Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Year in Review

And so. . .2015 has come to an end and we are finishing yet another year.
Wow.
Seriously, this year seems to have gone by so fast! I want to put on the brakes and just be like "okay, let's slow down a bit". But. . .that's not how time works.
This past year has been one of the fullest that I can remember. There are so many different things that happened, both good and bad.
So. . .I thought I'd do what most normal bloggers are doing and write a year-in-review post. Beware, it will be long! Read on at your own risk! :)
There were many firsts this year, as well as a few lasts. So many amazing things happened that were so special to me. God has given me so many gifts this year that looking back I feel overwhelmed. He has a way of blessing us beyond and above what we can even imagine. Yes, there have been trials along the way, but God has seen us through them all.
So, since this post is going to be loonnggg, I thought I'd separate it into three different sections. Life, Writing, and Goals. :)


Life:

In January of this year my Grandma had her reverse shoulder operation. During the month I spent most of my time either staying with her at the hospital, or helping her once she got home. This was a huge learning experience for me and  really enjoyed it. Not only did  I get to spend time at the hospital and ask the nurses and CNA's questions, I was also blessed to be able to to spend a lot of time getting to know my grandparents better.
We also had our first-ever piano recital in March.(I think  it was March. It may have been the beginning of April.) I had played in church before, but this was the first actual recital  had played in, so it was a lot of fun!
The homeschool conference came after that in April. This is absolutely one of the things I look forward to ever spring! Well, that and the used book sale. :P They are always so much fun! I love being able to see friends I haven't seen for a while, and of course BOOKS!!! :D
In June my parents celebrated their twenty-first wedding anniversary, and I got my drivers permit!
In July I turned seventeen, which was exciting and fun. ;)
In August our family went on a two-week long vacation to the pacific ocean. . .which was so super amazing!! We spent the majority of the time driving up and down the coast in Oregon and Washington and stopping whenever we wanted. Which was awesome. Of course, we also attended my cousins' wedding and I was able to meet an amazing friend who I had been pen -pals with for over a year. :)
Also, in August I self-published my first book. Which was awesome too!! (Don't worry, I'll have a ton to more say about it later on in the writing section. :P )
After August was finished the rest of the year passed in a blur. We were so super busy with school, and then it was October,  and I got to meet another pen pal when her family came through Wichita! Which was so exciting!! Then Thanksgiving was here, then Christmas. And now it's New Years Eve!! Augh! Where has all the time gone?!
Dad has done pretty well this year, our vacation in August proving that. Every test he's had for the past eighteen months have come back clear, and his body was a lot stronger this year. Last year there were several days he was in the doctors because he got sick, and since his body was weak, he needed antibiotics to help fight anything off.
This year, (excepting the problem with his right elbow this past month) he hasn't been in at the Dr. for any reason other then a check-up, which is such a blessing!
And sometime in this crazy year I was able to read seventy or so amazing books. Which was awesome. (I know, I use that word a lot ;) )


Writing:

This year I have (including my short stories) written 152,651 words. Compared to last year, when I wrote around 10,000. So, yeah. my writing may or may not have drastically increased. 
I also self-published my first ever book!!! Which was so awesome! Although it was honestly more of a "test" book to see how everything went, thus it isn't on Amazon or any other major online retailer. But, Lord willing my 2nd book will be out in the next couple months and it will be on amazon. Still a little nervous about putting something I've written out in the world like that. . . ;) 
I also participated in and won NaNo for the first time ever! I heard about NaNo about two weeks before it started, so I didn't have too much time to prepare. I was like "Hey, why not?" Even if I didn't meet my goal, I'd have more written then if I didn't participate in it. 
Not only did I meet my goal, I finished my manuscript, A Question of Honor, at around 65,000 words, which is the longest I've ever written! It is now sitting in my virtual "to-edit-later" bookshelf. Not particularly a project I'm looking forward to editing, but I will get around to it soon! Of all the projects I've worked on, A Question of Honor would have to be my favorite. It is set in one of my absolute favorite places and eras ever--WWII England and France. Of course right now it is a disaster, and a ton of things are going to be changed, taken out, etc. But it was fun to work on. :)
Also, In November we went and attended a WWII battle reenactment.  Perhaps I should have put this under the "life' section, but. . .it was the one event that gave me enough inspiration and ideas to finish NaNo. And NaNo is/was writing. So I put it here. :D



Goals:

