Something Old…

This Sunday afternoon, we bring to you..

**INSURMOUNTABLE**

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The longest (and best, in my humble and unasked for opinion) and newest audio drama, courtesy of the Audiosmiths. 🙂 Rebekah put on the director hat and got all of us crazy people and a brother for good measure, and the rest of us tried to brush up on our New York accents. XD

Working on Insurmountable, the story of George Eastman, was fun. But more than that, it was rather deep, in a way I didn’t expect it to. But enough of my rambling. Enjoy the show. Oh, and it’s almost as long as an AIO episode. O_O I highly suggest a snack while you’re at it.

 

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March Is Tomorrow *panics, flails, and ultimately dies*

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Okay, I swear, I only looked at Pinterest for all of two hours!

Per week.

heh.

Where has the time gone? I have zero clue. Swoosh, bye, gone it went and February 2019 has gone to the ages.

It’s been a good month, it really has.

School has successfully managed to kill me, so there’s that. At least I get to do something fun and write a character profile. >:) Also finished Ben Hur- never, ever, ever hang out with your little sister on a precariously built balcony watching a fancy guy with a houseplant on his head go by. *nods seriously*

We had 3 snow days. It was wonderful.

I got a bunch of books to read and only knocked out like a quarter (which reminds me I should probably get to beta-ing this book *rushes*)

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The Lens & The Hard Drive turned one, along with a bunch of other blogs. O_O AH. How have I been doing this for a full year? I have no clue.

A bunch of writing happened, and secret projects and tons of laughing over Google Docs and videochats and just laughing.

I FIGURED OUT HOW INSTALL DESIGNER FONTS ONTO MY LAPTOP AHHHH

Also robbed the freebie section of every font/graphics website I could find, because I’m in the designing bloggies and whatnot mood. Speaking of, if you check out Tess at Silver Sky Dolls, you can see for yourself 😉 Also, please, please lemme know if you want something designed. It’s fun and I may as well put my addiction to Canva to good use, right? 😀

Audiosmiths released a drama- and we’re working on one of the hardest and deepest ones we’ve done yet. Can’t wait to see how that goes. 🙂

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I’ve learned a ton about writing, and the inspiration is slowly coming back. Slowly. We’re only a couple weeks to NaNoWriMo everyone! *squeaks* Can’t wait for this craziness to come at me full force. It’s funny, my first NaNo, I didn’t think anything could be more stressful. Ha I was wrong. XD

Learned a few new songs on all 3 instruments I’m slightly adept at because my mom volunteered me and some other poor unfortunates to play background music at a church dinner. *sighs* Not to mention I’m shooting that too. Actually kinda looking forward to the shooting part- I miss holding a camera. 😛 However, learning the new songs means I get to be distracted with YouTube and wake up ridiculously early for practice. It is not easy to sing alto at 9 am, just sayin’. Also choked back something close to a tear watching clips from Little Women 2018 and Gifted. Onions were chopped a lot this month.

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Got to cheer a friend on because they got accepted to Nationals, to sit by someone who was kinda feeling down, to be goofy and make a rather stressed sibling grin, to laugh evilly with a cousin over our work in progress at 12 am to boot, to enjoy the little blessings of life, to enjoy each day that comes. There’s been a few horrible days, yes. There’s been days I wish I could redo all over again because right now I just wanna crumple them up and toss into a dumpster- but every day has blessings of its own.

And I guess I’m finding them the more I take time to recognize they’re there. 🙂

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Oh, and Ducky kindly agreed to model for me because he’s an adorable sassy stuffie. He is shown above portraying the typical reaction to chemistry homework.

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Here is he, contemplating the reasons for existence as he leans demurely on the railing. That’s one thing I didn’t expect to appreciate: stuffies, and stuffie bloggers. Was not seeing that coming, but it came anyway. I think I’m the better for it.

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I guess he wasn’t that impressed with the whole ordeal. XD

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So I picked him up and got him to fly around!

