Wednesday, May 31, 2017

8 Reasons Why Summer Isn't My Favorite Season

Why eight reasons? you may ask. I'm afraid I have no suitable answer. Just sit back and discover why I'm not your normal student who can't wait for summer.

True, I enjoy the break from my studies and the camps I'm blessed to attend. However, I'd rather that summer was winter. I'm a girl who loves the rain and cold. That being said, you can guess my first reason:
  1. Summer is hot! So very hot. Here in central California, temperatures in summer can range from in the 90s to 115 degrees! There's nowhere to escape the perpetual blistering heat. Give me freezing temperatures and a jacket instead.
  2. Being so miserably warm, there's not much I can do outside on these days. It's often far too hot to work with the horses or take a walk, and even stepping outside feels like you were hurled into an oven. One of the only outdoor activities of summer is swimming, and many times our small pool is too hot to be refreshing.
  3. In the absence of school work, other things still fill up the schedule, allowing for few days of pure relaxing to sit and read a good novel or write.
  4. Summer means that I'm far away from winter! I'm happier the closer I am to December with Christmas and my birthday. :)
  5. The days are far too long. This means that while it enables me to get more done, it's also many more hours of scorching temperatures to endure.
  6. Even though I don't have school, I usually still have to wake up early in order to tend to outdoor chores that should be done before it gets too hot. This includes watering the plants, working with the horses, and attempting to get a breath of cool air before the merciless sun rises too high in the sky.
  7. No matter how hard my family works to keep the house cool, my upstairs bedroom lacks a fan, and it gets rather uncomfortable in the afternoon.
  8. Living so far away from my friends, I still don't get to see them much more than I do during the school year, except when we go to camp together.
Now you can understand why I'm not a fan of summertime. ;) It's simply too hot to be enjoyable. Still, I can't deny the benefits of not having school, or sitting in the cool morning hours sipping a hot drink with my parents. As with every season, there are both positive and negative sides. I just tend to find more negatives than positives in summer.

Care to share your favorite and least favorite seasons with me in the comments? Does it get hot where you live? Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tag Time

Recently two bloggers have tagged me for different tags. I hadn't done any tags in awhile and felt like doing a lighter post today, so I decided that I'd combine the two tags and answer the questions so you can learn more about me.

First things first, thank you to Micaiah from Notebooks and Novels, and Kaitlyn K. from Twin Thoughts for tagging me!

Here are my answers to Micaiah's questions:
What is your favorite type of post to write?
I like writing my monthly highlights, because it gives me a chance to review my own month. :) I also love doing posts related to writing or reading. In addition, I find that writing my God-related posts make the topics more real to me.

When did you start writing?
A long time ago! I can remember writing in my early elementary years, but nothing very significant until about two years ago.

What is one piece of advice you'd like to give to new bloggers?
Post about things you enjoy, and don't worry about necessarily pleasing your audience. (I'm talking as much to myself as to new bloggers here.) Also, when it comes to blog design, keep it simple. If it looks too busy, you'll scare people off. The last thing would be to have an easy way for people to subscribe to your blog if you want them to continue reading.

Do you prefer Microsoft Word or Google Docs?
Google Docs, because the set-up is simple and it's easy to correspond with friends. (Plus I haven't really used Word. XD)

What member of the Fellowship of the Ring can you relate to the most?
Good question, but I'd have to say that I don't remember the characters' personalities well enough to say that I necessarily relate to any of them.

How are you pursuing your dreams right now?
I'm living life. I'm writing. I'm growing friendships. I'm following Christ. And right now, that's all a part of my dreams.

What is the hardest part of being a writer?
Writing consistently has always been a struggle. And getting good critique partners. Another difficult aspect is simply keeping on writing and not getting frustrated (too much) with your plot and characters. Now that's hard. 

What is your favorite hot drink?
Coffee! Or mocha? (Yes, I know, my blog title is slightly out-of-date!) 

How do you come up with your story ideas?
Anytime, anywhere! Sometimes through nature, sometimes by reading. Other times I'm inspired by other people's life stories, personalities, and names. I get ideas in the strangest ways . . . .

Which do you prefer, ebooks or paperbacks?
Paperbacks! There's just something about curling up with a good book that you can feel the weight of and turn the pages. It's magical! :)

What is one book that has made you cry?
The Last Ride by Susan K. Marlow. The title says it all. *sobs*

Thanks, Micaiah! Those were fun questions. :) Now, on to Kaitlyn's!