I am a person who tends shy away from making a lot of goals at the beginning of a year because I know how much our schedule, and life, can change. And I am a fairly "checklist motivated' kind of person, so If I do have a goal that doesn't get completed, I tend to stress out about it. 
However, I do think it is a good thing to have a few goals. I mean, as Christians one of our goals should be to grow in our knowledge and wisdom of our Savior and His word. And I do believe we should make it a priority to spend time in His word every day.
Thus saying, I did make a few goals this past year. One of them was to read through the entire Bible. In January, I realized that the only way I would be able to complete that goal would be if I read only for the sake of reading. But I wanted to be able to spend time in the sections I was reading and really study them, so I shortened my goal to reading through the New Testament. I was able to complete that goal in September, so I started making my way though the prophets and today I finished the last chapter of Jeremiah. I also read through Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Malachi,
I also made a goal to get my first book out into the world--got that one done! :)
I honestly didn't make to many other goals. I wanted to get caught up on school, which I've managed. (Well, managed in every subject except. . .math.)
I also did a lot of things that I never would have imagined would happen this year!  Such as spending time at the ocean, meeting new friends, seeing family, visiting a WWII research center, visits from friends, etc.
But this year I would like to make some goals. And a few more then I made last year. ;) They're not in any particular order.
1--Graduate! This'll probably happen in the later half of 2016, but I can't wait for it to actually happen! (Having algebra finished will be a HUGE plus. ;) )
2--Publish The Silent Blade. 
3--Finish reading through the prophets and read through the rest of the Old Testament.
4--Look into college more thoroughly and make a decision. *gasp* At the present the task sounds too daunting. ;)
5--Edit. Not very fun, but it needs to be done!  And  actually enjoy the first few edits. But after that it gets tedious.
6--Get my drivers license.
7--Spend more time with my younger siblings



So, there you have it. My year in review as well as some of my goals for the new year. While 2015 has been an AWESOME year and I am sorta sad to be telling it goodbye, I am looking forward to 2016.
I am looking forward to for a number of reasons. Graduating is definitely one of them, the homeschool conference, of course, where I'll get to see friends and meet one of my favorite authors,  as well as being able to vote in the presidential election for the first time ever. And on that note, I think we need to be in prayer more then ever for our country and its leaders. This year there has been a huge decline in our country's moral values, and it saddens me to see it. Our country needs God. When we turn our back on Him, how can we expect Him to continue blessing us? But what would happen if all us Christians who live in American started being the revival we want to see? What if we lived every day as though we were on a mission field? We should, because we are. We are not at home in this world, we are on a mission from God to spread his news to every corner of the earth. He has put us here in this country at this time for a reason. We need to shine all the brighter as the blackness around us grows darker. White on grey is harder to see then white on black, and it's when the situation around us gets black that God's light will be seen.
Okay, I wasn't trying to change the subject. :) It's just something that's really been on my mind.
Anyway, that's pretty much it for this post. I hope you all have had a blessed 2015 and are looking with anticipation to 2016!
God bless you all and your families!
~Jesseca

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Praise!

So, dad went in for his appointment this morning and it is not a blood clot! The ultrasound showed that there is an abscess on his elbow, so they are switching antibiotics and giving him a stronger one that will hopefully take care of it. 
Thank you guys so much for all your prayers and sweet comments! They mean a lot. :) 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Update

Hi y'all! I thought I'd post a quick update for you guys. Thank you so, so much for all your prayers! They are so appreciated!
On Saturday night dad was about the same, so we weren't planning on church the next morning. The swelling hadn't gone down and he was still in quite a bit of pain.
Sunday morning he said he was feeling better. He was able to get up and do more then he had since before Christmas. We listened to a message together as a family and just had a really restful day which was such a blessing. Dad seemed to be doing better and we were all very thankful for that.
Then. . .Sunday night, dad's arm started hurting again and the swelling increased. The past few days he had been able to get the pain under control with ice and ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen, but now nothing was helping. He had a fever and chills and he just really wasn't doing well. He SHOULD have gone to the ER (the Dr. said that if he got a fever, he should go) but. . .have I mentioned my dad is stubborn? So mom stayed up with him most of the night; he was hurting so bad he couldn't get comfortable and sleep.
Today he called our family Dr. and made an appointment for this afternoon. He now has an app. scheduled for tomorrow morning to get an ultrasound done on his arm. The Dr. said that since the swelling hasn't gone down, there is the possibility that there may be a blood clot, which is what the ultrasound will find out. If there's not, it is just a really bad infection and he'll need to stay on strong antibiotics. Of the two, the infection would BY FAR be the better diagnosis! So please continue to keep him in your prayers.
Thank you all so much!!
~Jesseca

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Prayer Request. . .

