Monday, December 31, 2012

Farewell, 2012.

It's New Year's Eve.

Oh, whoops, you already knew that? I'm sorry.

So, pretty much it's been an amazing year and I owe it all to God. ALL OF IT. Of course, a small percentage goes to my awesome friends and family. ;) But God is really the driving force behind everything that's happened.

True, there was a lot of bad stuff that happened. True, some of that bad stuff will be carried into the New Year and won't be fully forgotten for maybe the rest of my life. But there was also a lot of good stuff. Part of the good things were God helping me through the bad things and refusing to leave me. Even when hope seemed crushed by the giant weight of the world, He was there.

So I'm thankful. And happy. And hopefully content. And praying that God will grant me full contentment in not just the year to come, but the YEARS to come. Because it's really not about just one year, it's about all of them. Living our lives to serve God and be content with what He's blessed us with.

I'm thankful for the joys of Christmas and being reminded daily of God's purpose for coming to earth. To save us. To set us free from sin. And I'm thankful for everything God has taught me this year, even though it took pain and discomfort to go through it.

I'm thankful for my friends and the OYAN workshop and peace through the storms of life and Doctor Who and music and pillows to clutch and calm you when everything goes haywire. I'm thankful for books. And especially I'm thankful for writing and the ability to write. I'm blessed to possess this talent because without it, my life would not be so blessed with most of the other things.

Thank you, Lord.

And to everyone else, Happy New Year. May 2013 teach you a great many things and bring you everlasting joy, peace and love. And may you live to serve God each and every day, and be grateful for every blessing. Even the uncomfortable ones.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Concerning Doors

I've been praying for a miracle. Lots of miracles, actually. But mainly for a job, the answers to critical decisions I've been having to make for a long while now, and peace through all of whatever God has planned for me.

Ever since the end of the Summer Workshop, I've been trying and failing to find a job. Most of that was lack of motivation, a great chunk of it was due to pickiness and wanting the "perfect" job, but a very small portion of it was not being able to find anything. I had many, many options before me. But the perfectionist side of me took over. I wasn't sure what God wanted me to do, and I was waiting for Him to show me. All summer long, I prayed and stressed about having no money, and then prayed some more. All summer, I kept on thinking of the future, of next summer, and wondering if I would ever make money, if I would ever get out of the house and actually DO something with my life. A lot of my summer was spent on the computer; chatting with friends, writing my novel, and waiting. Nothing seemed to motivate me to actually apply for a job. I was leaving it up to God, but I didn't want to take action myself.

These past couple weeks have been the most stressful and frustrating weeks of the entire summer. As the school year is looming ever closer, I kept on wondering and praying and pulling my hair out and just screaming at myself for not pushing harder to find a job. I worried that I would never be able to make money for the myriad of things I have/want/need to pay for next year and the coming fall. I worried that I wouldn't be able to do orchestra, to do choir, to go to next year's OYAN Workshop, to pay for my graduation, to pay for various things for my sister's wedding... I was beginning to lose hope of any of this ever happening. I was beginning to fear my passions would be scattered to the ground and I would have nothing left but darkness.

But I had no reason to worry.

God did a miracle. Over the past few days (and especially today and yesterday), He has been working something wonderful through something altogether unpleasant. It started yesterday as I was waiting in line at a local school to sign up for a one-semester Biology class. I was previously feeling very excited to do it, but as I sat there, I began to feel uncomfortable thinking of the secular environment I would have to be in, the information that would be fed to me from the Science textbook that ran contrary to my beliefs. Something stirred inside me and screamed at me, "NO! DON'T DO THIS! DON'T SIGN UP!" But, as I've become quite good at doing, I ignored the voice of reason and went through with it. I signed up, payed for the textbook, and went home.

After that, I was looking through the book. Things popped up at me. I began to feel sick to my stomach, just looking through the sorts of things public schools teach. And then I began to reconsider even signing up. A fierce headache zapped me and the stress started to pile up in my brain again. I took out my "Exploring Creation with Biology" textbook by J. Wile and soaked in the richness of the pages, the cleanness, the fulfilling information within it. The headache worsened. I worried that I had made the wrong decision.