Ducky: YOU ALMOST MADE ME DIE JO THAT’S WHAT YOU DID THAT WAS SO HIGH UP I COULD DIED OR FALLEN I AM A SENSITIVE PIECE OF STUFFY I SHOULD BE HANDLED WITH CARE, JO, WITH CAREEE DO THAT AGAIN AND I WILL KARATE CHOP YOU

Yeesh, picky old duck.

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*passively-aggressively shows fight stance*

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And this is what happened when he tried attacking me.

Ducky: Medic!

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However, he recovered in time to venture forth into the dark darkness, which definitely had light the little liar.

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Got stuck halfway though.

Ducky: NOT. NICE. JO.

What, I’m just saying!

Anyway.

Favorite from this month.. Hm…

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Favorite Book

I really want to say this Black Widow comic that I’ve been reading, but that’s not my most most favorite, surprisingly.

DSC_0124It would probably be As Brave As You, which is this great story about two boys and their summer with their grandparents. Either it’s really long, or I’m really slow, but I haven’t finished it yet. 😛 I really loved Genie and Ernie’s sibling duo, and the theme. Ah. it’s great.

 

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Favorite Song

This one is almost pretty obvious.

 

I’m Not Here has been on repeat for the longest of times, partly because it’s so good and partly because it reminds me of a charrie down to the intricates of it, so yes, that’s my favorite. It’s also up there with True North by Rend Collective, Learning to Fly (How To Train Your Dragon 3 came out. I’m not okay. My childhood has ended. Ah. Help.) And Two, by Sleeping At Last. But ahhhh this song gets me. All the time. I dunno why. *sobs*

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Favorite Quote

And maybe one day I'll get around to fixing myself too

I think it speaks for itself. It really does.

So that’s been February for me in a nutshell. How ’bout you? Ready for March, or you wanna march in the other direction? Which, if you do, I’d join you, because I pretty much feel like this 110% of the time:

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Yeah, Ducky didn’t really like that.

*muffles his nonliving beak*

Have a good Thursday. And a great new month. 🙂

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

 

New from the Audiosmiths!

First and only order of business:

After hours and hours of excruciating (read: 12 hours of splicing) work, there’s a new audio drama out on the channel, and we’d be seriously eternally grateful if you could give that a listen! And a like, but that’s not really necessary. XD Watch it here:

 

 

I tried to fix the editing, but like everything, this kinda thing gets better only with time and experience. So. Hope you like it! Also I put up a page where you can listen to previously released shows, so hopefully y’all are reading this on the actual blog and not on the dreadful reader. XD

And here’s the script if you’re interested. Actually please read it with the script. 😛 It’ll be much better.

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Script:

 

SFX: Chimes sound, the sea calls.

 

Narrator (in memory): He always walked with hat in hand, his gray hair was smoothly combed to his skull and drawn together behind in a queue- this must have been one of the last queues in Prague.

 

SFX: footsteps, dull rain.

 

Mr. Rybar (musing, happily): Zhaw, the sea! Why don’t we live by the sea!

 

Stranger (sighs) : This is a lovely chapel. And these stones!

 

Mr. Rybar (continues to muse): You know what I think? Here in Bohemia a shepherd throws a stone after his herd, and the stone is often worth more than the whole herd!

 

Stranger (taken aback): I beg your pardon?

 

Narrator (voiceover, laughing slightly): He never made any other observations to them. (serious, deep in thought) He would know about such stones. It was rumoured that Mr. Rybar was immensely rich, not in money, no, but in jewels. There were people who had seen them, square black boxes divided into squares. Every square held a jewel, gleaming. They said he had found and collected them all himself on Mount Kozak.

 

SFX: footsteps walking, people murmuring, street sounds.

 

Canon Fat Man 1 (loudly) : Indeed, France is pursuing liberty- fancy ever getting it!

 

Canon Smaller But Equally Fat Man 2: Is that even possible?

 

SFX: a person whistling, rustling.