Hi all my wonderful blog readers! I hope you are all having an amazing day-after-Christmas Saturday! :)
I would like to ask if you could keep my dad in your prayers. This past week on Wednesday he realized that his right elbow was swelling pretty bad. He had absolutely no idea why. He thought it might be a spider bite, so he decided just to wait and see how it looked the next day.
It seemed to be the same Thursday morning and it had started to hurt pretty bad. He thought about going to see our family doctor but the office was closed because it was Christmas eve. He didn't think it was quite bad enough to go to the ER, so he went to work. By the time he came home Thursday evening and it was hurting so bad he could hardly move it.
But. . .my dad is stubborn and he insisted he was fine so we went to church as we had planned. The service was finished and we were about ready to leave when our family doctor (yes, we attend the same church) walked over and greeted dad. They talked for a little while and dad mentioned that he had almost called to make an appointment to see him because of his arm, but of course the office had been closed.
The doctor asked which arm and took a look at it. He didn't think it was a spider bite, but he thought it might be Bursitis. Either that or it was an infection. He told dad to watch it and if it got any worse to call him and he would call in an antibiotic to one of the 24-hour pharmacies.
Well, we left church and headed to our Grandparents and celebrated Christmas eve with them, and then headed home and went to bed.
Christmas morning dad seemed okay. He had been on ibuprofen around the clock, which the doctor had recommended, and while his elbow was still swollen, it didn't seem to be any worse.
But by late afternoon Christmas day it had gotten worse. It was hurting to the point he had to move it with his left arm and he couldn't even lift it on its own.
Right before we started our Christmas dinner dad called the doctor who called in a prescription for a strong antibiotic.  The doctor told him to take one that night and then at intervals the next day, and if it hadn't gotten any better in twenty-four hours, he should go to the ER.
Well, this morning when dad woke up his elbow was red and hot and even more swollen, if that was possible.  Right now he is resting, but if there hasn't been any marked improvement, mom may take him into the ER tonight. He hasn't been his normal self at all these past few days and we can all tell it's hurting him really bad.
My mom is also really tired and she hasn't gotten the rest she needs for the past few days now. If you could just keep them both in your prayers, we would be so grateful.
Dad has his CT scans and his cancer check-ups this next week, so we would so appreciate your prayers for how all this turns out, since the antibiotic will interfere with some of his tests and of course, he can't go in until this issue with his right elbow is resolved.
Thank you all so, so much for all the times you've held up up in prayer in the past. Even in the darkest times, God sends his light!
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. :)
~Jesseca

Friday, December 25, 2015

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2015!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!!! I hope you all are having an amazing time as you gather together with family to celebrate the Savor's birth.
I heard this song on the radio the other day and it's quickly made it's way to the top of my favorite Christmas songs.

Below is a really pretty narration I found of the reason we celebrate Christmas. (a.k.a Luke chapter 2) Merry Christmas to you and your family! And remember that Jesus was born to die. Born to die, so that we could live.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The awesome food tag!!

Hey everyone! Okay, so Blessings Counter from Counting Your Blessings One By One tagged me for this a looonnggg time ago. Like, embarrassingly long ago, but I haven't had the time to get it up until now. I was also tagged by Lauren from Lauren's Amazing World and Indi Raine from Raine's Reads. Thank you all so much for tagging me and I'm super sorry it's taken me so long to get it up!!
The rules:
1). Thank the person who nominated you, as well as link to their blog.
2). Answer the 10 questions provided.
3). Come up with 10 more questions that relate to food.
4). Nominate at least 5 people.
5). Let those people know they've been nominated.

And here are Blessing's questions first! :) 

1. Chocolate or vanilla?
Chocolate of course! Always chocolate. ;) Chocolate is my weakness. Which is bad. But yeah, CHOCOLATE!!!

2. Favourite dessert? 
Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. It's soooo good. ;) 

3. Imagine that it's freezing cold, there's lots of snow, and you just came in from playing outside. Would you prefer to drink hot chocolate or coffee?
Apple cider! Oh, that wasn't one of the choices? Then definitely coffee. But just black without anything in it. I don't especially like coffee with sugar. 

 4. Favourite pie/cake?
Cheesecake. That sorta counts as both, right? I mean, it's shaped like a pie, but it has the word "cake" in it's name.

5. What is a dessert that you love making/is the easiest thing you can make?
Hmm, well I love making any dessert! Apple pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate cake, cheesecake. . .yeah they're all some of my favorites that I enjoy making. The easiest thing? Probably our 5-ingredient "cheesecake". It's super easy, quick to make, and everyone loves it. 

6. What is a meal that you love making/is the easiest thing you can make? 
Well, I love making a variety of meals. I'm in charge of our suppers, so I have to make sure I have a variety of meals planned for our weeks. One of the easiest things would probably be scalloped potatoes and ham. Everyone loves them and they're easy enough I can whip them together while I'm watching a movie. (And just so you don't think I cook in the living room, our living room and kitchen are semi-connected and I can watch the TV from the kitchen. ;) ) 

7. Is there a food that you hope that you'll never have to eat in your life time?
Sushi. Just looking at it makes me feel sick. I don't know why, I'm just weird that way. 