So I took a nap. But my brain kept switching between a firm "NO" and a resounding "YES." One part of me said, "No, Julia, you made the right decision, and you should just go through with the class you signed up for and learn what you can." The other part said, "Yes, Julia, you made the wrong decision, and you should read the textbook that is more glorifying to God and more satisfying than any old public school textbook." So, I considered that and brought it up with my mom. She emailed my homeschool group, asking if any other teens were doing the "Exploring Creation" Biology course, and within an hour, two people replied. A 16-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl. I could be accountable and motivated this way. I wouldn't need a class full of people I didn't know. It would be far better to get to know Christian homeschoolers, whose friendships would probably last longer than any messed-up, public-schooled kid.

As my brain juggled with the idea, I started to think about my lack of work again. A couple weeks earlier, God had put it on my heart to start teaching piano to a few students. I got all excited about it and almost put an email out to the homeschool group, but then got scared. So I left it. Not long after the two emails came in about the Biology course, a lady from the same group emailed and asked if I would be willing to teach her two youngest children piano. I snatched the opportunity and said yes, and then she asked if I would ALSO be willing to teach two kids from the same family of the 16-year-old who might do Biology with me. Of course, I said yes to that, too. A week or so ago, a different lady asked for a young girl to babysit her three children on Monday nights. I will be meeting her to see if we're a good fit for each other sometime within this week. =)

God worked a way for me to do both orchestra AND choir again this year. Though piano lessons are still a little on the downside, I truly believe God will work out a way, if He really wants me to continue with piano. He worked out all of THIS, didn't He?

Funny how a Science class can teach you important lessons, even if it has nothing to do with the class at all. God's been closing a lot of doors, but those closed doors have led to open doors. Through these bad decisions, He's been showing me what I already have and that I don't NEED more. My life won't be fulfilled in a classroom. My life can be fulfilled HERE. At home, where I belong.

And now, I feel quite willing to give up this Science class to build a stronger relationship with the friends around me, with my family, and with God. And I also have more freedom to fit in the job opportunities God has presented to me.

Isn't that wonderful? God took things away so that He could make room for even GREATER things. He put me through these difficult situations in order to fill my life with blessings.

God's great. And miracles DO happen. I am overwhelmed with His love.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Life is like a Bubble

The other day, I was watching my little sisters blowing bubbles. And they were the big kind. Not just the puny-sized, pop-almost-immediately kind of bubbles. These ones were huge. And they were pretty.

As I was watching these bubbles float around in the wind, a thought struck me. Life is like a bubble. Each bubble represents a person's life. No matter how big or small it is (even if it's a puny-sized one), it is significant and it represents something. Bubbles are beautiful. Life is beautiful. Inside these perfectly round spheres of substance is a beauty beyond compare. They may bump around for awhile, get tossed by the wind, clash into walls, be blown higher, but eventually they will have to find a landing place. Eventually, they will touch a surface and pop, having fulfilled their short-term goal in life. Every bubble has to pop. Every life has to end.

But then, that just leaves room for another, more beautiful bubble to emerge. New life. A new beginning. So, our lives are like bubbles. We last for a time, soaring high in the sky with wonderful dreams and aspirations inside of us, but we may or may not reach our intended goal. There will always be bumps in the road. A change in the wind. New dreams, new goals. Life is short. Maybe not as short as a bubble's, but I think you get the idea. And we need to soar while we can. Live and make a difference and give people inspirational thoughts. Just like the bubbles. Our lives may not be long enough to impact the entire world, but if we can just grab the attention of one or two people and help to change them for the better, if we can show them the life and the light of truth that rests inside of us, that will make our life worth living.

We don't live for ourselves. We never reach the destination that we thought we would reach in the beginning. Things move us and change us and we come to something far different, but something that is worth the pain and the stumbling blocks. It is far greater, and wholly rewarding.

Bubbles are amazing things, don't you think? Life is amazing. God is amazing. :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Amazing Grace

Well. The epicness of the OYAN workshop may be long past now, but the adventure lives on. The journey isn't over. Not even close. We're still fighting the battle, we're still living the dream, we're still gasping for air at every turn. Though we all must be wrenched apart by time and distance, we're closer now than ever. We've formed a bond that is truly unbreakable. A bond of love. A bond that'll never snap because of how strong that love is. And here's why.

