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. :)