Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Merry Christmas!

   The Christmas season is here! Also the cold and flu season. And snow. All that to say, I am sitting in bed with a cold listening to Christmas music and looking at the snow out my window.
   I'm rather peeved about the existence of the snow, actually. I live in Georgia. We never get snow. Never seven to twelve inches. And certainly never in December. Regardless, here the snow is to prove us all wrong. And despite my hatred of snow, it was still exciting. I had two snowball fights, built a tiny snowman, and a tiny Barad-dur, complete with the Eye of Sauron. Barad-dur is still standing.
   Also, it's Christmastime. The most wonderful time of the year. I've been listening to Christmas songs since September... If you can't tell, I like Christmas.
   I don't have anything else in my brain, so Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I'll see y'all in 2018!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

You Are Not Alone, I Promise

   Hey, friend,
   Life has been rough for you lately. Things haven't been going the way you planned or expected and it's left you feeling numb. Everything seems hopeless and dark. You seem trapped in a place you cannot get out. Nothing is the way it should be and you can't even react anymore. You don't have the strength. Life is just an obstacle you must climb, every day for however long it lasts. You can't speak about it to anyone because they would never understand. You are living in a misery you can't seem to get out of.
   You are not alone. You are not the only one that feels like this. There is nothing hopelessly wrong with you. And here are a few secrets you really need to hear:
   Things are never as bad as they seem. There is a One Who loves you no matter what. God is working in the midst of your darkness and brokenness to shine out His Light. Do not be afraid: even though you can't feel it right now, God is with you. He is always with you. He is living inside you, moving, even though it doesn't feel like it right now.
   Things will get better. You will survive this. You will emerge on the other side of this darkness and mess and be stronger for it because God is always with you and He has been directing your paths.
   There are people who understand what you're going through. There is always someone who is always willing to lend a listening ear. Talk to them. Even if you feel you can't, talk to them about everything that is numbing you, all the things you don't care about anymore and all the things you should. It will help, believe me.
   Stop trying to push yourself so hard. Stop letting your obligations and your problems drive you. Slow down. Take a bath. Lie back. Soak in everything around you. Bury yourself in your favorite books and surround yourself by the things you love. Breathe. You're okay. God carried you this far. He will take you the rest of the way.
   God is loving, and He is willing and able to take all of your burdens. Just let go and let Him take care of everything. All you need to do is trust in Him. 
   You're okay. Everything will be okay again, I promise. You feel like you can't do this on your own, but you don't have to. God will do it for you. He is in you, He does love you, and He will carry you through this.
   Remember that God made you special, and He loves you very much.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Indie Christian Authors Black Friday Book Sale!

  I have been lazy and haven't finished any real blog posts. So here, have this one instead. Go buy books. Check out new authors and freebies. All that good stuff. I hear there are some great authors participating this year. One of them has particularly fascinating-sounding books, what was her name? Ah, yes, Morgan Elizabeth Huneke. Hmm...
Okay, regardless of the clear nepotism on this site, she really does have some good books that you should check out. Also, my favorite author is participating, so it's a wonderful opportunity to meet the sweetest fictional character out there, Jace. Go on and check out this sale!

It’s that time of year. The time for buying presents, making wish lists, and planning New Year’s Resolutions. If any of those activities involve books for you, Indie Christian Books has a perfect event for you.
From Nov 24th through Nov 30th, a huge selection of independently published Christian books are on sale. You can find discounted paperbacks, dozens of books offered with free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals and more. Even if your budget is depleted from Christmas shopping, we have some freebies for you! Need even more of a reason to support indie authors and fill your shelf with good stories? When you purchase a paperback book through indiechristianbooks.com you’ll be eligible to enter an exclusive giveaway including free books and an Amazon gift card!
You can meet our authors by visiting the Author Database on the website. Want to get to know the authors better AND have the chance to win some fun prizes? We’d love to have you join our week long Facebook party which will feature 39 authors over 7 days.
What awesome reads of 2017 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2018?
A note on the Ebooks Only page. Many of the books are listed as "Sold Out." This is because we aren’t selling those directly through our site. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good and Kendra E. Ardnek for their work organizing this sale, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills@omorecollege.edu for more information about her design services.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