The workshop left me stunned and awestruck and amazed and so many other feelings that I can't even begin to describe. In short, I was changed. Completely and beautifully changed. God taught me many things throughout that week. He strengthened my ability to love, He showed me that I COULD still love, even after all the bad things that had happened in my life. He gave me hope for the future, a strong hope that I cling to even now. Best of all, He offered me a glimpse of what I truly believe heaven is going to look like. Surrounded by the ones you love each and every day, for all eternity, having a shared love for Christ and for writing and for music that glorifies God's precious name. God lavished grace upon me that week, even through the struggles that I faced, even when I felt alone. Because every time bad feelings arose, every time I started leaning towards self-doubt and self-pity, there was ALWAYS somebody there to comfort me and lift me up. Always someone near to me who understood my feelings and who would give me a hug right at the very moment I needed one.

From the beauty of the critique groups and the wonder of the lectures down to the amazing fellowship I shared with OYANers--people like me--I felt truly blessed. And there was no reason to feel alone in the slightest because at the workshop, God blessed me with the ability to be myself. To not hide my opinion. To act random and crazy and not feel ashamed for it. To dress up in costumes and watch OTHER people dress up in even wilder costumes, and feel like it was the most normal thing on earth. To have long, nerdy conversations about Doctor Who and LOTR and Chopin and other random fandoms and then geek out together about said subjects. To have silly conversations that included My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Russian accents, Fluffnarks, converse, silence marks, lemurs-turned-penguin, the Land of Ood, telepathic mind powers, hats, elf ears, and glomps, and know that such things were not weird to talk about around insane writers. To snap pictures and not feel embarrassed to do strange things in said pics... Well, okay. Maybe I felt a LITTLE embarrassed. :P To laugh and cry on the last day of the workshop when we all gathered around outside of the gym and prayed, and not feel ashamed to cry my heart out in front of so many people because of God's overwhelming grace and love. To sing Amazing Grace at the end of our tearful prayers and look up into the sky, toward the heavens, at all of the twinkling stars above, singing out the words and praising God for the beautiful week that now stood behind us.

Thank you, Lord, for the beauty of the Summer Workshop. Thank you for Mr. and Mrs. S, who have made all of this possible. Thank you for all of the speakers--Jeff Gerke, Mark Wilson, Mark Twain, Daniel Schwabauer, and yes, Carrol Schwabauer--who inspired us and who are leading us into victory through the words they shared with us. Thank you for my second family. Thank you for overwhelming me with peace and love. Thank you for showering me with mercy and your infinite goodness.

Thank you for the gift of writing.

Friday, June 1, 2012

For a Special Someone...

This post is dedicated to my dear friend and OYAN sister, Adrienne!! It was her birthday two days ago, so....

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ADRIENNE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, I realize this is somewhat late, but since you helped to make MY birthday extra special, I thought I should return the favour. :) I loved reading on your blog about how amazing your birthday was. I hope I can extend that amazingness by making it just a little more special!

Things I love about Adrienne:

1. She's my sis. What's not to love about that? ;)

2. She is sweet and kind, always lending a helping hand to others, never failing to be an encouragement.

3. She loves Jesus with all her heart, constantly acknowledging her Savior through everything she does.

4. She's an OYANer and a fellow writer.

5. She views life with so much joy and passion, and challenges each day with a smile.

6. She is insanely epic. B-)

7. She's adorable!! ^_^

8. She's sarcastic and funny and downright awesome. :D

9. And perhaps best of all, SHE'S GOING TO THE SUMMER WORKSHOP IN KANSAS!!! :D I get to meet my dear sister for the first time!!

10. I felt like there should be a tenth reason. ;) You're just so awesome, Adrienne.

The list could really go on and on... You're such a darling girl, Adri!! I love you SO much and I cannot WAIT to meet you in only 17 days!!!

Love you, girl! Have a beyond marvelous day, and may God bless you beyond measure throughout all of your coming years. Never lose that spark of life that clings to you so dearly.

<3 <3

Sunday, May 27, 2012

News. Epic news.

I have some news.

Some pretty small news, actually.

But news, nonetheless.

Wait for it.


22 DAYS UNTIL THE OYAN SUMMER WORKSHOP AND REUNION IN KANSAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, so that was small news.