 

Narrator (explanatory): Mr. Rybar would whistle whenever he spoke, and he loved to exchange friendly words with anyone.

 

Mr. Rybar (whistling, then clears throat): Zhaw, I hold with Rosenau!  Rosenau says:(tries to remember) Ah, Rosenau says, Liberty is like those rich foods and..potent wines, yes,I remember, wines on which strong natures that are used to them thrive and grow stronger, but which only debauch, intoxicate, and ruin, utter ruin! Feeble constitutions. Good day! (walks off)

 

SFX: footsteps, street noise

Canon Fat Man 1 (startled and confused):Uh, who’s this “Rosenau” he’s always talking about?

 

Canon Smaller But Equally Fat Man 2 (struggles to come up with something): a writer! Most probably a writer. I think.

 

Narrator (voiceover): (musing) I remember that sentence as the sum of entire higher wisdom! Yet later found that it was Rousseau, not Rosenau who had first uttered that esteemed quote. A pity that a slight printer’s error had mis led Mr. Rybar so. But he was good. A very good man!

 

SFX: street noise, louder, heavy footsteps.

 

Stranger (exclaims in surprise): Mr. Rybar’s marching down the hill!

 

SFX: slight crowd gasps

 

Mr. Herzl: Ah, he’s gone to show off his riches! Look, he holds a box full of his jewels!

 

Mr Vitous (laughs bitterly): Well, I declare! Things must be going bad for him, he’s going to sell his precious stones.

 

Mr. Herzl (accusingly): So says the only nearly bankrupt shopkeeper of Prague.

 

Mr. Vitous: Hpmh.

 

SFX: a bell rings, foot steps walk, and a door creaks.

 

Narrator 2: Mr. Rybar is at the professor Muhlwenzel,expert in geology.

 

Professor Muhlwenzel(laughs): Mr. Rybar! How good of you to come. Sit, sit! What can I do for you?

 

SFX: a box being placed on the table, someone sitting

 

Mr. Rybar (stammers): I should- I only- these things, about what would their value be? The jewels?

 

SFX: a rock being picked up.

 

Professor Muhlwenzel: Hm. (picks one up) This one is moldavite.

 

Mr. Rybar: (confused) What?

 

Professor Muhlwenzel: (as if it’s obvious) Moldavite.

 

Mr. Rybar:(pretends to know what it is) Zhaw, moldavite.

 

Professor Muhlwenzel: That would be a good item for our school collection, you know. They’re rather scarce now. You could sell it to us.

 

Mr. Rybar: (short laugh) Well, we’ll see about that. About how much?

 

Professor Muhlwenzel: (matter of factly) We could give you three zlatkas for it, in twenties.

 

At this, Mr. Rybar is shocked, and dismayed, throat tight.

 

Mr. Rybar: (shocked) Three zlatkas! (breath shaky) And the rest?

 

SFX: rocks being moved around.

 

Professor Muhlwenzel: Eh, chalcedony, jasper, amethyst, smoke-quartz.. There’s nothing of value here.

 

Mr. Rybar: (gasping) Zhaw, nothing of value..

 

Narrator: (sadly) he did not go out of the house again. Or to Bruska, or the ramparts. (regretfully) And it was such a beautiful day!

 

SFX: sea calling, winds chiming, door creaking.

 

Mr. Rybar: (to himself, bitterly) The sea- why have we no sea! (picks up box of rocks) (louder) Pebbles- just pebbles! (flings rocks through window)

 

SFX: rock being thrown, glass breaking, footsteps walking in)

 

Mr. Sajvl: (suddenly, amidst the stones being thrown) Uncle! Whatever are you doing?

 

SFX: a man sighing, door creaking

 

Mr. Sajvl: (gently) Uncle, surely you don’t want to throw out all those beautiful stones?

 

Mr. Rybar: (softly, sadly) They’re of no value- mere pebbles!