8. The strangest dish you've ever eaten?
Well, my dad grew up in Brazil, so we've had a lot of Brazilian dishes. The strangest was probably Fejoada. It's made with pork and traditionally the feet of the pig are used in it as well. I've only had it once or twice, though my dad loves it!

9. Favourite mealtime? Why?
Supper. Because that's when we're all sitting around the table together. Dad usually isn't home for breakfast or lunch. :) 

10. How do you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? :) 
Get two pieces of bread, spread peanut butter on one side, and then with a new knife spread the jelly on top of the peanut butter.  When you're finished, place the 2nd slice of bread on top. 


Okay, now Lauren's questions! :) 

1. What's your favorite type hot chocolate? (Dark chocolate, mint chocolate, with whipped cream, etc)
Peppermint hot chocolate!! :) With marshmallows. Of course, Raspberry hot chocolate is pretty good too!

2. What's your favorite type of sandwich?
Meat and cheese sandwich with dill pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise and mustard. 

3. Favorite place to eat out and why?
Applebees! We go there as a family every once-in-a-while. It's about the only one we all go to together, so that's probably one of the reasons I like it so much. 

4. Favorite Christmas cookie?
Sugar cookies! Our piano teacher makes the best sugar cookies and she gives them to us on our last piano lesson before Christmas. They're sooo good!

5. Favorite part of Thanksgiving day meal?
Cranberry relish! Of course, the pumpkin pie is good too!

6. How do you eat your dinner? (do you eat each different food by itself or do you mix foods together etc,)
I usually eat the vegetables first, then the side dish, then the main dish. When my plate is clear, then I'll get salad. :)

7. Favorite candy?
Sour skittles! Or chocolate truffles. We don't get either very often, so they're a special treat. 

8. Favorite carnival food?
Cotton candy! 

9. Favorite food to make over a fire?
S'mores! I love making them over our campfire in the summer!! And of course they're amazing! 

10. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Rocky Road ice cream. Oh, that's not very healthy, is it? Okay. . .taco salad! We don't have it very often and it's one of my favorite meals!


Annnndddd. . .Indi's questions!!

1.) Do you like oranges or apples best?
Apples. Because I can eat them while i'm reading without their juice getting all over the pages of my book. ;) 

2.) Do you prefer whipped cream or ice cream with pie?
Whipped cream!! It's usually not quite so sweet, which I like!

3.) What is your favourite berry? 
Blakcberries! We hardly ever get them! When we went to the west coast this past summer they were EVERYWHERE!!!! And they were all sooo good !

4.) Have you ever eaten sushi? If so, did you like it? If not, would you want to try some? 
Tried it once and really, REALLY didn't like it. Never want to have to eat it again!

5.) Do you like your food separated on your plate, or can different items touch?
I don't really care, but I generally don't like it when my sweet things get into the salty foods.

6.) Have you ever eaten apple sauce on pizza?
What??? Nope, never thought of it. Not sure if I'd like it or not. . . ;) 

7.) What is your favourite drink (non-alcoholic, you understand!)?
Iced black tea! I normally add some stevia and lemon/lime juice to it. I drink it all day. My siblings tease me by saying it is possible to live without iced tea, but I always shake my and say it's not. Dad and I are about the only ones who actually enjoy iced tea, so I'm happy. It means I don't have to share. B-) 

8.) What colour of icing would you use if you were decorating your own cake?
Yellow! I love the color yellow! 

9.) What jelly bean flavour is your favourite?
Well, we don't have jelly beans too often, but I really like the green apple. The marshmallow is really good too!

10.) Have you ever eaten a raw oyster or other kind of sea food?
Nope! We don't have seafood very often. :) 

Well, that's all of them!! That you all for tagging me; I had fun answering the questions! 
And I nominate:

Rishona at Theraublog

Rebekah at Rebekah's blog

Lydia at C'est La Vie

And here are my questions for them!

1: What is your favorite thing to cook?

2: What is your favorite kind of chocolate? (i.e. dark chocolate, milk chocolate etc.)

3. What is your favorite kind of seafood?

4. Favorite fruit?

5. If you could have any food you wanted for breakfast, what would it be? (In other words, what is your favorite breakfast? :))

6. What is your favorite cookbook?

7. It's a hot summer day. What do you want to eat/drink cool off?

8. What is your favorite "fictional" meal? (a meal you've read about in a book and wanted to try.)

9. You just came in from sledding. What do you want to eat/drink warm up?

10. Have you ever utterly ruined a meal? If so, what was it? (I know, it's sorta a mean question. . . ;))

I know I'm supposed to tag five people. . . but I think everyone else has already been tagged. Of course, I'd LOVE to hear all you guy's answers to the questions in a comment. :) 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving!