This Is Not the Blog Post You're Looking For

   I should be writing a coherent blog post. Or at least finishing the several unfinished blog post drafts I have. But I don't really have anything to talk about, except maybe Star Wars.
   I've been reading William Shakespeare's Star Wars lately. Since I love both Shakespeare and Star Wars, this was quite an experience. It was hilarious and amazing all at the same time. The rancor sang! R2-D2 spoke English in asides. Yoda spoke in haiku! And all the soliloquies. It was rather ridiculous. But a certain part in The Force Doth Awaken still tore my heart out.
   As a lead-up to The Last Jedi coming out in a month and a half (I'm so excited!!!), we're re-watching the entire Star Wars saga. In chronological order. We're not very far in yet, but it's going to be so strange. Also, I never realized before that Naboo was in the Outer Rim. And who in their right mind would put Jar-Jar Binks in charge of representing a planet?
   The Last Jedi trailer makes me nervous. What if they mess up Luke? He's my favorite character. He's so sweet and kind and he saved the galaxy by being compassionate. He looked so bitter in the trailer. I'll be very upset if the writers ruin him.
   When I was little, I was slightly obsessed with the computer game Oregon Trail (Version 2.0). I took Star Wars characters on the Oregon Trail more than once and saved the diary both times. It was very infuriating when Yoda died before his time.
   So there you go. I have written something. It may not make sense, but it is something.
   One last observation. Anakin Skywalker is very creepy when in love.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Disney World!!!

   You probably didn't notice my absence from the Internet a couple weeks ago. (I guess sporadic schedules are useful after all.) Well, instead of just procrastinating on finishing unfinished blog posts, I was at Walt Disney World. Yeah, I have a great excuse this time. And I got a lot of pictures.

The welcome sign at the Fort Wilderness Resort area
   There's nothing that can be compared to staying at a Walt Disney World hotel. Staying on site at Disney World is so different than booking in a hotel in yucky Orlando. Yes, it's more expensive, but it's soo worth it. Stepping into another world, Disney World, and not leaving for a week or more is just so refreshing. There's a reason my dad got addicted to Disney World vacations.
   This was our first time ever staying at the Walt Disney World campground. Ridiculously cheaper than the other resorts, but still with that touch of Disney magic. The campsites were perfectly level, the bath houses were amazingly clean, and the cast members were, as always, incredibly nice and accommodating. Our campsite was right across from the bath houses and the bus stop, and right next to the trash, which was all incredibly convenient. And we didn't even need flashlights to walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Our stay at the campground featured: tiny frogs the size of beetles that were adorable, large frogs that emerged during the rain (one of which took a ride on my sister), lizards everywhere, bold squirrels, and deer.
   We got up very early in the morning (I'm talking 3 or 4 am) to drive down to Disney (cause we're just nuts like that). Despite the car's air condition blowing out halfway through the trip, we made it to the campground in plenty of time to leisurely set up camp, stop at the pool, stroll around Downtown Disney, sorry, Disney Springs, eat dessert at Ghirardelli's, and sit out on the campground beach and watch Magic Kingdom fireworks. It was a nice and relaxing day. Also, the only relaxing day of our vacation. What can I say? We're just not relax-for-a-week type of people.
Spaceship Earth at EPCOT with the Food and Wine Festival decor
   This was our first time going to Disney World during the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival, and it was an...experience. I definitely prefer the Christmas season to Halloween decorations and drunk visitors, though. Also, the Christmas season is a lot cooler, which is a big plus, considering the 90-degree weather we had to push through all week.
   EPCOT is so cool. All the different countries are so interesting, and the rides in Future World are so cool. Fun fact, Walt Disney himself actually planned EPCOT out, though he intended it to be an actual city (hence the name Experimental Prototype City Of Tomorrow). You can see his original plan for it on the People Mover in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom.
   The new Soarin' is amazing. Flying all around the world is so cool. Mission: Space (the tame version, naturally) has an all-new video flying around the Earth. The video is crystal clear and very amazing. I don't hate the new Test Track as much as I used to; it seems they're making it a little more abrupt, which is good. And the single-rider line for Test Track is a life saver, practically a walk-on. What are a few strangers compared to a non-existent wait time?
   The new Frozen ride in Norway isn't all it's cracked up to be. Sure, it's fun, but it's exactly the same as the old ride, Maelstrom, except with Frozen decorations instead. Cool, but not worth the ridiculously long wait times.
   For the rest of it...here, just look at some pictures. They are in no discernible order.

"Bubbles!" fish from Finding Nemo in The Seas building.
There was a Dory fish as well, but I couldn't get a good picture of it.

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, EPCOT's night show

The greenhouses in Living with the Land.

Mickey head in the shrimp tank at Living with the Land

This is a model of the moon outside Mission: Space.
Those spots on it are all the lunar modules left behind in its surface.