 

Mr. Sajvl: But they have a value all the same, for us and for you. You collected them all yourself, at the expense of a great deal of effort- Uncle, please leave them for my children. They’ll learn from them, you can explain all about them, and how you gathered them-

 

Mr. Rybar: (bitterly) But perhaps you were thinking that I was rich- and indeed, I thought-

 

Mr. Sajvl: (pleadingly) Uncle,do you think we’re not rich in you? My children would have no grandfather, my wife- fatherless! Surely you see how happy we are with you, you are our blessing around the house-

 

SFX: sudden footsteps, window being opened, air swooping through.

 

Mr. Rybar:(in tears) The sea! Why have we no sea?

 

Narrator: I won’t tell anymore. I can’t.

 

SFX: Chimes sound, then the sea calls.

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Hope you enjoyed! 😀

 

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. 

There And Back Again: A Short Update, Newsy Post, if you’re interested in that sort of stuff

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It is Wednesday my dudes.

Sorry, I just had to. XD

Well hello from somewhere in Ontario, people! I’m currently typing this out at a hotel room, where we’re crashing after seeing Montreal.

Let’s start this again because that intro was awful.

Most Christmases usually have my family go from house to house to suffer small talk, itchy sweaters, and nothing to do. It’s not all that bad, there’s free food and there’s internet. So it’s bearable. Boring. But bearable.

This Christmas, though, was a little different in a very good way.  We decided we’d be by ourselves for the day and go somewhere new.

Which is neat, cause I’ve never been to another province. 😀

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There’s something special about a road trip, no matter where you’re going, and this trip was no exception. Even if we were late by like 5 hours and I lost my 4th sock and we couldn’t get the water to stop leaking. We managed to actually make it to the car. A small miracle!

Also, as it turns out, 6 hours in a car with no internet almost guarantees conversation. Who knew? Oh and laughter- it almost guarantees laughter. Which is nice. Laughter’s a nice gift.

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I got my family to listen to the Ties That Bind, pt. 2 and I’ve never been more proud of myself. Listening to AIO on a road trip is pretty nice. Except when my mom asks if Eugene and Katrina adopted Buck yet. Because I don’t have an answer to that. *sniff*

I got to play Christmas Chanced for my parents, and thankfully, they actually liked it. They laughed at the funny parts and got silent at the sad ones, and at the end they asked if that was it. So that’s pretty great. It’s interesting how an audio play got us talking about stories and imagination and creative writing- and hot chocolate. Randomness strikes again.

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On the way to the very cold city known as Montreal, I got to write a little. Well a lot, if you consider one k a lot. I’ll just say it was hard to keep from squealing when everyone was looking out the window. It’s not my fault there was a lot of angst and death and sadness and mean characters, kay?

And then Montreal itself was a new thing to not squeal over.

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It’s cold. That’s the very firstest thing I thought as soon as I stepped out the door. It’s a very cold city and suddenly I was grateful for turtlenecks and scarves and everything wool.  But where I was mildly bothered, my poor frozen family opted to stay inside the car while I walked around taking pictures. *sighs* So supportive. Also, manual is a hard mode to master at night. Really hard. So there’s only one example of my poor night photography.

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But it’s beautiful.

The lights up in the streets have a twinkle to them, all strung up. You have to step into the biting wind to properly enjoy it. Without the lights, Montreal has the fartooquietforitsowngood athmosphere that, in book genres, would be called a thriller. It’s quiet. Really quiet. And the streets are small. And the stairs are terrifying.  I dunno if you’ve ever seen the silly song with Larry, where Larry and a bunch of veggies have to carry a piano up a loong row of stairs, but if you did, that’s what the stairs in Montreal are like. You have to climb up whoknowshowmanystairs to reach the door, and then you have to climb even more stairs to reach your room. And if you live on the second floor, more stairs. I feel bad for all those feet. 😛

My feet hurt just walking along the Old Port something or other.

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Also, everything’s in French.

