wait…it’s 2017?!

Soooooo where have I been?… Welp, yeah I’ve been busy…procrastinating. But hey–new year, new me!! I actually promise this time that I won’t forget this blog. I WILL be posting more. At least once a week…i promise. Anyway, brief update: I’m in my last semester of high school???????? Kinda in shock. Still waiting on college application responses.

As I reflect on 2016, I am reminded that through all the struggles, there were tons of blessings. I made great memories at chorus trips, made new friends, learned a lot, tried new things. Let’s not forget the good things in every day. As I enter 2017 I’m reminded of all the good things in life and to make the most of every opportunity. I’m excited for this year. New things. Scary things. 2017 is the year of graduation and the start of college. However, I’m going to take advantage of these changes and live life to the fullest.

So, yeah. This was super random and short, but just wanted to tell you I haven’t forgotten about you guys and I plan on investing more time in 2017 on this blog.

 

Cheers!

Ashley-Anna

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if i could change one thing it’d be the objectification of women.

So HEY! Sorry I’ve been so distant from this blog :'(. College applications are so annoying…BUT I’ll be back at this again soon!

Anyway, here’s an essay I wrote asking me if I could change one thing in this world what would it be and why. Soooo here ya go.

I constantly feel watched. Spied on and followed. There are eyes everywhere, looking up and down. Searching, scanning, comparing, humiliating. I pull my shorts a little lower and hold my head up higher, confidence is key. Welcome to a typical day in the life of a woman. The objectification of women is a term thrown around a lot these days. Feeling helpless in a world held under the impression that they exist solely for sexual pleasure, women attempt to ease their conscience. “All men are sick.” “It’s not my fault.” “That’s just how it is.” They are brushing over a problem assumed unsolvable. If I were able to resolve one issue it would be the objectification of women, for the improvement of society and women everywhere.

The objectification of women has seeped into nearly every aspect of society. At a young age, I found myself in line at the grocery store, my eyes scanning magazine covers, wondering if that was what I would look like when I grew up. When I watched movies, TV, went to the mall, or simply saw a magazine, I was being indoctrinated that that was how I was supposed to look. It is ironic that society expects you to look “perfect,” yet they do not tell you how. They leave out little details like surgery, makeup, unhealthy eating habits, pressure, money—lots of money. In the real world, there is no Photoshop. No two women are the same. Humanity comes in a variety of beautiful shapes, sizes and colors. Nevertheless, girls around the world grow up with the presupposition that there is only one way to look to be considered important.

It saddens me that this world has limited women’s importance to appearance. So much so that women everywhere feel vulnerable in nearly all places. Cultures around the world have attempted to shelter women from objectification. Being part Arabic, I have seen this firsthand. A few months ago as I sat down with my cousin from Saudi Arabia at a coffee shop, I realized to what extreme this “sheltering” has gone. With an innocent smile on her face and in broken English, my cousin told me how lucky I was to be a girl in America. “I cannot even go to the movies back home,” she explained. “I can’t wear my hair down.” I will never forget that conversation. We were two girls from different sides of the world, yet we had the same problem.

I no longer want to feel watched. I do not want to be spied on or followed, scanned or humiliated. I do not want to be objectified. I know there are other girls around the world who feel the same way. Whether you are like my cousin, feeling punished, or like me, feeling violated, you are not helpless. I dream of the day I can walk down the street with neither insecurities nor shame, but with satisfaction both with the world around me and with myself.

 

im not a senior…

Why, HELLO! It has been too too long…as usual. When was the last time I posted? 2 months ago? Okay, that’s NOT ok. I promise things will change! But before I start plunging into this blogging thing again, here’s a recap of my summer and an update on me.

If you can recall, I hated junior year. Thankfully, however, this summer almost-just almost-made up for the dreaded past school year. I had fun this summer. Period. end of conversation. I. Had. Fun. You know how normally at the end of summer you’re just like “I didn’t do anything…?” Well, this was not one of those summers for me. While a lot of great things happened to me this summer, the highlight has to be my trip to New Orleans. Let me be blunt here. I did not like New Orleans AT ALL. The city just wasn’t for me. Why was it the highlight then? I went to NOLA with my chorus to perform with 200 other kids from around the US. We got to perform in an amazing cathedral and received excellent training and musical experience. I grew even closer to the girls in my chorus. I made some amazing memories.

In addition to NOLA, this summer I was a mentor at a children’s choir camp and got to teach theory for two weeks-that was also a great experience. My aunt and cousin from Saudi came down (I had never met them so it was awesome). My great friend from Maryland visited. Lastly, and to me most importantly, I spent time with some awesome people. This summer I really got to enjoy some of my friends and grow closer to them. I think that’s something that can get lost amidst the hustle and bustle of the school year. Friendships are forever and it’s important to invest in them.

