Showing posts from November, 2011

S is for...

the sea...
specifically, the sea surrounding okinawa, japan

the sea by night...

the sea by day...

the seawall

the sea view from okuma, a well-known oki resort

the sea view from our vip cabin at camp schwab
(The lovely ladies in the first few photos are Haley, Beth, Ryanne, and Reagan.)

Sunset Dreams

This one's published in an international collection, although that isn't saying much.  The publisher accepts just about anything.  Still, it's published!

Brilliant purples, pinks, and blues
Blend in such amazing hues,
My breath is taken out from me
And as I stop to gaze, I see
A stallion toss his wispy mane
Then race away, ne'er seen again.

Book Review: Do Hard Things

Do Hard Things by Alex & Brett Harris
A teenage rebellion against low expectations

This book was Amazing, with a capital 'A.'  The best way to sum up my thoughts on this book?  "If I were a millionaire, I'd buy every teenager I know a copy of Do Hard Things by the Harris twins."  I'm totally serious.  I'd buy it for my teen brother if I didn't already have a Christmas present for him.

The writing style was perfect for this book.  It was open, honest, and real.  Unlike most teen-written books, it was consistent.  Unlike most teen-aimed books, it wasn't 'dumbed down.'  While it was an easy read in the areas of vocabulary and pace, the thoughts and focus were anything but easy.

The book is broken down into three parts.  Part One: Rethinking the Teen Years introduces the concept that teenagers are just adults stuck under the low expectations of today's culture.  It talks about how the Rebelution got started, and how Alex and Brett start…

30 Day Challenge: Day Ten - A Recent Photo of You

This one's sooo much easier than last week's.

Not exactly the best photo of me, but definitely the most recent.  Oh, and that's Aidan.  (I babysit a lot.)

Thanksgiving's Overrated

Now before you lovely readers shoot me or hastily unfollow, let me explain: Thanksgiving is overrated.  Thanks-giving, on the other hand, is not nearly as pushed as it should be.

Allow me to get my point across.  Have you ever played this game?  I say a word, and you say the first three words or things that come to mind.  No hesitation, editing, or thinking allowed.  Just blurt the first three words out.

Here we go:


My guess is most of you think along the lines of turkey, football, family.  Not necessarily in that order, but that's probably what came up.  Maybe some of you thought Pilgrims or no school or cranberry sauce... you get the idea.

Usually, though, the word "thanksgiving" does bring up the topic of thankfulness... after food and family and friends and football and school plays and history class.  There's nothing wrong with those things; I just find that I personally prefer to celebrate Thanksgiving during the rest of the year, too.  (Minus the…

R is for...

Raggedy Anne

Seriously, 'r' should not be this hard.  It took me forever to think of something, and I decided to just take Random Red photos of stuff around the house.  Here's some other photos with red:

Nick's red Crocs

the plastic red scissor and hole punch basket

and Adam, our current babysittee, wearing a red shirt and eating red Jell-O 

First Snow

This is actually a song I wrote nearly a year ago, when we returned to America after our three years on a tropical island.  Since I can't compose music to save my life, I usually refer to it as a poem.

[verse 1]

Snow drifting, falling to the ground

Fire burning, family all around

It's the time I've been dreamig of so long

The first snow

I walk outside, staring up in bliss

Spin in circles, shriek at all I've missed

It melts on contact, but I don't care

The first snow


Sparkling white

Cold and clean

Beautifully fresh

Perfect, pristine

I love the seasons

Spring, summer, fall

But winter's first snow

Beats them all

[verse 2]

Soon we'll eat turkey and watch football

Hang bright lights and deck the halls

But for now I enjoy this sweet beginning

The first snow

We wash the dishes, let the fire die

Get our coats and say good bye

The day is done, but I never forget

The first snows


Sparkling white

Cold and clean

Beautifully fresh

Perfect, pristine

I lov…

Mega Giveaway! And Book Review: The Song of Unmaking

The Song of Unmakingby D. Barkley Briggs
Legends of Karac Tor

This time, we have my awesome preteen brother Jon with us.  As you can see, he really enjoyed the book, and is now begging me to set aside more review books for him.  After Nick's review last week and Jon's clamor for this book, Eddie's started a blog and is reviewing books, too.  Guess this is becoming a whole family affair!