Seriously, though! 22 days until I get to meet my second family!! *explosion of confetti and trumpet blaring* 22 days until possibly the most epic week of my life!! 22 days until I get to spend a WEEK with nerdy writers like me! :D

I don't know about you, but this is my idea of a summer holiday. B-) It'll be like a summer camp, but with ten truckloads of awesome added to it, battles about the nerdiest things, epic skits, amazing lectures by amazing people, AWESOME PEOPLE, Whovians, Nerdfighters, musicians, and above all, homeschoolers. ALL IN THE SAME ROOM ALL AT THE SAME TIME!!! O_O All that multiplied by 2. B-D

As I like to say, there is much to be done. I have a book to finish writing (or try to), someone else's book to finish critiquing before June, a costume to prepare, math and history to complete, a packing list to make, things to buy, lines to memorize, evil plans to carry out, a decision to make. Yep. I'm swamped. :P Oh, and not to mention, armour to prepare (for all those glomp attacks, y'know ;).

PLEASE, nobody pile anything more on me. I think I have enough on my shoulders to last for a good while. :P And three weeks to do it all! I do think, with God's help, that I will be able to make it and that everything will be prepared in good time. I hope.

Thanks for reading my rather random and pointless post! :D You people really make my day. ^_^

OYANers, beware! The queen shall be entering the court! Hold onto your pianos, or they will be played. ;)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Blessings Fall Like Rain

I realize I haven't posted in a long while, and for that I deeply apologize. But, no matter! I will just go ahead and write the post that I've been dying to write, though it is quite overdue.

I wanted to write a post on my last day of being 15, a long one that recalled all of the blessings God gave me in my fifteenth year, a pleasant goodbye to 15 and a warm welcome to 16. But, as it happened, that did NOT happen. I shall do it now, because my fifteenth year was just too full of blessings to be passed by.

Obviously, the highlight of the year was the Poland Mission trip in the summer of 2011. That was an eye-opening experience, which taught me many, many things, and opened me up to a lot of wonderful and lasting friendships I would not have had if I had decided to stay home. It was an amazing experience, seeing first-hand the deep need for Christ in Poland, and facing the culture in ways that reached beyond my comforts. It was an exposure to really give of myself and step forward with 30-some others to shed the light of the Gospel in the darkest corners of Poznan and Gdansk. It taught me patience, even through the worst of times, even when our evangelizing had to be cut short due to bad weather. I believe that God gave us that drenching rain for a reason, and that was to teach us that blessings can come out of it. I didn't realize it at the time, but God was testing our faith and our patience, seeing if we would persevere through it, and when we did, He poured blessings upon us. By the end of the trip, the sun had peeked its head out of the clouds and was shining upon us boldly and triumphantly, almost a symbol of Christ's victory over sin and death. There is no doubt that God blessed me considerably when He sent me on the mission trip, and that is one aspect of being fifteen that I will never forget.

When I was fifteen, I traveled Europe for the first time in my life. With my dad and sister, we drove through Germany, Belgium, Holland, and France, and crossed over to England by ferry. I saw many great monuments, including the Eiffel Tower, the London Eye, Big Ben, the Brandenburg Gate, the Arc de Triomphe, the Cologne Cathedral, the Notre Dame Cathedral, and several marvelous castles. Those were all man-made structures and they were all brilliant, but nothing can compare to the beauties of God's creation that my eyes fell upon. The white cliffs of Dover, the beautiful countryside of England, Brighton beach, the rippling fields of Holland, the Baltic Sea, gorgeous red sunsets, and yes, even the glistening droplets of rain. I felt blessed beyond anything I could ever deserve.

My fifteenth year was a year of firsts. Walking on cobblestones, climbing the Eiffel Tower, riding the tube in England, a long train ride on a passenger train, flying in a plane, travelling to Europe, seeing God's beauty extended into the far-off and unknown, singing in the streets, speaking in Polish, finishing my first novel, and numerous other things that I can't recall at this moment. It was a beyond amazing year.

I also strengthened friendships with my church friends by enjoying precious time with them. Going to the beach, to parties, to church events, to concerts. It was a year that brought me close to my friends, my family, and God.

Despite all of the hardships I suffered through, all of the sorrows that come with life, all of the trials that presented me with despair and hopelessness, I was blessed. The blessings fell like rain. And now, I know that I can face my sixteenth year with renewed hope. That I can endure through the hardships God gives me. That I can live in the light, and not the darkness.