So there you go! My summer 2016.

And now for an update on me…

I’m a senior. Well, apparently I am. I don’t think it’s true, though. It’s impossible! How can I be a senior?! It feels like it was just yesterday when I entered high school. Most people get so excited for senior year. “It’s finally over!” they all say. Well, for me, I don’t want it to be over. As a homeschooler, I’ve made irreplaceable memories throughout school. All those hours of my mom reading to me as I sipped my coffee, those days when we would spend time just studying nature and enjoying the outdoors, the two hour deep convos we’d have on art and culture and history and theology, even the simple moments like when I walk around my house reading in my robe while eating cookies (all in the name of education, of course). This was-is-school for me. I don’t want it to end. But, that’s just how life goes. There are a couple different stages in life and I’m entering a new one. Yeah, it’s sad that my childhood (which was so great) is coming to an end, but I’m excited for what the future holds. BUT…IT’S NOT OVER YET! And, because it’s just the beginning of senior year, I’m going to hold onto my youth for dear life. And when I graduate, and only then, will I agree to shift into the new stage of my life. Thankfully, I learn from my many mistakes and am therefore only taking one AP this year :D. Boy will life be easier *and more enjoyable*. I’ll also have a lot more time to do things like blogging.

So, yeah, I guess I’m a senior. But I just have to make the most of it!

“See” you soon. I promise this blog won’t fade away.

XO,

Ashley-Anna

Women, it’s about time things changed.

So there’s something that’s been on my mind for a while…

Women. Nearly 100 years ago on August 18, 1920, us women were given the right to vote. Ever since, equality between women and men has increased. Well, we would think so, right? For a while, this was true. From voting, to military rights, to equal pay, things have been looking up for women. In a legal way, at least. But there’s still that mindset. That degrading mindset that will–no matter how many laws are passed–force women into one role. Or, should I say, one “object.”

It seems that now, a “free” woman (one that can do what she wants) is anything but free. Even subconciously women are still in bondage. In bondage from men. And, no, not in the superficial way. Thankfully, in the 21st century, women can have whatever job they want, they can vote, wear pants, and run for president. However, that’s not what I mean when I say women are in bondage. In fact, this culture and these laws, while good, have altered the role of women. They’ve made the roles of women, that of men’s. I believe, this is a main reason why women are in such bondage today. A woman should be able to be a woman and be proud of it. Instead, it seems as though, in order to succeed in careers and other life things, a woman must take on a man’s personality. They feel pressured to be hard, strict, tough, strong, big…unnatural. They feel that they must suppress their natural women tendencies to succeed in a man’s world. Why is it that in order to be viewed with respect, women must begin acting like men? Men should be able to view women as women and still respect them. But, unfortunately, women feel like they must take on a man’s personality to gain this respect. I believe this stems from an even greater issue. Which leads me to my main point. The objectification of women. What’s up with that?

Yep, I said it. You’ve probably heard it a million times, “the objectification of women.” But, let’s be honest, no matter how many  women have stood up and fought for this issue, nothing has changed. Actually, this issue has just gotten worse over time. From billboards, to commercials, to movies, to even reporters, women are portrayed and valued by their physical beauty. Unnaturally so. This value has forced women at a young age to begin viewing themselves poorly. The self-esteem of girls now-a-days is incredibly low. Eating disorders are prominent. Plastic surgery is promoted. Beauty products are prevalent. The sexual abuse women face everyday is sickening. But, sadly, it has become a part of a woman’s everyday life. Without even realizing it, women are in bondage. Girls, let’s be honest. Would you really straighten your hair, contour your cheeks, and wear that low v-neck shirt with a push-up if there were only girls in the world? I don’t think so. Every time a girl gets ready for HER day, subconsciously men are controlling her. It’s sad. It’s twisted. It’s wrong. And, while this realization and change must first take place in women’s minds, it then has to take place in men’s. For the most part, I don’t believe most men (and, of course, not all men) even realize the effect they are having on women and the entire culture.

Women it’s time to change.

But…men, it’s time to change too.

Change your perception and standards.

Once, if ever, this is done, everything else will change for women. A gentle, kind, and motherly figure will be prized. Because if the objectification of women ends, then women will be able to be themselves. They will feel free to be the person they were created to be. A woman can be a woman and be confident about themselves, too. They can do whatever they set their mind to, but they won’t have to change to get there.