Hey everyone! Wait, what?! How is Thanksgiving already? Oh, well. I guess it was bound to come. And it's my favorite holiday so. . yeah. ;) I was thinking back on our past thanksgivings and there is just so much to be thankful for! Two years ago our thanksgiving was so different. . .so I thought I'd write a quick post comparing the two. God's been so good to us this year (well, He is every year :) ) and I am so grateful for all He's blessed us with!

Thanksgiving Day 2013
The smells of Thanksgiving wafted through the house. The turkey had just been carved by Dad and I was pouring the punch and making sure the food had all been set on the table. The pies were cooling on the stove and the whipped cream had been stuck in the freezer so it would stay cold until it was time for dessert. The playlist of instrumental hymns was playing softly, providing a peaceful background as well as adding to the festiveness of the day.
On the surface, everything appeared normal. The smiles, the laughter, they were all there. But this year, something was different.
My eyes wandered over to the living room where Dad sat talking to the family we had invited over from church. He seemed normal, but this year the smile didn’t quite reach his eyes and the tiredness was still there.
A few minutes later mom said we were ready to eat and dad called everyone to the table. Once we were all seated, he took the Bible off the shelf and read some verses out of 1st Thessalonians chapter 5. Yes, thanksgiving seemed to be the same, but this year it was so, so different.
This year, the nagging fact that it might be the last time Dad was there with us added a more sober feeling.
You see, Dad had been diagnosed with a fast growing cancer and at that time, the doctors had no idea where the cancer had started. With the information we had, it seemed very probable that it might be Dad’s last thanksgiving.
Yet, we still had so much to be thankful for. Dad and mom were home after their trip to Seattle and we were together again. There was also the very special gift we had been given just the week before when the doctors decided to wait to start radiation. The way it was set up, he would not have to start until after thanksgiving and there would be whole week with no treatment during Christmas. We were going to treasure every last important day with dad because we knew it might be the last.
This year, I was thankful that he was still able to be with us, that he was still able to sit and the head of the table and join in our conversation. This year was special because Dad was there and we were all so thankful for that!

Thanksgiving day 2015
I am surrounded by family as the delicious smells swirl throughout the house. I know many of my siblings will refuse to eat much for breakfast because they want to eat all they can for the midday meal. I’m helping with the cooking so I get to sample it all. *smiles*
God has given me so many gifts this past year. I know many of you have heard them before, but I’d like to take the time to list two of them hear.
First, this year we as a family were able to go on a vacation to the west coast. My mom asked me later what my favorite part of our time was. My answer? The time in the car driving together. Now don’t get me wrong, the family and friends we were able to see and meet was also a HUGE highlight of our trip, but more than all that I just loved traveling together. The games we played, the silly songs and stories we made up, all that was so special.
Second, this year I was able to meet two very dear friends in person. This was very special to me because I had appreciated their friendship so much over the past year or so and being able to actually meet them in person was amazing!
And, of course I'm thankful for books! Just had to add that because without books. . .yeah. Life would be quite boring without them. ;)
God has given me so many blessings this year and I have so much to be thankful for. If I tried to list them all I’m sure they would fill quite a few pages. But at the top of those pages would be what I am most grateful for. My salvation through Jesus Christ. I mean, guys, who else can say that they have an everlasting hope? A hope that transcend even death? Only those of us who have been saved through the blood that was shed on the cross can say that! And that is a gift that we should be thanking our Saviour for every day of the year, not just on Thanksgiving.
So, anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful day as you gather with your family or friends and remember some of the blessings of the past year. Remember, God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good! Even when it may not seem like it, He is! And we have so much to give thanks for!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!! :)

And what would thanksgiving be without music?! I found this awesome medley with three of my favorite "Thanksgiving" hymns! I LOVE this time of year! :D :D

1 Thessalonians 5:18 In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day

I wrote up this quick post based on an actual experience I had this past week. I know it's short, but. . .it said what I wanted to say. :)