Let's allow Jon to introduce himself:

Hi!  I'm Jonathan.  I am twelve years old and in the seventh grade.  I'm homeschooled.  When my sister asked me to work on this, I was a little scared I wouldn't meet the date because the book was so big, but once I got started I really loved it and finished a whole week early.  I love to read Hardy Boys books, and I like martial arts books, too.  My sister is into lots of blogging, so I agreed to help her.  This is my first review book and I'm looking forward to doing more.

Well, let's get reviewing!

This Story Was About... four br…

30 Day Challenge: Day Nine - A Photo You Took

As if the A B See Photo Meme wasn't enough... haha, I'm going to open my photos and use the first one that comes up.
And that would be... *drumroll*... TADA!

This is my brother Jon and Bear (otherwise known as Uncle Dan or Mr. Dan) on the boardwalk during our Florida vacation this past summer.

Q is for...

Queer Quackers!

Have you any idea how difficult it is to think of words that start with 'q' - much less words you have photos to match!

What Is Home?

Home? What is Home?

Home is where the full heart bursts With love and laughter In joy immersed.

Home is where the spirit feels Safe, secure, revived, And healed.

Home is where a soul can rest Away from turmoil, Far from stress.

Home is where a mind delights As folk converse and Memories alight.

Book Review: The Rescuers

The Rescuers by Cecelia Maria Hilliard

Strangers humiliating the king... a dangerous love triangle... and a whirlwind of secrets... will this year's feast end in tragedy?

The yearly feast is being held in King Clarence's castle this time around, but a gathering of strangers aren't happy with it.  This hooded group known only as The Rescuers is determined to convert the king from cruel to kind.  Meanwhile, Prince Derrick tries to win over Princess Victoria; Victoria has caught the eye of King Clarence; and the king is sought after by Victoria's sister Jalean.  As the secrets of the cast are slowly discovered, sword fights and magic-filled battles determine the fate of all involved.

As usual with most self-published titles, this book could use some professional editing.  Typos, misplaced punctuation, awkward wording, and the like were a bit of an eyesore.  The dialogue and behavior of the royals left me confused as to whether this was supposed to be a modern-day or mediev…

30 Day Challenge: Day Eight - A Thank-You Note

A thank-you note to someone who changed your life... well, there's two I could go with right now.  As I already wrote one of the recipients about a year ago, I think I'll go with the more unusual letter.

Dear Department of Defense,

You probably don't get many letters from us brats, do you?  While we either love the places you let us visit, hate the rearranging of our lives you so often cause, or couldn't care less about you, we rarely let you know.  I mean, I'm not even sure who's reading this - probably some low-pay new guy who sorts through the unofficial mail.

But anyway, I just wanted to say thanks.  You probably don't remember, but back in 2007 you stuck my family on a tiny island that most active duty list as the number one desired spot to be.  I hated you for it.  I wrote poems and letters and laments about how much I hated you.  But I learned a lot there - I learned what it was like to be bitter, and how to let go of that and heal.  I learned how to …

Friendlight Friday

I was invited to join this weekly posting link-up.  While I already have bloggy plans (and NaNoWriMo to work on), I wanted to share it with you.

Erin from Courage Through Christ


Rebecca from Blessings Every Minute of My Life

I am hosting a weekly blessings themed blog challenge along with Rebecca from Blessings Every Minute of My Life!

Here is how the challenge works. Each week, there will be a theme or topic such as family, friends, Bible verses, etc. Both Rebecca and I will each do a post on a way that God has blessed us through the particular weeks theme. For example, if the theme is family, we would do a post about a family member that has been a blessing to us over the past week. Now here is where it gets fun. You all will then have a whole week to do a post of your own that follows the challenge theme and link it back to either my blog or Rebecca's using the challenge button located either on my sidebar or Rebecca's sidebar. The challenge will be once a week f…

P is for...


Well, what was I supposed to put?  I don't have photos of a pelican, or packing peanuts, or pots, or anything else I could come up with.


Round curls and shiny locks

In gold, red, and brown

Bounce on their foreheads

As they skip and run through the halls.

Sparkling blue and green

Or deep brown eyes

Shift from toy to toy

And swirl with indecision.

Little noses, smooth and

Freckled and unmarred

Scrunch up with laughter

Or a loud sneeze.

Pudgy round cheeks and

Small, clear foreheads,

Pink with sunburn and

Made pinker by bright dresses.

Tiny, soft lips with bite marks

Carefully form words

Or gentle smiles or

Wet, adorable pouts.

Fragile shoulders lengthen into

Arms and fragile little hands,

Trustingly enclosed in another's

Or wrapped around a crayon.

Thin, light bodies barely

Heavier than a bag of feathers;

Or round, soft toddler tummies

Smooth and pale and ticklish.