And by everything, I mean every single little word  from the signs to the WARNING DO NOT REMOVE tags to the menus at Tim Hortons. I know wish I paid more attention in French class. Unfortunately, I said that out loud in my mom’s hearing range. Ah well.

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Now, I’m not sure if you’re supposed to notice the alleys first, or the projects with the very dangerous stairs, or the smoke in the cold, but I did. And I guess no place is as pure as brochures let it be. Every city has its dark parts.

All that said, it’s fascinating. And cold. Very cold. XD

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Anyhoo, at last check we’re in another random part of the world, it is 9 pm, and I am off to finish off some ice cream, and I shall end this verbose rant-y post with this:

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Snowflakes are more intricate than I gave em credit for.

 

A Wittle Conversation With Ivy From Beyond Her Calling!

Hi!

In case you’re wondering, this is NOT Jo, which you could probably tell straight away, couldn’t you? Jo’s busy with the top secret project that she’s really giddy about.. anyway, she called me, Gale Darn, back here for a very important reason: Kellyn Roth has a new book out! 😀 And because TL&HD loves books, we signed up! 😊

Beyond Her Calling Blurb:

At twenty, Ivy Knight feels as if she hasn’t accomplished anything of worth. Her life stretches on before her, empty and pointless. Though her faith in God and her mental abilities have been strengthened, she still doubts herself. Does God have a purpose for a socially awkward, often confused and frightened young woman?

Jordy McAllen has just returned to Scotland after his education in London. Though he has accomplished a lot for a farm lad such as himself, he fears that what everyone has always said about him may be true: he won’t really make a good doctor. Determined to prove himself, Jordy snatches up the opportunity to become the doctor in the village of Keefmore near his parents’ farm.

Helping Jordy with his work at Keefmore seems like the perfect opportunity for Ivy. Still, she doubts herself. Is there a purpose to Ivy’s life?

 
Ooh, this sounds really fascinating! And to make it even better, here’s the author’s bio!

Author Bio

Kellyn Roth lives on an Eastern Oregon ranch with her parents, little brothers, border collies, cats, and a few dozen cows and chickens. Always a lover of a good story, and especially of telling one, she’s been writing since she was seven and published her first novel at fourteen. Now a homeschool grad, she divides her time between penning her next Christian historical novel, creating professionally silly articles at kellynroth.blog, and her actual life. Actual life plays second fiddle sometimes, though.

Find out more on her website: https://kellynrothauthor.com/

Ahh, this just makes me wanna read more! Well, anyway, as the title shows, I got to meet up with the Ivy Knight and talk to her a little with my sister MJ!
I’m in bold,
MJ’s in bold italics,
And Ivy’s in normal.
*************
-Hi there! First off, how are you doing this lovely day?
Oh, absolutely lovely! I’m so glad to be here!
-Okay, great! We are, too! 😀
So, what’s life like in Scotland? Would you ever want to live somewhere else for a change?
Well, normally I live in England, so Scotland is a change for me! But I’m glad of it this time, even though I normally like to stay home. So yes, it’s nice living “somewhere else” for a change!
That’s so awesome! Moving out is so.. exhilarating, really. Has anything happened since you began wondering about your life to make you change your thoughts?
Yes! I went to Scotland. It’s been quite an experience! Of course, my sister Alice leaving for her new home (she’s married now) was the thing that made me want something more.
– How does working with Jordy go? Is it exciting, thrilling?
It’s not terribly exciting or thrilling, but it can be scary! I hate the sight of blood, and I hate when people are in pain, and it’s frightening that so many people are sick or hurt.
But I think it goes well! I like it, at least. I don’t know how helpful I am, though. I’m not very experienced.
-What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?
Oh, reading! I love books. They take you away from the world – oftentimes into a much nicer, more pleasant one! I think everyone should read. It’s one of the best things in the world! It teaches you about people, it gives you empathy and understanding, it helps you learn … and it’s fun!
– Exactly, reading books is like going to another world! I can’t wait to read yours. 😀
In the blurb, it mentions you have doubts. When you struggle with doubts about life in general, where do you turn to?
It used to be that I’d mostly turn to my mother or Alice (my twin sister). But of course Mother and Alice won’t always be there for me. But you know who will be there for me? God! So I’ve got to learn to turn to Him.
-*nods*I gotta learn that too. Ooh, anyway, I gotta know something. Aren’t brothers the most annoying things ever thought of???
What? No! I love my brothers.
Well … granted, they can be a little frustrating sometimes … but I still love them!
That was so fun! Thanks Ivy for the chat! Although YOUR brother must be awesome. MY brothers are annoying! 😛
Please ignore my sister Ivy. It was a pleasure to have you!
Hmph. Oh, and don’t forget, there’s a giveaway going on right now!
Plus, the Goodreads and Amazon links are here if you wanna check it out. 
If you wanna follow the tour, the schedule’s right here!