I walked into the museum and walked straight to the gift shop, already knowing exactly what I wanted to buy. It wasn’t my first time there and I had been planning the trip for a while.
The man behind the counter smiled at me and asked if he can help with anything.  I point to the item I need and since I’m getting it personalized, he hands me the form I need to fill out.
As I’m filling in the information we get to talking, and because of an earlier reference, he asks if "my David" is in the air force.
I smile and shake my head and he nods and says he was just curious. Then, in an almost faraway tone of voice, he mentions that he still has his dog tags from when he served.
That captured my attention and I glanced up from my writing. “Were you in the service?”
He nods. “Yes, I served in Vietnam.”
Paper and pen completely forgotten, I ask what division of the armed forces he served in.
“I was in the air force, served there for four years.” His tone is very matter of fact.
“Were you in Vietnam?” I ask.
He shakes head and smiles almost sadly. “No, but I was in Korea while we were fighting in Vietnam.”
“My grandpa was in that war,” I smile and shrug. “He won’t talk about it at all.”
The man nods and I can tell he understand why. “It definitely wasn’t one of the best wars we were involved in.”
“Yeah, I’ve read a little about it for research. A lot of what I’ve read says the same thing; nearly every man who came out of Vietnam alive knew at least one person who hadn’t.”
He nods, “yeah, that'd be about right.”
I go back to filling out the information and then hand him the forms. He takes them and assures me they’ll call me just as soon as the items I ordered were ready.
I leave the museum and think about the conversation. Just how many veterans have had to come back from a war and had to fit back into life at home?
After seeing the horror of war, how many men have come back to the states feeling as though they are a completely different person then they were when they left? They fought for us. They sacrificed for us, but do we show them that we are grateful? Do we appreciate their sacrifice? We should, because they have been willing to sacrifice their lives for us.
Veterans day is a day set aside for us to honor those who have served in any branch of the service, at any time, in any way. Today, let’s make an effort to thank those who have served our country and protected our freedoms. Because honestly, if it wasn’t for the soldier, our constitution, our way of life, and the freedoms we enjoy would be nothing. It’s the soldier who protects them all. It is the soldier who puts his line on the life for us. 
To all those who have served in any branch of the armed forces in any way, thank you for your sacrifice and service!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

WWII Battle!!!!!

So . . . this past weekend dad took 4 of my siblings and I down to El Dorado, Kansas for an event that I had been waiting MONTHS for. I literally had been counting down the weeks, days and hours until the event hosted by the WWII research center. . . the WWII battle reenactment!!! To say I was excited would be a HUGE understatement!! 
I'm sure that by now you all know of my fascination with WWII, so you can probably imagine how I was feeling. :) 
Anyway, it exceeded all of my expectations! I was not excepting it to be so real! The guns, the grenades, the soldiers etc. I mean, when the German commander speaks German throughout the battle? 
Yeah, that's just awesome! :) 
After the battle was over, some of the "Germans" were giving rides in the motorcycle, so Kezzy and Caleb took a ride in that. And then. . . we were able to shoot a WWII machine gun. Which was so totally awesome! Later on I realized that since I had shot a German machine gun I was technically shooting at the American allies. 
Oh well. :P 
After that I ended up talking to one of the German soldiers for a while. I asked a ton of questions and he showed me all the equipment the soldiers carried, let me feel the weight of the different weapons, explained their different uses, etc. It was so amazing! Plus he reminded me a lot of one of my characters. So I felt like I was talking to a character that had come to life, which of course got me inspired to write more. ;) 
So. . .I did remember to take some pictures! And I recorded about six minutes of the battle for you guys. :) (Well, it was for my mom too. . . ;) 

The German soldiers advancing onto the field. 
Getting into position. . .

One of the Germans threw some sort of smoke grenade or something of the sort. :P I don't know exactly what it was., but it
was awesome!
Allied soldier. . .
The battle
The German side. 
The battle is over and the German's are being rounded up by the allies. 
The German prisoners. 
This tent was carried on the soldiers's back, rolled up and fastened above his blanket. 
Typical German literature every German soldier carried
Benjamin shooting the machine gun. . .
Kezzy shooting it. . .
And. . .me. It was pretty awesome, but a lot heavier then I had expected! :) It was weird because it was so loud during the battle, but when you sat behind it, it seemed a lot quieter.
The other two siblings who went along took turns as well, but one of the pictures came out really bad and another sibling asked that I not post it. 
Okay, now the part you've all been waiting for. . . the recording! :D Enjoy!! You can view it: Here (Since blogger won't let me upload it 'cause the file is to large.) 
Well, that was my Saturday. :) I hope you guys all had an amazing weekend as well! I've thought about doing a post with random facts about WWII that I learned at the reenactment. Would that be something you all would like to see? It was nothing super outstanding, but I did learn a lot of things I didn't know before. :) 
Let me know!:D


Monday, October 26, 2015

Pen-pal visit!!