It’s about time our culture changes the way we view women. The sooner, the better. But this is a joint effort. Women and men must change their mindsets. The media, must change. Everything must change. And it’s all for the better.

salutations. i survived junior year.

Well, hello there. Yes, it is I. I am back from the dead. Okay, no I didn’t die, but I went through my junior year…same difference. With that being said, I’m officially a senior! (Is this even possible?…) But, boy, have I learned a lot this past year. Good and bad. But every experience is sent our way for a reason. Junior year definitely stretched me academically–that’s no doubt–but it also stretched me spiritually and emotionally. It seemed that during my junior year everything around me began changing. I hate change. But whatcha gonna do? I was forced to change some things, learn some things, and move on from some things. Everything that happened, while I might’ve strongly disliked it at the time, pushed me toward improvement within my life. So basically what I’m saying is that I’m a new person! Well, no. Don’t worry, I’m still the same old me ;), but I’m an improved version of me.

Anyway, I want to apologize for my extended absence. Aaaaaand, yeah I say this all the time, I am again going to be committed to this blog and that’s final! (Granted I’ve also said that a bajillion times…but I truly mean it.)

So here we go Summer of 2016! Let’s see what’s up with you.

Always lots of love,

Ashley-Anna

the top five books to read on a rainy day

Way over a month has gone by since my last post… Oh dear readers, please forgive me! But, I’ve been busy…okay, okay–maybe not so busy as to not blog at all, but hey! I’ve been busy enough!

But, because of my long absence, I will reward you guys with a long “real” post. AKA not just a quote or verse ;).

So let’s just get to it!

top five books to read on a rainy day

one. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

For some reason, when it rains, there’s an almost mysterious and dark vibe, especially if you are indoors. Jane Eyre is exactly that! Its strange and nearly horror filled plot is the perfect story to curl up with on a dreary, rainy day. It’s a long book, though, so prepare yourself. But boy is it worth it! Its characters are so rich and full of passion. Be prepared to shed a tear. Be prepared to get so frustrated you throw the book across the floor. Be prepared for weirdness. Be prepared for gripping dialogue. In general, just be prepared for awesomeness. Definitely #1 on this list!

two. Thr3e by Ted Dekker

Yes, it’s me, so there has to be a Dekker book somewhere on this list. Well, over my blogging break I read this book. Because you all know me and know how much I love Dekker, you’re expecting me to say: “AHHHHHHHH DEKKER IS AMAZING I LOVE IT I LOVE IT I LOVE IT!” Well, technically, yes. I love this book. I love Ted Dekker. But there was something special about this book. There was something more to it. And, going with the “creepy,” rainy day vibe, this book fits in perfectly. Let me tell you, it’s scary as heck. I found myself reading this and checking my window to make sure there wasn’t anything there. Legit serious.  But back to my point. This book has some serious plot twists. Like nothing I’ve ever read before. It will leave you truly contemplating the battle between good and evil that we have within us all. It is an amazing book and perfect for a rainy day! You will never get bored and will never leave that couch until it’s done!

three. The Hidden Hand by E.D.E.N. Southworth

This is another semi-creepy book that’s just perfect for a rainy day. It’s out of print, but it’s free on kindle so yay! It follows a total mystery about a young girl’s life and all the craziness she gets herself into. Super fun book to read when there’s nothing to do outside! Plus there are great plot twists that will leave you flying through those pages!

four. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

This book is just the cutest book in the world. It is complete fun! It will definitely make you laugh out loud and just in general entertain you. If you’re not into all that creepy stuff, then this book is perfect for you on a rainy day!

five. Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

This one’s pretty obvious. Who doesn’t like a classic mystery on a rainy day? And most of these are short stories so it’s perfect if you don’t have all day (*cough* Jane Eyre *cough*). And if you’re not a book person (you should be that’s weird if you’re not…), just watch the modern Sherlock BBC series. They are SO perfect for a rainy day…but that’s not the point of this list…books only! (hmm…maybe I should do a movie list too?).

well that’s all folks

So I hope I helped you out in some way. These books will surely get you through that gloomy, rainy day!  Read on my readers ;).

XO,

Ashley-Anna

 

 

authorly bucket list tag

So I was again tagged by Gabrielle! Thanks so much!