Schedule

Saturday, October 20th

Intro Post // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries

Author Interview // Molly @ A Sparkle of Light

Review // Lisa @ Inkwell

Review & Character Interview (Jordy) // Amie @ Crazy A

Character Interview (Ivy) // Jo @ The Lens and the Hard Drive

Book Spotlight // Annie @ Letters from Annie Douglass Lima

Sunday, October 21st

Theme Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries

Guest Post by Character (Ivy) & Review // Grace M. Morris

Book Spotlight // Erika Messer @ Maiden of the Pages

Author Interview // Angela R. Watts @ The Peculiar Messenger

Monday, October 22nd

Ivy Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries

Character Interview (Ivy) // Loretta Marchize @ Just Writing

Review // Andrea Cox @ Writing to Inspire

Character Interview (Jordy) // Liz @ Home with the Hummingbirds

Author & Character Interview (Violet) // Julia @ Julia’s Creative Corner

Review & Character Spotlight (Ivy) // Caroline Kloster @ Inside the Autistic Life

Tuesday, October 23rd

Jordy Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries

Author Interview // Faith Blum @ Bookish Orchestrations

Review & Guest Post // Cara @ Jessie Bingham

Guest Post // Lindsi @ One Beginner To Another

Character Spotlight (Ena) // Shannon McDermott @ Shannon’s Blog

Wednesday, October 24th

Violet Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries

Guest Post // Germaine Han @ The Writing Mafia

Review // Jana T. @ Reviews from the Stacks

Thursday, October 25th

Real Life Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries

Book Spotlight // Gabriellyn Gidman @ PageTurners

Author Interview // Sara Willoughby @ Th!nk Magazine

Review // Michaela Bush @ Tangled Up In Writing

Guest Post by Character (Violet) // Peggy M. McAloon @ Peggy’s Hope 4U

Friday, October 26th

Future Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries

Review // Abigail McKenna @ Novels, Dragons, and Wardrobe Doors

Review // Gracelyn Buckner @ Literatura

Review // Katherine Brown Books

Review // Bella Putt

Saturday, October 27th

Wrapup Post // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries

Character Interview & Spotlight (Jordy) // Kaylee @ Kaylee’s Kind of Writes

Book Spotlight // Abigail Harder @ Books, Life, and Christ

And be sure to check out the Facebook party every day this week for exciting updates! Have a great day y’all! 😀

-Gale (The Actually Good Child)

 

Artifacts, Animals, And Chickens, Oh My!

*kicks door open with very cool karate move* *winces and hollers in pain*

After much fighting and wrestling, I have managed to get out of my characters’ trap. Zeke and Jake, if you noticed, are brothers in They Called It A Mystery, a mystery novel I’m working on. Zeke, especially, is a bad, bad charrie!! That means character, by the way.

Zeke: I’m not bad! I’m exciting!

Oh, be quiet or I will make sure you fall off a cliff!

Anyway, how am I?

Good question. Here I must launch into what my cousin hates in blogs: just talking about myself. Which I’m not gonna do for the entire post! Just… yeah, let’s go.