So. . .this post was supposed to be up a while ago, but...life. ;) Well, anyway, here it is now! :D       
About four weeks ago, Faith P. emailed me and said that their family was planning a trip west, and on their way home they would be coming through Wichita!! I was so excited!! We weren't sure exactly how/if everything would work out for us to meet,  but we were both praying that it would!
Our moms started emailing trying to figure out all the little details and then, on October 2nd, after weeks and days and then finally hours of counting down, we were able to FINALLY meet!! 
After months of emailing, chatting exchanging stories, doing research together and being completely crazy (well, okay, maybe not completely ;) we were finally able to meet! 
They didn't have a lot of time, so our families met at an ice cream shop and spent an hour and a half together. We had such an amazing time and I wish it could have been longer, but I'm so thankful it worked out! God is so good! :D 
Here are some pictures we took just before they left.

SO glad we were able to meet this sweet family! Sorry for the reflection, the flash on the camera was supposed to be off. . 
.apparently it wasn't. ;)
Oops, we weren't looking at the camera. . .

Ahh, there we go! Now we're looking in the right direction. Faith and I! So, SO excited we were able to meet in person!!! 

Our moms! A.K.A the people who made it possible. ;) 
Mom took this picture as we were saying goodbye. They weren't able to stay very long, but I'm so thankful it all worked out! I've said that a lot, haven't I? B-) 
So, yeah. We had a wonderful time together and we've all decided that we need to take a trip out to North Carolina to visit them sometime. We had a wonderful time of fellowship and. . .yeah.  Thanks for the visit, Faith!! :)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Were it not for grace. . .

Grace, grace, God's grace. Grace that is
greater than all our sin. 
(Julia Johnston)

If it were not for God's grace, just where would we be today? 
Aren't you thankful that we don't need to ever ask that question? God's marvelous grace has been given to us! Freely! All we need to do is believe on Him. 
I heard this song on the radio today and. . .wow. The words are so, so powerful! I won't say anything else because the song really does say it all. 








*picture verse found on pinterest 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Two years. . .

October 15th, 2013. Exactly two years ago today, I started this blog. Two full years ago.
But this post isn't just about the blog. Two years ago, my dad was diagnosed with cancer.
Well, okay, two years and two months. He was diagnosed in August of 2013. I was planning on doing a post on the exact date, but we were on vacation, so I thought I would combine the two posts together.
I look back, and so, so, much has changed.
My parents have changed.
My life has changed.
I  have changed.
But do you know what? I can look back and say that my dad being diagnosed with cancer was one of the best things that ever happened.
Okay, let me explain.
When my dad was diagnosed with cancer, it was a shock to everyone. Sure, he hadn't been feeling great, but. . .cancer?
The official diagnosis took a few days to sink in, and then chaos erupted. Literally. No one in our little area of the world had even heard of my dad's cancer. The doctors couldn't figure out where the cancer had started, but it had already traveled to his lymph nodes. As far as we knew, it was a rare, aggressive cancer. And there were no treatments. Chemo didn't do a thing to his kind of cancer, so it wasn't even an option.
After studying the cancer for a few weeks, my parents found that there were 3 areas in the U.S that researched the kind of cancer my dad had. It was so rare they were still researching it, trying to find a treatment that worked.
One of the research centers was located in Seattle, WA at the University of Washington State. Technically, they never should have been able to go. But God provided in miraculous ways. My Grandma and Aunt from California offered to traveled out here and stay with us, and one of dad's friends from college offered to buy their plane tickets. A guy my dad works with had family in WA, and my parents were able to stay with them while he was having the doctors visits.
And so, less then two months after the official diagnosis, my parents were on there way to Seattle.
I can't describe the feelings that went through me as they left. Fear. Uncertainty. Confusion. But it didn't matter. As the oldest child with my parents being gone, I was the one my siblings looked to.
I steeled myself, blocking out all emotion and turned to the task that was ahead of me. I didn't let myself cry or tell anyone else how I was feeling. I was fine. I could handle it. I never showed any emotion. I did was was required of me, then found something else to do that would keep me busy and keep my mind off everything else. I told myself I could handle it. I would handle it.
But I couldn't.
I would have nightmares that my dad had died and I never had the chance to say good bye. I would wake up with tears streaming down my face.
And it was then, that God made himself real to me.
There came a time when He was the only one I could turn to. No one else understood what I was going through, no one else understood the pain and hurt I felt.
But He did. There came a time I couldn't hold on anymore. I let go, and He was there to catch me. I didn't have to act anymore. I didn't have to be strong because He was strong for me! I didn't have to do it in my own strength. I couldn't. But instead I could lean on Him, trusting Him to get me through the storm.
And do you know what?
He did. Just like He always does.
Cancer is one of the best things that ever happened because it brought me closer to Jesus.
But He didn't only carry me through it, He provided so many blessings along the way!
Through the trials of cancer, I discovered my love for writing.
I had never written before any of this happened. I read a lot, but other then what was required for school, I didn't write much at all. After dad was diagnosed with cancer, I needed something, anything to get my mind off reality if only for a few minutes. So I started writing. Just little stories at first, but then longer ones. I realized then that I LOVED writing. The rest is. . .history. ;)
Through this blog, I was able to meet some of the most amazing people. Seriously, looking back I can't imagine a time when I didn't know you guys! It has been so amazing to get to know some of you!
I have also had opportunities to get to know people I would never have met had it not been for the cancer. Also, the many days going back and forth between the hospital and our home when dad was having radiation showed me my love for all things medicine.  Lord willing within the next 1-2 years I will be able to enroll in a nursing program at our local community college.
Now fast-forward two years. Two years since the cancer diagnosis, Dad is closer to normal then he was before the cancer. And there has been no cancer activity in his body since the radiation treatments ended in January of 2014. We were able to take a family vacation this year, the first since the cancer diagnosis. I was able to meet two very dear friends and pen pals this summer and I have started my senior year of highschool. I'm still learning, still growing, but I'm different then I was two years ago. I have changed. It puts Job 23:10 in a whole new light. 'But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.'
I have learned that I can't shun cancer as an enemy, I can't embrace it as a friend, but I can accept it as something God has brought into my life for His perfect reason.
I'm not saying I have everything down. Trust me, I don't! There are still times I struggle to see exactly why God is doing what He's doing. But I have to remind myself that God sees the end of the road. He sees things I can't see. There are still times I doubt any good can come from what is going on, but then I have to remember that even in the midst of it, God is there. I'm just so thankful that He always welcomes us back with open arms!
The trials God brings into out life are for our good. Maybe we can't see it at the time. In fact, it is very hard to see it when everything that is happening . But later on, when we're able to step back and see how everything has changed, we can see God's hand through what has happened. And honestly, I can't wait to get to heaven and see how all the little pieces of our life fit into the big picture God has in mind. I mean, can y'all just imagine how exciting that will be?!
Am I saying it's easy? No!  Fully trusting God and surrendering to Him can be one of the hardest things you will ever do.
Just remember.
He has a reason.
He is faithful.
And He will bring you through it!
Two years, and yet so, so much has changed. But there is something that will never change. God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good!