This tag is really awesome because it has to do with writing and “authors.” All I have to do is write three to seven things about writing that I’m not so great at and then list three to seven things regarding writing that I want to try. With that being said… let’s do this thing!

stuff I’m not so great at

slowing down

That might sound weird, but it’s so true! I have the HARDEST time slowing down my stories. I’m always way too fast paced and rushed. I jump right into the plot and don’t ever stop. It’s quite bad like c’mon Ashley pump the breaks!

good fortune

Okay, so for some reason, in like every story I’ve ever written, something horrible happens to the main character(s) within the first couple of chapters! I cannot give my characters good fortune. All they ever get is misfortune, it’s so sad! I really need to work on happiness for my characters :D.

patience

This is by far my BIGGEST problem when it comes to writing! I have so many great ideas in my head, but I don’t have the patience to sit down and write them. I know that once I start, it’s hard to stop, so I just avoid starting… not good, so not good…

endings

I am so very bad at endings. I start up real nice with strong emotion and action and then… just at the end… I lose it all. I have the hardest time ending the plot.

stuff I’d love to try

a children’s fiction series

I would absolutely LOVE to attempt a children’s series! When I was younger, books influenced me and inspired me in so many ways (they still do). They ignited my imagination and curiosity. I’d love to write books for kids that would do that. A series that would make kids want to read, without dumbing it down or going all stereotypical “kids” book.

a mystery

Since I’m the biggest Nancy Drew fan and have always been into mysteries, I’d love to attempt one! Maybe even go a little thriller with it too.

a first-person book on human trafficking

Human trafficking is a horrible, miserable, evil thing that unfortunately, yet prominently, exists in our society. It is slavery, but in a different form. I’d love to write a first person fiction of the life of a human trafficked girl. Maybe do some more research on the subject and interview some girls so it could be as realistic as possible. Just like Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (although not nearly as well written), I’d like to write a story that brings trafficking to life. That would wake up the world.

a fantasy

I would absolutely love, love, love to write a fantasy. A true fantasy. “Once upon a time” and all!

a deep comedy

That’s probably not the best way to put it. I’d like to write something that satirical, yet deep. Something with a lot of metaphor and irony. Like Alice in Wonderland. So much depth hidden beneath so much craziness.

that’s it people

Well, that ends this lovely tag! Maybe I’ll improve my weaknesses and one day attempt all my writing dreams!

tags

Before I forget, let me tag a few people to do this authorly bucket list!

Liv, Write, Repeat, A Robinson Aspiring Author, and My Writing Life.

Have fun guys!

XO

Ashley-Anna

SAT, why do you hate me?

So I took my first SAT today YAY! JUST KIDDING NOT YAY.

Okay, so yes I’m a high school kid and it’s perfectly normal for me to hate the SAT and complain about it. However, I don’t hate it because of the fact that it’s a 4 hour test… (I actually love taking tests and I love school sooooo–yes, I’m a nerd.) I hate the SAT because what’s supposed to be a “common denominator” for students entering college, is anything but that. Everyone is supposed to have an equal opportunity to succeed on the SAT, but that most certainly DOES NOT happen. In my opinion (the one that matters…), the SAT is a completely unfair test. NO ONE has an equal opportunity to succeed. So hey ETS (evil testing service), your tactics don’t work!

Why do I believe this? Well, it is proven that kids who come from higher income families achieve better scores than those from lower income families. Why? Oh, I wonder… Some parents can afford for their child to take an expensive prep course and have a pricey SAT tutor, others can’t. If they (ETS) really wanted to create a “common denominator”, SAT instructors should be illegal and tutoring not allowed… But that sounds like communism (well… I did mention they’re evil…).

Also, the material on the SAT is so not what kids learn in school. Wow, how nice of ETS! It’s not like high schoolers have enough HW already… But, NO, they expect us to learn and THOROUGHLY study completely new stuff and somehow fit that into our very busy schedules and still succeed! You know what? I’m really starting to think that ETS has the students’ best interests at heart :). Oh and remember, no stress! This test has nothing to do with what college you go to, what scholarships you get, or your future! HA… if only…

So yeah, there was a little rant for you :). Have a good weekend guys (and hopefully it hasn’t involved the SAT)…

Cheers,

Ashley-Anna

I take DC (for the millionth time) and I take TeenPact (for the 3rd time)

Well guys, it’s over. My much anticipated trip to Washington, D.C. has come and gone. And like the end of most camps, I am now experiencing the PTS of TeenPact’s Back to DC.

How do I start…

Well, first off, I LOVE DC SO MUCH! I’ve been to DC around 30 or more times, but it never gets old! I love, love, love it and it makes me so extremely happy and excited. Why do I like it so much? Good question! Being the nerd that I am, I obviously love the fact that I am surrounded by history everywhere I go when in DC. Museums seem to be omnipresent and aha they are free ;). The weather is perfect, the architecture is flawless, the society is intellectual, and the public transportation is on point (hehe I love the metro…). Oh and the food is greaaaat!