Thank you, Lord, for my fifteenth year.

"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."
~1 Peter 5:6-8

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Praising God

I'm going to interrupt your day with a short posting on a few things I am very thankful for. God is truly a God of miracles. He has answered numerous prayers of mine, and He has made things happen that a year ago I would never have believed possible.

Number one is most obviously the Kansas trip. We have officially booked our flights, and are now in the process of getting our forms completed and sent in. I was also, by God's grace, able to get my video made for the OYAN Video Contest. :)

I'm also thankful for the many amazing friends that I have. It always fills me with so much joy when something wonderful happens to one of my friends, and particularly if a prayer has been answered. One of my friends just recently got a collection of short stories and poems published. It's called "Scribblings" and her name is L.E.R. Jenkins. Go order it on Lulu! :) Something else truly wondrous happened to another friend of mine, a dear, dear friend. God is enabling me and this friend to meet up this coming summer, and for the first time ever. It has been an answer to BOTH our prayers.

Another item of praise is that one of my other friends, who has been struggling with several health issues for quite awhile, is slowly on the way to recovery. :) I'm very happy for him, and will continue to pray daily.

"I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness, and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High."
~Psalm 7:17

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

OYAN Summer Workshop 2012 pt. 2

And now... I bring you what you have all been waiting anxiously for. (Or so I hope). Part 2 of my Summer Workshop postings! If you haven't read part 1 yet, you can find it right here.

Let me just start out by saying that it is now official! I am going to the Summer Workshop 2012 FOR SURE!! The Lord willing, of course. But my parents have given me their consent, and all that is left to do is book our flights, fill out all the needed forms and send them with money, and then WAIT!

There are 97 days left until this spectacular event! The time couldn't go any slower, in my opinion! But when I think of all the words I have to write before then, all the chapters I have to accomplish, and all of the stubborn characters I must overcome, it makes the time seem a lot faster. Plus, I have the millions of other things to do, such as finishing up school, preparing for music recitals, critiquing someone's book (which I promised to do a long time ago), reply to important emails, and... OH! And get a video filmed for an OYAN Video Contest I'm hoping to participate in. It's supposed to be a 25-65 second video on how much I love OYAN. Which should be fairly easy, aside from the fact that I will have to face my fear of cameras and speak straight into one. The deadline for the contest is March 31st. Yes, I still have time. But time is running short... VERY short.

Back to where we started! Reasons I'm excited for the Summer Workshop:

1. First and foremost, I'm excited to meet the people! As I mentioned before, the OYANers are like family to me. Now, one cannot simply go through life without meeting family, correct? And having known most of these people for over two years, I feel like the time is way overdue to meet them. I get to meet up with my sisters for the first time! And a multitude of other people. Adrienne, Kenzie, Aimee, Christy, Jess, Lauree, Greg, Matt, Kyle, Mig, Daniel, Pip, Wooton, Braden, Janie. Just to name a few! And of course, I must not forget the infamous Mr. and Mrs. S!! They are the two amazing people responsible for creating this wonderful course. Without them, I would never have known all of these crazy, nerdy, homeschooled writers. ;)
Here ish a website on Daniel Schwabauer:

2. I'm excited for the sessions. I heard (and watched some) that the lectures last year were AMAZING and truly inspiring. Well, I'm definitely going there prepared for some awe-inspiring talks! This year, we have people like Mark Wilson from Oregon, Stephanie Morrill, who is a fairly well-known authoress (here is her blog:, Jeff Gerke, who is an editor, and of course, Mr. S. I'm looking forward to learning a LOT about writing this summer. :D

3. The critique groups. As is the custom, all of the students will be split off into small critique groups where we will, well, critique each other's work! We'll each read off a portion of our novel (O.O), and then receive helpful feedback. We may even have one of the speakers sitting in with us! I think it'll be extremely good for my novel, and for me as a person. I generally don't like reading off stuff I've written to other people, so this should be a great experience for me, and should help me in that area. Also, I've heard it's not just seriousness for 2 hours, or however long it goes for each day. I've heard that it's a real bonding time with your fellow OYANers. Each group comes up with something crazy, and one group (the Laughing Lothlorien Ladies) even created a whole play! The play was to make fun of popular "detached limb" mistakes in a lot of novels. Of course, I can't explain it to a full extent, so you must watch the video!

