can get back up.

Lest We Forget

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And here you see me trying to talk about something that I am certain to mess up. Here goes.

War. It’s something we fear, we prepare for, and hope never comes. Maybe that’s why we celebrate Victory Days and Veterans’ Day with solemnness, maybe why there’s a field full of crosses and stars people visit every year.

Y’know, with WW2, especially, came something that was so evil and wrong, it became a reason to fight. The Holocaust.

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Way back in summer, when my sister took my brother and I to the Royal Ontario Museum, we entered an exhibit that still makes me shut up thinking about it. The Evidence Room. Because apparently someone tried to disprove the Holocaust. Someone tried to wipe away the blood and stains and say it was false, it was fake news, it was made up.

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There’s a whole exhibit proving otherwise. A whole room full of evidence to the contrary, that there was a reason the war desperately needed to be won.

The whole room was white. The ceiling, the walls, the plastered photographs and blueprints. Blueprints for concentration camps, factories of death. Auschwitz was only one of many camps meant to kill of Jews and everyone Nazis deemed unworthy. Even though that was textbook in my mind, even though I had read autobiographies and heard all about it, I had to see it to make it sink in.

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I felt the trains and little houses before I realized they were 3D plans for the bunkhouses and gas chambers.

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There was a model of a door, one side completely sealed off with a tiny glass window to peek out of, the other side with the lock. The sign said it was the door of an old gas chamber, a guard would be waiting on the outside til it was done.

Imagine being on the other side of the door. Trying to beat on the window. Being one of many. Turning into a statistic.

There were places to stay, places to work, places to step into and never come back. There was never a place you could be free.

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They said the reasons for the concentration camps was to make Germany superior. Anyone who didn’t fit that was shipped off.

11 million. 11 million people were killed. 11 million to make one nation superior.

There were moms, dads, brothers, sisters, kids.  Gone. Millions more gone were the soldiers fighting to make sure their country would never have to go through that. Maybe when we read 11 million lives, we don’t get that they were people. We don’t get that they had ordinary lives, jobs, maybe someone was on the brink of inventing something new, maybe someone just found out they were gonna have a family, maybe, just maybe they lived.

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I don’t even know if I’m doing this justice. I don’t know if I even understand how well planned they made this mass murder. But maybe it’s important that I -that we do. Cause knowledge not shared remains unknown. And if this knowledge remains unknown, we’re in trouble.

This is why the war was fought. This is why so many people gave their lives to fight. Because everybody has the right to live, no matter who they are. Nobody should be able to take millions of lives simply because they’re not his ideal.

We don’t trade lives.

Today, we celebrate the defeat of those who did.

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