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that over with, let me talk about my actual TeenPact experience! If you don’t know what TeenPact is, well ya should because it’s awesome… TeenPact is a teen leadership/government/Christian camp. I’ve been to my state class twice, but this time I went to an alumni event *gasp* and alumni events are a whole lot different…

Walking in, you already can spot the “TeenPacters”: those kids who’ve been to every event and know everyone and are practically pros at this. These kids are your biggest threat. You feel like you have to be just like them to succeed at TeenPact. But of course me being me does NOT do this XD. Actually, when I scanned the room on the first day, the kids I thought were cool and going to be my future friends ended up not being that… and the kids I thought were nerds or snobs ended up not being nerds or snobs and ended up being my closest friends so–hey you never know what’s in store. After scanning the room, you wait in intense anticipation as to who will be your designated staffer. This my friends can either make or break your TeenPact experience. I’ve always had great staffers, but I’ve heard stories… Anyways, yes, the staffer. My staffer seemed pretty cool, but I was already having doubts about my group. Guess what? I knew absolutely nobody in my group–hooray! Yeah, this didn’t excite me at all. Actually, when I found that out, I was convinced that this TeenPact would be miserable (that was a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point). Thankfully, it was anything but that! My group ended up being the best (in my opinion). I made some really, really awesome friends and my staffer was like the greatest so yay! My group definitely gelled and we were legit awesome. Other than that, TeenPact truly was a fantastic learning experience. I learned so much in just a couple of days! I mean lectures, upon lectures, upon lectures (but they were all great). We had a mock campaign presidential election–which was super fun (I was speech writer ;) and we got to go to the Values Voter Summit! I heard a bunch of the GOP candidates which was such an amazing experience. They all were inspiring and great (except for Trump… I had to walk out…).

While all these things are great about TeenPact, the most important truly is how every teen grows closer to God. All these teens come together and worship God. It’s such a beautiful thing. One day, we got to have worship in front of the Lincoln Memorial. It was raining and cold, so we couldn’t bring out the guitar, but it was still amazing. The fact that we could do that is even more amazing. In many countries, we would have been killed!

When I go to TeenPact, I feel refreshed. I am reminded that there are actually other teens like me in this world! When I’m surrounded by these intellectual, smart, godly, ambitious teens who fear God and strive to make this world a better place, I truly am encouraged and convicted. Yes, I may be experiencing PTS because I miss everyone and everything about TeenPact, but I came back with renewed strength and am excited for what’s in store for me:).

Just for fun, here are some pictures from the trip :)

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The Capitol (but unfortunately, it’s under construction)

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Jefferson Memorial (AKA the best)

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Washington Monument (didn’t get to go up it, but it’s still super cool)

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“The Floor-Scrapers” by Gustave Caillebotte at the National Gallery of Art (it was a traveling gallery and it was incredible)

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Marco Rubio at the Values Voter Summit

Oh and just to let you know, my first SAT is this Saturday (I’m literally dying).

XO,

Ashley-Anna

milk tea book tag

Recently, my fellow blogger and writer nominated me for this book tag. Thanks Gabrielle! (go check out her blog please, it’s incredible) Anyways, I don’t know much about book tags… like at all… but I do know that I have to list a couple of my favorite books according to specific categories (milk, tea, sugar, ice, silk socking, ying yang) so here goes nothing! Oh, and before I forget, I’d like to nominate Stuck in a Textbook, Books j’adore, If Books Could Blog, The Bookshelf of Emily J., and last but not least thehipsterchristian.

tea: the foundation of my reading

Well, this is an easy choice for me! Without a doubt in my mind, it would be the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. The many adventures of Jack and Annie truly turned my view of reading from a school chore, to a fun adventure. I remember being 8ish and reading through one of these in a day! They made me so happy and if a new one came out, I was sure to have it asap. I still get excited talking about them :P.

milk: a smooth, rich book

Okay, this is a seriously hard choice! After much consideration, (I’ve been stuck here for like 25 min… still can’t decide). Here we go again, after MUCH consideration… I’ve decided on Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. I mean what a moving story! You MUST read this book! It really is touching and it grabs the reader’s attention very easily.