That should conclude it! Needless to say, I am VERY excited for this workshop and I anticipate it with a great deal of enthusiasm and hope. I can't go a day without dreaming about it. Dreaming about the manner in which I'll meet the people (whether I'll greet some of them with a scream, or a glomp, or just with my usual calm self), dreaming about my first reaction to every aspect of the workshop, and dreaming about the six days of epic epicness that I will be taking part in at last.

May the Lord be with you and give you many blessings this day!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Be Inspired...

Whilst I gather up and compile all the needed information for the next part of my Summer Workshop postings, I thought I'd share some videos with you. For entertainment's sake. And maybe (if you're a writer), some educational, writerly tips. ;) The two people in the videos are both my amazing OYAN friends, and I am incredibly proud to know the both of them. I will be personally meeting them for the first time in the summer, when I venture to Kansas for that spectacular event that I believe I've mentioned before. ;)


Here's that girl's blog, which I'm sure you'll enjoy. :)

Here's that dude's blog, if you're interested. He's a really good writer and you can get more tips from him here. :)

I have some really fun post ideas coming up soon! So, in the meantime, keep writing and keep smiling! And, just because it's Monday (and I know how the majority of you feel about this day of the week), it doesn't mean you have to be downhearted! Keep a wide grin on your face and glory in this new day! Think of all the wonderful possibilities of the week ahead. Think of all the blessings God has given you and will give you this coming week. Be joyful, my friends! Take heart! :)

"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!"
~Philippians 4:4

Friday, March 2, 2012

OYAN Summer Workshop 2012 pt. 1

One thing I can say I'm looking extremely forward to this summer is something that has been constantly on my mind. I think of it every day, quite literally 24/7, allowing it to distract me from school, causing me to drift off into long moments of daydreams. Can you guess what it is yet? Some of you might. ;)

The One Year Adventure Novel Summer Workshop 2012!!!! *pants*

Most of you are probably wondering WHAT that even is. Well, I'll tell you. But be prepared for random bursts of excitement and epicness.

As most of you probably know by now (that is to say, if you know me), I do a writing program called One Year Adventure Novel, or put simply, OYAN. I have written one novel through this amazing, fantastic curriculum, and am writing a second novel using a secondary program to OYAN, called Other Worlds. Other Worlds teaches you about fantasy and science fiction with a distinctly Christian worldview in mind, and leads you through the steps of how to create your own world and introduce different supernatural elements to your story. It is also taught by the same man who teaches OYAN, Daniel Schwabauer, famously know by the OYANers as Mr. S.

Now you're probably asking yourself: "What on earth are OYANers?" Well, they're only a bunch of the craziest, awesome-est, epicest, and funnest people on the planet! (And yes, I do realize some of those are not real words. But OYANers are known for making up words randomly. ;)) This definition probably hasn't helped you any. You see, on the world of the internet, there is a remote place tucked safely into a corner, untouched by all save several hundred teens and young adults who share one passion: that of writing. Many of them also share an undying love for music, art, film-making, and above all, God. On this forum, we OYANers join forces and stand for truth, writing furiously and assisting one another along the way, lifting the wounded and hopeless high, until they are able to stand on the pedestal of victory. We encourage, laugh, cry with one another, have long theological debates, raise cries of alarm as one when our beloved forum is merged into chaos and shuts down. We are a family. A family of writers who are not writers just for the sake of it, but who share one desire: to write words that will change the world. To weave together stories for the glory of God, overthrowing Satan and darkness and spreading truth and light throughout the entire world.

I feel truly blessed to be a part of this wonderful community. It has changed my life in a multitude of ways. Firstly, when I joined the forum and started OYAN on September 3, 2009, I came to realize that I didn't have to be alone as a writer. I had always thought that the writing life was for older, more experienced people, and that it would be weird for me to write a novel at such a young age. But I found out just how wrong I was. Even people YOUNGER than me had written several novels, and had done so with no shame and no regret. Secondly, I thought I was strange for being an introvert and that I needed to change and become extroverted in some way, to fit in with the majority of the world. But, in my heart, I knew that wasn't and isn't my character and that it would be difficult to change, so I felt discouraged. OYAN changed that. There are many people on there that I can relate to in several small ways, and even in some big ways. :) Getting to know the people helped me to be more confident with who I am.