What is your favorite hobby?
Reading and writing, besides just hanging out with my amazing friends. ;)

What does your first name mean?
Bethany in Hebrew literally means "house of song" or "house of poverty/affliction/humility," but I'm named after a special town to Jesus, where Mary, Martha, and Lazarus lived.

What is your favorite family memory?
Now this is extremely difficult. I started a tag back in January 2016 called the "Earliest Memories" tag. One of my favorite memories, however, is camping with my family on our many trips, and the scene that comes to mind at present is standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon with them sipping coffee and hot chocolate.

What's your personality type?
I haven't really taken any of the "personality finder" tests, but I decided with my friends that I'm an ambivert. It's an introvert, until you know someone really well. :) That's me to a "T."

If you had the opportunity to have a 4-course meal, all with foods you choose, what would the meal consist of?
My mouth is now watering. :) I'd choose first and foremost an great German "macaroni and cheese" that my mom and grandma make. Besides that, maybe a good salad, rice pilaf (rice with noodle pieces and yogurt, yum!), and ice cream. Any flavor. ;)

Would you rather have a pet dolphin or a pet bear?
I have always found dolphins fascinating, but I'd choose a bear because it's a bit more practical. Not that either of these are really practical. However, if I could have any animal, I'd pick a dragon—hands down.

What's one random thing about you that few people know?
For a time I've been answering this question with a few of my friends every day, so I'm starting to run out of these facts. I'll say that I've written the backcover copy for two books now. Both are by author Jesseca Wheaton for her books, The Silent Blade and A Question of Honor.

What's your favorite holiday?
Christmas! I love everything about this time of year. (Not to mention that my birthday is around then.)

What quote (from a book, movie, or YouTube video) do you find yourself saying often?
Ask my friends this question. They'd probably say something from The Princess Bride. I actually think I say a lot of quotes, but none come to mind.

If you could live in any other previous time period, which one would you choose?
I think I've answered this one multiple times, and each time there's likely a different answer. I don't think I'd choose to live in another time, but if I had to, I'd love to meet Jesus. Or maybe watch David win battle after battle and drop Goliath to the ground. I suppose I'd actually love to live in the Garden of Eden and watch everything on the earth live in peace, if that counts. :)

If you could see yourself from someone else's perspective, whose perspective would you choose and why? (It could be a family member's, a friend's, your local librarian's, etc.)
Probably my friends. I'm very curious to see why they decided to have such a peculiar person as myself as their friend. ;)

Thank you, ladies, for your questions! I enjoyed answering them. Now, my readers, it's your turn. Since I'm not tagging anyone, I'd love it if you picked a few of these questions and answered them in a comment. Hope you enjoyed my answers!

NOTE: My blog's fourth birthday is approaching, and I was wondering if you had any thoughts for how to celebrate? Anything you've seen other blogs do that you'd like to see me do too? I'm open for suggestions and I'll compile my favorites into a blog birthday party. :) Thanks!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

America's National Day of Prayer // History

For the last two years, I've done a post on the National Day of Prayer on the first Thursday of May. This year, I'm going to change it up a bit and give you the history behind this day that is dedicated to praying for America. (As a side note, today also happens to be National Star Wars Day, which is always May 4th. "May the Fourth Be With You!")

Here is the link to 2015's post on the National Day of Prayer.
Click here to read 2016's post.

Over the history of America, there have been many times that our nation had held days for prayer. Oftentimes, it is Congress or the president who has called for these days.
  • For instance, Boston had a day of fasting and prayer in 1768.
  • Virginia's House of Burgesses declared a day of prayer and fasting on June 1, 1774 in protest of the Boston Port Act.
  • During 1774-1775 Georgia, Maryland, and South Carolina all observed prayer days.
  • In the very formation of this country in 1775, the Continental Congress set aside a period of time for prayer.
  • Congress announced a day of "fasting, humiliation and prayer" in 1780.
  • The celebration of Thanksgiving started out as a day of giving thanks and prayer. None other than President Abraham Lincoln made this official in 1863.
Numerous other dates have been set aside as times of prayer. Then, in 1952, President Harry S. Truman declared that for that year and each following, the current president of the United States should dedicate a day of prayer to God on a date of his choice. Pres. Truman's date was April 17th for that year.

President Reagan amended the law in 1988, and made the first Thursday of May each year the National Day of Prayer. In his proclamation, Pres. Reagan stated that "This occasion provides our Nation with an opportunity to further recognize the source of our blessings, and to seek His help for the challenges we face today and in the future."