sugar: a book I love but is controversial

Oh The Hunger Games… My love-hate relationship for this series is strong! It was a page turner and it spiked so many emotions in me, however, I still can’t say that I love them. The main character, Katniss, is very stubborn and can be so annoying sometimes! Of course, since the books are in her perspective, I am constantly annoyed while reading them. She doesn’t end up with the guy I prefer, two of my favorite characters die, Katniss makes around only two good decisions in the ENTIRE series, and my favorite character leaves with no sense of laud or appreciation (which he rightly deserved). I read these and enjoyed them, but with so much annoyance. I’m not sure if you understood that at all, but the I love this series and I absolutely hate it too! (I don’t know if I stayed on topic, but it’s controversial to me so I guess… maybe?…)

ice: a book just for fun

This category is so vague and I can list so many… but I can only choose one sooooo… I choose Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. This book is the definition of fun, in my opinion. It is so peculiar and different, yet incredibly clever and amusing! It therefore makes my top 5 favorite book list ;). I literally have Alice in Wonderland stuff all over my room, that’s how much I love it! If you want to have a jolly good time ;), READ THIS BOOK!

silk socking: a book that is much better than it sounds

This is super easy for me. The Circle Series by Ted Dekker definitely wins! I mean the books are simply, Black, Red, White, and Green… like how weird! But oh, how good they are! Although Green is a bit too weird for my taste XD, but still amazing. These books are so, so, sooooo confusing and most people don’t know where to start (it’s literally a circle so you can work backwards or forwards… cool right?). The plot is crazy and all over the place, so most people can’t get through it, but if you do and you understand what’s going on… OH IT’S JUST SO GOOD! Black is one of my favorite books ever so I can go on and on about it, and Ted Dekker is my favorite author :). Just forget everything you’ve ever thought a story should be and become extremely open minded, then, these books will take you on an unforgettable adventure! If you want to know more about this series, check out this blog post, it reviews these books exactly like I would!

ying yang: a book with foreign influence

I had a tough time with this topic, however, I’ve settled on Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. This book (along with the entire series) was written in German. It takes place mostly in Italy. Of course, it has now been translated and therefore, I was able to read it ;). What a book! If you’ve seen the movie, please don’t automatically think the book will be just as bad!! The movie DOES NOT do this book justice! But, in all honesty, movies never do. Anyways, this book is the definition of fantasy! It’s so fun and exciting, I could definitely read it again and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone.

Well, that ends my book tag :(. Hope you guys enjoyed it! Oh, and I’m going to DC (like I said in an earlier post) this Friday!! So excited–oh my gosh! I’ll post a lot…

words can change the world

For pretty much all of my life I’ve loved to write. Although I’ve had my back-and-forths about careers, I’ve always been sure that I wanted to write. I struggled so long with how an “English” major was going to help the world. How could writing make a difference? Was choosing my passion for writing a selfish decision? Am I doing this because I want to, or because it’s the “right” thing to do? Recently, however, I’ve realized how important writing is. Society would not be where it is today without writers.

Consider Harriet Beecher Stowe. As Abraham Lincoln so aptly put it, she really was, “the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.” No, not because she wrote some great policy, or discovered a scientific phenomena. She simply wrote a book. A good one at that. In fact, she wrote a book that changed the world. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it, or had to read it for school. Stowe not only wrote a great fiction, but she took an entirely different perspective than her society’s on slaves and slavery. She humanized the slaves. She made them real, and they were. However, it took one small, weak woman to write about it in order to alter the minds of many people around 19th century America.

Let’s go even further back in history. Consider the Sumerians. (I’m actually completely obsessed with them and secretly wish I was Sumerian…) They’re writing (called cuneiform) is the oldest writing discovered by archaeologists. They kept records, did arithmetic, wrote poetry, and tapped into their religion and spirituality all because of writing. The written language shaped their entire culture and improved it.

Okay, now let’s talk about the present. Think about it. Elections can be won, decisions are made, news is spread and all because of writing. Without journalists, how would we know what’s going on in the world? Or even simple things such as DIY tips and helpful blogs. Again, because of that single person who decided to take the time and WRITE it. Think about text books. History books. Only when someone who knows a lot about history and also has the patience and will to sit down and WRITE about it, can we appreciate and learn history.

Religion. Take a few seconds to think about a couple of religions. Whether they be Christianity, Islam, or Mormonism (or many, many, many more), almost all or all of them have a foundation. A standard “rule book”. This book, well obviously, had to have been written. Therefore, many religions thrive on the written word… on WRITING.

Lastly (but not leastly… that’s not even a word… ANYWAY), writing tells us a lot about culture. What’s being written, how it’s being written, and when it’s being written gives us much insight about that writer’s particular culture.