OYAN has honed my writing skills a great deal. Two years ago, I was such a beginner. I hardly knew anything about writing a novel. Now, I can't claim to know even close to everything, but I know a million more things than I did before I began this curriculum. If I looked back to my writing as of 2 to 3 years ago, I would be disgusted. Absolutely horrified that I wrote something like that. But OYAN has not only taught me how to structure a novel, it has taught me how to structure a STORY and what it is that makes a story, a story.

It's amazing, really, what an influence a little school curriculum can have on a person, considering my mom found it quite by accident during a group discussion at a homeschool group. But I know it wasn't by accident. It was all in God's plan and for some reason, he wanted me to do OYAN. What that reason is, I have yet to find out. I'm extremely thankful God led me to this program, so that I could carry out my dreams to be a writer. To be a small part of the effort we Christians all make to bring the world to repentance. I also give a thousand words of credit to Mr. S for creating the program, enabling young writers to join together as one and encourage each other in their writing journeys and their Christian walks.

This is why I am bouncing in my chair for excitement because of the definite possibility of going to the 3rd annual Summer Workshop and Reunion in Kansas this summer, where the OYANers will meet, some for the first time, others for the 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th time. For me, I will be uniting with several great friends for the first time ever. I will be uniting with family. :)

Stay tuned for the next part of this topic, where I will discuss the Summer Workshop in detail and the many benefits of taking this 6-day journey!

Have a GREAT weekend, my friends!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Weekend Glories

The weekend is a national weekly holiday that the majority of the world celebrates. Kids, teens, and young adults all over the world tremble in their socks and glance in anticipation at the wall clock as the minutes tick by, the hands dragging past each number, the second hand announcing the agony they all feel. Feet tap, hearts pound, and palms sweat, as each child, young or small, public schooled or homeschooled, counts down the minutes to freedom. Their pencils stroke the paper laid before them with a ferocity that drives the led down to a pulp. Their hands shake as they struggle to focus their minds on their impending doom. Page after page fills with their most feared enemy. The Homework. Homework they wish they could forget. Homework they wish they could dash to the rocks forever.

The ticking of the clock grows louder. The agony hits harder. Sweat builds up. Every eye glances about the room, waiting. Waiting for the drone of the teacher's voice to cease. Waiting for the clock to stop ticking with such violence. Waiting for the bell that will announce their two-day leap to freedom.

And then it comes. Like the pain that accompanies torture, the final minute ticks down. Every pencil pauses in its mad scrawl across the paper underneath. Every student stares up at that clock of torment, back erect, breath held. The teacher, too, pauses for but a slight moment, if only to prepare herself for what will happen next.

The seconds die down. The ticking fades away. All that can be heard is the monotone melody of the bell and the whooping and laughter of the children as they abandon their books, zip up their coats, shout a goodbye to their relieved-looking teacher, and whip out the door. They slip into parents' cars or race down the streets to their homes, smiles proclaiming their joy to every viewer. Their hands wave in the air as they leave the gloom of the schoolgrounds behind for what they hope to be forever.

But they know it can't last forever. They know that in two days' time, they will have to leave the glories of the weekend behind and return to school's drudgeries. They know that their precious two-day holiday of free time and family time will come to an end.

And all of a sudden, time seems to tick faster. It no longer creeps along, no longer torments students with its pace of misery. Now, students yearn for this more than anything. They pull at the hours with all the strength they can muster, willing the minutes into submission. But soon they give up, knowing that their time will only be wasted if they don't leave the clock be and seek for more worthwhile tasks.

Like adventure. And friends. And icecream. And even the little bit of sunshine that their unpredictable weather can afford to present.

They glory in the weekend. It's theirs to hold for the two days of wonder God gave them. And they won't be letting go too early.

Happy, happy weekend everyone!! :D I hope you enjoyed this post! Thank you SO MUCH for your helpful comments. They were very encouraging! ^_^ Stay tuned for more posts! Posts of colour and intrigue and amazingness! I hope. ;)

Oh, by the way, what be your thoughts on the new layout of my blog? Personally, I like it, but I need to know what YOU think! Your input matters! More than you know. :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Uncertainty at Its Finest

I believe an apology is well overdue, my dear followers. I have been dreadfully inconsistent and horribly inconsiderate in this blogging thing. I know most of you have been waiting in great anticipation for my next post. Blood, sweat, tears and all.