Little toes curl in their shoes,

With chipped blue and purple polish

Or dirt covering

The white edges.

Young, clean, naive minds

Untouched by the filth in

The big world.

Beautiful, innocent, pure...


Book Review: Oops


Oops! by Bill Myers
TJ and the Time Stumblers

For this review, I had my amazing kid brother Nick read the book.  This review will be mostly in his words, so bear with me.

Before we start, let's allow him to introduce himself.

Hi!  My name's Nick, and I'm ten.  I'm in fifth grade and I'm working on a book review with my sister, Emily Rachelle.  You might know her.  I like to read mysteries... I like to read almost any story - as long as it's not romance.  I don't like romance!  I am a big lover of candy.  (Emily's note: that's an understatement.)  I don't know what else to write....
Okay, on to the review.
This Story Was About... how two boys from the 23rd century came to the 21st century and ruined the life of a teenage girl named TJ.

What I Liked: Everything, except for the confusing parts.  I liked how TJ turned her enemies into things, but then later turned them back.  I like the big, bold words and onomatopoeia (Emily's word for sound word…

30 Day Challenge: Day Seven - Five Things You Couldn't Possibly Live Without

Now, with this one, I could obviously go at least two different ways.  I could be boring and list necessities such as food and water.... or I can be creative and tell y'all what things would be really hard for me to do without, although technically I could live without them.

Of course, a writer like myself just has to take the creative path!

1. My laptop - blogging, homework, social networking, email, WordPad... I don't know what I'd do without them!  (Well, except the homework part.)

2. My cell phone - not until recently did I realize how vital this little gadget has become to communication in my life.

3. My doodle pillow - okay, this one was just for fun.  I have this old blue pillowcase that a friend and I decorated with Sharpies at my twelfth birthday party.  Everything from that day has since faded off, but I take the pillow everywhere - camp, sleepovers, etc. - and write on it whenever something important happens or I get really bored.

4. My mother - seriously, I don'…

Friendlight Friday

Bailey from Big House in the Little Woods
People have been convinced for two millennia that Jesus will return and return quickly, in our timetable. In terms of economy, morals, culture and persecution, I would not myself pin our time as the perfect pitch of turmoil. The Great Depression was horrible. So was the French Revolution. Rome's decadence. The World Wars. The Reformation period. For as many hits the world has taken, the current Western famine still has some pretty good pickings left.

Things are lurching along at a troubling pace, undoubtedly. But while a good portion of Christendom predicts gloom and doom, I and many others hold out for hope. Hear me out.

So much of Christianity has been wrapped up in Western culture that we think that losing the latter will lose the former. If America falls, all is lost! If we don't return to the Greatest Generation, we're doomed! If we don't wear suits and hats to church, we're heading for decay!
Read the rest of…


Today I don't have much to say, so I'm just going to re-post a call for guest bloggers as a reminder that I still need writers (and photographers!) for my upcoming blog party:
Sneak Peeks and an Invitation to You
Hello, lovely readers! I have a bit of a surprise for you...

We'll be having a blog party in a few months!

The party doesn't start until December, but I need help getting ready. I want to make this party BIG. Really big - for this blog, anyway. It might be small stuff for somebody else, but for us this is going to be huge.

I'll be sharing our first guest posts, starting our first giveaways, and possibly having some contests and hops. The party will go from the middle of December to the middle of January, and it'll be a multi-celebration. We'll have blogging stuff, Christmas specials, New Years events, birthday stuff, and possibly some cultural holiday spotlights.

But in order to make this party a success, I need your help. If you…

O is for...

Today's post is a little long, but bear with me. These are my top picks from three years' worth of photos.

the beach at Camp Schwab

a common site: a native with a bike

a habiscus, the famous Okinawa flower, in my backyard (literally)

our next-door neighbor's palm trees (no, we didn't live on the beach)

another flower growing in our backyard

our next-door neighbor's bench

the view from the mountain we all climbed at summer camp

the fields at Pineapple Park

the Pineapple Park's signature pinapple carts
As a military brat, you always end up missing the places you've been and the people you've met - whether you liked them initially or not.  Today I'm missing Okinawa.  Is there someplace or someone you're missing today? 

Just One

Just One

I cannot draw to save my life,

Nor paint nor sculpt nor color;

I cannot build inspired domes,

Nor compose a simple measure.

With words I'm not the greatest; still,

As they are all I know,

I'll do my best to use them well...

I hope they make just one heart glow.