A single blog post can change someone’s mind. A book can change the world. Writing can make a difference. Writing DOES make a difference. And now I know that by choosing writing (journalism, english, etc…), I’m not just following my passion, I’m making a difference. I am doing the write (see what I did there ;) ?) thing. I may not be discovering a new treatment or passing an important law, but I’m still impacting the world. In my small, little way I do and will make a difference. Because writing does, in fact, change the world.

Reblogged: What’s a Christian Worldview? (Focus on the Family)

This is an excellent article I had to read for my AP English class. Great reminder.

What’s a Christian Worldview?

A recent nationwide survey completed by the Barna Research Group determined that only 4 percent of Americans had a “biblical” worldview. When George Barna, who has researched cultural trends and the Christian Church since 1984, looked at the “born- again” believers in America, the results were a dismal 9 percent.

Barna’s survey also connected an individual’s worldview with his or her moral beliefs and actions. Barna says, “Although most people own a Bible and know some of its content, our research found that most Americans have little idea how to integrate core biblical principles to form a unified and meaningful response to the challenges and opportunities of life.”

1. What’s a worldview?

A worldview is the framework from which we view reality and make sense of life and the world. “[It’s] any ideology, philosophy, theology, movement or religion that provides an overarching approach to understanding God, the world and man’s relations to God and the world,” says David Noebel, author of Understanding the Times.

For example, a 2-year-old believes he’s the center of his world, a secular humanist believes that the material world is all that exists, and a Buddhist believes he can be liberated from suffering by self-purification.

Someone with a biblical worldview believes his primary reason for existence is to love and serve God.

Whether conscious or subconscious, every person has some type of worldview. A personal worldview is a combination of all you believe to be true, and what you believe becomes the driving force behind every emotion, decision and action. Therefore, it affects your response to every area of life: from philosophy to science, theology and anthropology to economics, law, politics, art and social order — everything.

For example, let’s suppose you have bought the idea that beauty is in the eye of the beholder (secular relative truth) as opposed to beauty as defined by God’s purity and creativity (absolute truth). Then any art piece, no matter how vulgar or abstract, would be considered “art,” a creation of beauty.

2. What’s a biblical worldview?

A biblical worldview is based on the infallible Word of God. When you believe the Bible is entirely true, then you allow it to be the foundation of everything you say and do. That means, for instance, you take seriously the mandate in Romans 13 to honor the governing authorities by researching the candidates and issues, making voting a priority.

Do you have a biblical worldview? Answer the following questions, based on claims found in the Bible and which George Barna used in his survey:

  • Do absolute moral truths exist?
  • Is absolute truth defined by the Bible?
  • Did Jesus Christ live a sinless life?
  • Is God the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe, and does He still rule it today?
  • Is salvation a gift from God that cannot be earned?
  • Is Satan real?
  • Does a Christian have a responsibility to share his or her faith in Christ with other people?
  • Is the Bible accurate in all of its teachings?

Did you answer yes to these? Only 9 percent of “born- again” believers did. But what’s more important than your yes to these questions is whether your life shows it. Granted, we are all sinners and fall short, but most of our gut reactions will reflect what we deep-down, honest-to-goodness believe to be real and true.

3. How does a biblical worldview get diluted?

Here is the big problem. Nonbiblical worldview ideas don’t just sit in a book somewhere waiting for people to examine them. They bombard us constantly from television, film, music, newspapers, magazines, books and academia.

Because we live in a selfish, fallen world, these ideas seductively appeal to the desires of our flesh, and we often end up incorporating them into our personal worldview. Sadly, we often do this without even knowing it.

For example, most Christians would agree with 1 Thessalonians 4:3 and other Scriptures that command us to avoid sexual immorality, but how often do Christians fall into lust or premarital and extramarital sexual sin? Is it simply because they are weak when tempted, or did it begin much earlier, with the seductive lies from our sexualized society?

4. Why does a biblical worldview matter?

If we don’t really believe the truth of God and live it, then our witness will be confusing and misleading. Most of us go through life not recognizing that our personal worldviews have been deeply affected by the world. Through the media and other influences, the secularized American view of history, law, politics, science, God and man affects our thinking more than we realize. We then are taken “captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

However, by diligently learning, applying and trusting God’s truths in every area of our lives — whether it’s watching a movie, communicating with our spouses, raising our children or working at the office — we can begin to develop a deep comprehensive faith that will stand against the unrelenting tide of our culture’s nonbiblical ideas. If we capture and embrace more of God’s worldview and trust it with unwavering faith, then we begin to make the right decisions and form the appropriate responses to questions on abortion, same- sex marriage, cloning, stem-cell research and even media choices. Because, in the end, it is our decisions and actions that reveal what we really believe.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