I’m tired. There’s so much going on and so much to do and so much to think about and I just would really like to rest.

UPDATE: Just did rest. Sure was great! 

It’s a good tired, I guess. Writer’s block isn’t being very cooperative, so my wordcount hasn’t really gone up. My goal actually went down, to be frank. But it’s ok. Life isn’t measured by the number of words someone writes, right? (hey that rhymed!)

Currently, the summer has gone great. Got to spend time with loved ones, see a few places, and made some really awesome discoveries!

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One of the few places I got to see was the Royal Ontario Museum. Boy, it was fascinating! I’m sure you want to see some more pictures, oui? XD Don’t worry, I won’t go into a crazy photo dump like last time!

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At the entrance was a frosty blast of air conditioning. There also was a huge model of a dinosaur, and the inside hall showed paintings from ancient times.

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 The first exhibit we happened to see was the Chinese exhibit. It was full of old paintings, idols, and old pottery. I couldn’t help but think of Mulan, like the Disney movie. *cues Mushu voice*

Dishonor on you!

Dishonor on your family!

Dishonor on your cow!

In all seriousness though, *clears throat*, back then they were really strict on showing honor. Anything they considered abominable that someone did, boom, big dishonor. I’ve always wondered if kids back then showed more respect then we do today.

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There were a bunch more statues out in the hall, and this old rickshaw. And more idols with weird faces, pottery, and the like.

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This was one of my favorite parts. If you looked up at the ceiling, you can see these words: that all men may know His work.

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The next part was the Native American exhibit. This was so interesting, seeing how people lived back then.  There was some intricate beadwork on clothes, moccasins, and as you can see here, hats! And this was only a small portion of the massive displays they had.

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This next part was…cool and morbid and plain said at the same time. This was the animal exhibit, with-  get this- real animals. Dead, of course. And stuffed.

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Look at that. They positioned the animals in dramatic ways sometimes. This looks like the bigger bird is attacking the littler one, and they’re both dead.

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See this? See this tragic, horrible, fascinating exhibit?? Every animal in them glass case was real!

At least I think it was, I could be exaggerating.

I guess we don’t really get it when we read that sin brought death; we don’t understand the value of life. And this is just animal life. Imagine human lives.

Although they did stuff rats and mice and pigeons, and I am sorry to admit that those little pests deserved it!!

They even put a chicken in there too, poor guy. We coulda eaten her in a Chikfila sandwich. 😛  They also put a turkey, a rooster, and a skeleton of a dodo bird. Fancy that!

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The kids exhibit was really fun! My brother and I wanted to hang out there a little more, but sadly, they didn’t consider us kids. *sobs* The rest of the museum was fascinating, though, so that sorta mad up for it.

Sorta.

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This was the entrance to the Middle Ages/ Britain exhibits. There was some really cool old armor they had back then, and some interesting weaponry. I and my brother spent some time staring at the swords, for design purposes for our stories, of course. It was  great research, though I did get some strange looks for trying to get the guns memorized in my head.

Being a writer sometimes means being eccentric. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious eccentric. It was just for research you understand!!

Ahem. Moving on.

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This was the inside of a Victorian living room. The tea set was fancy. In caps. ‘Nuff said.

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Arguably the most sobering exhibit at the museum was the evidence room, a room devoted to the evidence that the Holocaust, the biggest mass murder in history, really happened.

Like I said earlier, we don’t really think about the value of life, at least until something forces us to think about it.

In my case, it was history that forced me to realize how valuable life is, and how depraved we are without Christ.

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The last exhibits we saw before the museum closed was the Egyptian exhibits. The walls had.. hieroglyphics? drawings? on them. One of the strangest things we saw was an urn for holding ashes. It wasn’t the urn as much as the chicken on the urn lid. What on earth what it doing there???

Ahem.

I actually took a LOT more, but those will have to suffice. Now, I better get back to wordsprinting, but do tell me how you’re doing, won’t you? As always, thanks for reading!