Isn't that amazing? And it wasn't that long ago, either. In doing research for this post, I read the entirety of this document. It isn't very long, and I'd highly recommend you read it. Please take a moment to click HERE.

Since this, many of our presidents have held events at the White House on this day in honor of it. And now, the first Thursday of May every year, the nation joins together in prayer.

Please, the United States needs so much prayer. I'm taking a Constitutional Literacy class and it has only opened my eyes more. America is headed in a direction that is the opposite way from God. Now, even this day dedicated to prayer is being threatened by those who wish to keep "religion" out of "politics."

Pray. This is the only way to bring the United States of America back to Him. The Bible says that if God's people come together, repent, and pray, He will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14). That is what we need! Pray right now, pray through the rest of the day, and don't stop praying!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

April Highlights 2017

I'm back again with yet another monthly highlight post. April slowed down a bit, but not by much! I can't believe we are a third of the way through 2017! Where is it going?

Our "new" suburban.
As some of you are aware, about six months ago our car started to need significant mechanical attention. As bills continued to build up and the main apparent problem still wasn't fixed, we started hunting for a new used car. After multiple disappointments, we finally found and bought a Chevy Suburban that will be great for all my family's trips, etc. I'm looking forward to creating more memories in this car as we did in our previous van. Thank you to everyone who loaned us cars during this time and to all who prayed for us.

The rest of the month went by in a blur of days spent fixing fences, clearing up our property on burn days, and a trip to each of my grandparent's houses in Los Angeles and Pacific Grove.
One of my friends played the Mad Hatter!

I also got to go with my dad and a friend to watch an "Alice in Wonderland" play some friends starred in. (Great job, you guys!) Easter was a good day, starting out by celebrating our risen Savior at our church service, but turned out rather unusual since it rained and we were out fixing a fence in it! :) That was fun. I ended the month by serving at a local community fundraiser.

April was also a rather difficult month, in that there was quite a bit of stress trying to find our new car so we'd have a reliable vehicle, and several of our friends spent the majority of the month in the hospital.

In general, it was a good month even through the difficulties.

This month was a bit of a slower month as far as books goes, but once again, those I did read were very enjoyable! I'm in the middle of two other books that will get added into May's list. For April, my total pages is 1,283.
  1. Ranger's Apprentice: The Icebound Land, John Flanagan (266 pages)
  2. Red Rock Mysteries: Hidden Riches, Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry (249 pages)
  3. Red Rock Mysteries: Dead End, Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry (235 pages)
  4. The Blades of Acktar: Deliver, Tricia Mingerink (239 pages)
  5. Ranger's Apprentice: The Battle for Skandia, John Flanagan (294 pages)
Without a doubt, my favorite book out of that list is Deliver. I wrote a post on its release day that you can read by clicking HERE.

Also, I finally finished reading the Red Rock Mysteries series. I was a little disappointed with the ending of the last book, but overall it was a great series and I spent many pleasant hours reading it.

I participated in Camp NaNo, a virtual writing camp, and had a wonderful time. Even though I didn't begin to approach my goal, I enjoyed getting to know everyone in my wonderful cabin. It was an experience worthwhile, even if I only made 8,600 words. But as a friend reminded me, every word you write is a word you didn't have before. :) In that case, I'm content with my word count for this month. The best part of writing was the friends I made through Camp, and the satisfaction of pushing through some difficult spots in my story.

Also, another thrilling side of writing through April was when I managed to make my current WIP my longest story yet! It's now sitting at around 26K. :) Click HERE to read my post about that, and at the top of my blog I have added a page about the Arkinland Chronicles with stats, the summary, and a few exerts. Check it out!

Rather than post multitudes of pictures here as I've done in the past, I'll only post a few since I already shared most of my good photos for April in a previous post, called Springtime Photos.

At the beach in Pacific Grove.

~Great Quotes~
This month, I've been keeping my eyes out for good quotes to share with you, and I've discovered quite a few that I love!

This has become one of my all-time favorite quotes!

~Blog Posts~
It seems that I've already linked to most of my more popular posts of the month, so if you missed any of those, you can find them above. My personal favorite was the post about Deliver, since I love sharing about my favorite books. (I couldn't call myself a book lover if I didn't!) Besides, I got to do an author interview with Tricia Mingerink, and that doubled the fun!

A great blog post that I read this month was done by Jonathan at Fishing For Ideas. Here's the LINK to his post about putting your faith into your writing.
That's all folks! Thanks for reading, and I'd love to hear about your April highlights!