The reason for my inconsistency is this: My life has been showing EXTREME cases of uncertainty as of late. Everything has been whirling about without stopping, overwhelming me with stress and worry. Right now, I'm trying to get back on track with my piles of schoolwork and the million and one other things I have to do.

So, please. Accept my apology. I'm sure many of you understand my situation.

And if you can't stand how slow my posts come, you can do one of two things.

Unfollow my blog, which will sadden me but give you your life back.


Continue to follow me and give me suggestions of what kind of posts YOU would like to see from me. I'll be happy to oblige to anything. Well.... ALMOST anything. ;) If you do this, it'll keep me more motivated to actually log onto the blogging world and entertain your waiting minds.

All that being said, I'd better be off to conquer this mountain of work I have! To those of you who decide to leave, farewell. To the rest of you, I love you all!! You make me beyond happy! ^_^


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

Okay, I realize this is a few days late, but better to post now than never, right? I thought I'd start this off by talking about my Christmas and what a wonderful time I had. Because I really did have a spectacular and very blessed Christmas. :) The orchestra concerts that I talked about flew by, and were excellent to have right before Christmas. They were so much fun and a great success! Tomorrow begins my first orchestra rehearsal of the year, which I know is a little soon, but I'm looking forward to it because I loooove orchestra!! :D

Christmas this year (last year, I should say) was full of joy, peace, excitement, food, friends, family, music, laughter, and.... PRESENTS! :D Here is a list of some of the great presents I got, just cause I thought you'd like to know. ;) And cause they're oh so cool!! :D

1. Lots and lots of candy and chocolate.

2. Fuzzy pajamas.

3. A cross necklace from my sister, a snowflake necklace from my mother, and a pair of earrings from my grandma.

4. An earring making set.

5. A giant makeup set.

6. A miniature sock monkey that I named Lewis in honour of C.S. Lewis. :) I got the bigger monkey for Christmas last year, and he still remains nameless. :P

7. Piano music! :D

8. A beautiful pen with my name engraved on it. ^_^

9. A digital pocket dictionary.

10. These books, by the one and only Mr. S, founder of the OYAN curriculum, which has produced my own two novels. ^_^

11. The first book of "The Hunger Games." My copy isn't quite as elaborate as this, but it's lovely all the same. I've already read through the entire thing. :)

12. The DVD for the OYAN Summer Workshop 2011 in Kansas, that I reeeaaallly want to go to this year!!

13. And one of the most exciting gifts of all.....

I'm so happy about this!! It's 3 seasons of Doctor Who (seasons 2, 3, and 4), all with David Tennant! :D I'm halfway through the 3rd season at the moment.

I think that's all my presents! There may be a few missing from there, but I think you get the picture. Needless to say, I got some really nice stuff. Christmas was awesome and I feel so incredibly blessed! Now... to move on to New Years.

I spent New Years with the family at home, eating yummy food, playing games, and waiting for the countdown. At the stroke of 12, we all went outside and made a bunch of noise, banging pots and pans, all that fun stuff. We stayed out in the freezing cold for about 20 minutes, before retreating to the indoors and trotting off to bed.

The last day of 2011 wasn't much to speak about. It was a little... depressing, actually. But I DID come up with some resolutions/prayers for 2012.

1. Read through the entire Bible.

2. Strive to become a more faithful Christian and glorify God in everything I do.

3. Get a real job.

4. Be more diligent with my schoolwork.

5. Speak openly to at least 2 unbelievers about Christ.

6. Be more optimistic.

7. Be more content.

8. Read all the books on my shelf.

9. Be more creative with my blog posts.

And that should do it! *wipes sweat off of forehead* Wow, this blog thing is getting exhausting! But I shall continue to do it. I shall persevere.

In case you hadn't noticed, school officially started today. It feels like I've only had a week off of school! But really, I've only had about TWO weeks off, and that's not much at all. So, I'm diving into my schoolwork without fully being ready. Fun, huh?

I'm trying to think of a grand ending to this post, but... nope. Nothing's coming. I shall just end with saying this: HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! :D And God bless you in the year to come!