Our first priority in family ministry should be to introduce people to the author of family — He is the greatest hope for healthy, thriving families. We believe that parents should aspire to model for their children how to humbly follow the teachings and spirit of Jesus at home and in the community.

it has begun…

And so it begins. School year 2015/2016. AKA (for me) the dreaded and horrifying junior year *gasp*. Can you believe it? (well maybe you can, but I can’t) I only have two more years of high school left! Therefore, I’m trying to embrace it and enjoy it as much as possible. However… as I mentioned before… IT’S MY JUNIOR YEAR. Thankfully, because of this  really small, easy, and unimportant test that doesn’t affect where you go to school or what scholarships you get, and that doesn’t take a lot of studying or thought, my junior year is going to be a breeze! HA! If only… yes, you all know what I’m getting at here. Junior year–for most–is the year of the SAT. In one sentence, the SAT is a test that is completely irrelevant to what students learn in school, it does not have to do with intelligence, it is very hard to receive a good score on it, and if success on this “SAT” is important to you, you can pretty much view the SAT as a death threat to fun. I fall under the “important to you” category. I stress over the fact that I’m spending weeks studying for a merely four hour test. Anyway, besides the SAT studying, I am so far (however I say this at the start of every school year) enjoying my junior year. I love love love being in school and having something to do 24/7. Of course, the fact that I’m homeschooled helps with this. I make my own daily schedule, I do school in my jammies (yes it’s true), I can do school pretty much anywhere I want, I have the freedom to engage in deeper, philosophical studies of my subjects, and I am able to do all my classes without any distracting class mates or noises. I really am blessed, I know.

So yeah bring it on school year! (I really hate to say this, but)… bring on the SAT! I’m excited for this year and I can’t wait to see what else it has in store for me (but I suppose long nights of studying and a lot of coffee will be involved).

Oh, oh, oh! And guess what? I’m going to DC for 10 days in September with two of my really good friends! I am super excited! DC is my paradise: museums galore, history all around, and beautiful buildings. I shall blog my entire trip so brace yourselves for lots of pictures and many exclamations of joy expressed through exclamation points ;).

What you wear reflects who you are

“Style is a way to say who you are, without having to speak.”–Rachel Zoe.

That quote couldn’t be more true. Unfortunately, I honestly don’t think most girls have even considered what their style says about them. As I look around (and yes I do live in Miami…worst place for dressing), I am completely and utterly shocked at the way some girls dress. Literally I saw a little girl, just yesterday, that had shorts as short as underwear. A–what 5 or 6 year old?– with almost her booty hanging out. Her mom didn’t even blink an eye. This saddened me. I see girls around my age who nearly pass as a hooker. Of course this is completely their choice of dressing. But this little girl? No, no, no! Her mom dresses her and she’s too young to know how to dress and what style means. The fact that a mother could actually put her little girl in such a skimpy outfit says a lot about our culture today.

Thinking has gone out the window. If a girl sees a model wearing it, or some celebrity (they’re human *not gods* people), then they want to wear it too. They don’t think about it, they just do it. Without realizing it (although some girls do) they put on clothes and don’t think twice about how people will perceive them. I mean crop tops with teeny-tiny, barely-pass-as-shorts shorts, say a lot more than “wow that girl is so trendy”. It looks as though that girl doesn’t value herself. Like she’s “easy”, or like she’s looking for attention. It’s sad, but it’s true. Most girls want to be viewed as anything but that. But how should they know? Pop-culture has completely ruined what a girl and woman should be. What they call “beautiful” is just a normal girl whose been airbrushed, has pounds of makeup on done by professionals, perfect thick hair made by unnatural products and done (again) by professionals, busty (also done by professionals;), glamorous and revealing outfits that estimate $1,000 for a shirt (it’s true though), and a professionally trained photographer who finds the perfect angles and releases only their best shots. After hours upon hours of getting ready and after thousands of dollars, they release a picture of a girl that’s “beautiful” and then, of course, every girl wants to look like her.

What a woman should look like is anything but fake. Showing a lot of skin does not make a girl beautiful, it cheapens her perception, as well as her self esteem. While a girl should care about how she looks and should be put together, it doesn’t mean she has to change who she is. Always look YOUR best, instead of an unrealistic version of someone else. Show some self worth and dress appropriately, yes dress cute and even dress trendy if ya want, but don’t feel pressured to wear something. Clothes don’t make you beautiful and you shouldn’t find your value in what you wear. Instead, you should be viewed by who you are inside. Your inner beauty should radiate outwardly and what you wear reflects who you are inside.

“Fashion is about something that comes from within you.” –Ralph Lauren