Monday, October 12, 2015

WWII museum trip!!!

A couple weeks ago I was so thrilled to realize there was a WWII museum/history center that was only 40 minutes away from our house!! If you've been following my writing blog for any amount of time, you know I am slightly obsessed with that time period. Dad took my sister and I there on Saturday, September 5th and we had an amazing time! I actually uploaded these pictures and planned to have this post done a loonggg time ago. But. . .life. ;) Anyway, here are the pictures I took. Excuse the horrible quality. . .I was using my dad's phone camera.  Some of the pictures are numbered because there are two parts. The actual picture, and the description.

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A silk map that was issued in 1944 and given to all the allied fighter pilots. Is showed the escape routes and safe areas for them to go if their plane crashed. It was kept sewn into their uniforms so that if they were captured and searched by the enemy, no one would be able to find them. The map had actually been donated like an hour before we got there!
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Standard Red Cross nurses's uniform issued during WWII.

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#2. Description. (Although I'm sure all of you know what it is. ;) 

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Model 1940s american living room. The radio actually played speeches by the British prime minister, and American president which was really cool! 



At the bottom of this soldier's letter it says V-Mail. The story behind "V-Mail" is quite fascinating! You can read an article on it here. (Since I'd rather not copy and paste the whole thing! ;) ) 


The letter that was read to the troops the night before D-Day. 


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#2. Description. El Dorado is the town where the museum is, about 40 minutes from Wichita.

Well, that's all of them! I had such an amazing time! The museum also has a research library that has shelves full of books about WWII. Like a room full of shelves. I told my dad I could have been there for another 2 hours and still felt like I hadn't seen everything. ;) I ended up coming back with 8 or 9 books, which have been invaluable in my research!
The day we went we were the only ones there, and so the man there ended up sorta being our personal tour guide. He was so helpful and it was amazing to learn more about my favorite time period. We got to the museum around 2:45pm. It closed at 4:00 and since it was small, dad though an hour would give us more then enough time.
Well. . .we were there until. 4:45pm. ;) Anyway, I'm sure by now you have heard enough to know that I LOVE the museum. We're planning another trip there at the end of this month and I'm sooo excited!! :D Also, there is a WWII battle re-enactment sponsored by the museum in November, which I'm also super excited about! ;)
I hope y'all are having an amazing week! I'll try to get back to more regular posts some time this week. . .or maybe next week. :)