My parents in front of Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth

A stained glass window in a shop in Germany

Water Chestnuts on Living with the Land
   Ah, Magic Kingdom. Probably my favorite park. Although it wasn't half as good with Splash Mountain closed for refurbishment. So not fair. It would have been wildly popular, too, because of the heat (90-degree weather every afternoon). One would think that the rain on the last day would have been refreshing. It wasn't. Thankfully it didn't last long. 
   I'm not used to so many people being at the Magic Kingdom with me. It was really annoying. I'm not used to people being able to afford going to Disney World. And I'm really not used to so many people wearing Disney merchandise. Oh well, it was still amazingly fun.
   Highlights of Magic Kingdom included: watching a new (and disappointing) fireworks show, my dad getting chosen to be Randall at the Monster, Inc., Laugh Floor, a couple dressed as Yzma and Kronk from The Emperor's New Groove in line for Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin (unfortunately, I didn't think to take a picture), and getting evacuated off of Space Mountain.
   Yes, I was evacuated off of Space Mountain. It was my first time ever getting evacuated off a ride before. We were going up about to take off on the roller coaster part when the ride stopped. A few seconds later, the lights turned on. That's when I knew it was really broken. We took pictures and waved at the people riding by in the People Mover while listening to announcements that "a cast member will come to assist you momentarily." Finally they came, got us out of the ride vehicle, told us not to take any more pictures, and led us out. We actually walked under the track (and had to make sure not to hit our head and get electrocuted). We were given fastpasses that allowed us to go back on the ride when they fixed it later in the day, so that was cool.

My dad's selfie inside Space Mountain while waiting for the cast members to come rescue us.

My dad's picture of us and the hill we were about to go down. That's me in the very front.

The inside of Space Mountain with the lights on, courtesy of my sister. My pictures came out blurry. Yes, those walls are cinder blocks, so far as I can tell.
Here are the other pictures from the Magic Kingdom, these ones all from my camera.

Ariel and Eric on the Under the Sea ride.

Beast's castle

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad from The Liberty Belle.

The first float in the Festival of Fantasy Parade.

The finale of Great Moments in History...But Just the American Parts! conducted by the Muppets in Liberty Square.

A hearse outside the Haunted Mansion

The entrance of the Magic Kingdom

Buildings on Main Street, U.S.A. with fall decorations

Fall decorations on Main Street, U.S.A.

This robot was wandering around talking to people outside Space Mountain. He gave a lady his number.

Roy Disney and Minnie Mouse on Main Street, U.S.A.

The Eighth Wonder of the World...the Backside of Water!
Find this and more on the world famous Jungle Cruise, famous around the world for being world famous.

The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, which is basically just like Dumbo with spitting camels.

This sign is hanging above the entrance to the Magic Kingdom. I got just one picture as we walked by.
   Next we visited Disney's Hollywood Studios, a park that is in a constant identity crisis. The fewer attractions open let us enjoy a slower pace when we were there. The second day we visited Hollywood Studios, it rained. But that didn't stop us from enjoying some wonderful Star Wars fireworks.
   I've always enjoyed the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. It drops straight down in free fall, giving its riders the experience of zero gravity. Well, it's never messed with me before, but now it's apparent I'm not cut out to be an astronaut. The instant it dropped the first time, I became sick. Thankfully, I kept my lunch, and recovered while chilling out with my dad watching the 1,999th Annual National Dumpling Day Parade, the only parade that goes both ways down the parade route at the same time, and you don't know you're in it until you're already being talked about.

The radio commentators on the National Dumpling Day Parade, which was basically just these two guys making fun of everybody that walked by.
   I had a fastpass for Tower of Terror on the second day, but I wasn't eager to repeat my experience, so we managed to get my fastpass switched to the Frozen Singalong my mom and sister were already going to and attended that instead.

My sister and me outside the hysterical Frozen Singalong.
   There is a lot of Star Wars: The Last Jedi merchandise in Hollywood Studios. I did my very best to scour it and try and figure out what the new movie is about. My scavenger hunt turned up: a girl X-wing pilot named Rose, a mysterious little creature called a Porg which is adorable and the plushies are ridiculously soft (they feature in the new The Last Jedi trailer, in case you're wondering), a shirt containing a kneeling Kylo Ren staring at his helmet, and The Last Jedi trading cards featuring Rey and Anakin on the box. Portends of an Anakin Force-ghost? Who knows. But I really want to see the movie now.
   Oh, and I might have spotted the construction of the entrance into Star Wars Land. But I didn't take pictures. Here are some of the pictures I did take:

Army man welcoming people into Toy Story Midway Mania.

The Beauty and the Beast Stage. My favorite part of the show is the crowd laughter at the phrase, "Through a series of strange circumstances, Belle ends up at the Beast's castle."

The Chinese Theater, the emblem of Hollywood Studios now that my beloved hat is gone.
Also the future home of Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway. I'm excited for it, but I still really miss the Great Movie Ride.

The finale of the show "Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away."

I still hate this guy... we skipped meeting him in the Launch Bay when we met Chewbacca and BB-8.

Because who doesn't want to ride a high-speed roller coaster while listening to "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)"?
Also, the Single Rider Line for this ride is a life saver.

The entrance to Toy Story Midway Mania, still one of the most popular rides in Walt Disney World.
   What's next? Animal Kingdom. The only reason most people are going there right now is for Pandora and the rides there. Well, when we got there, they were broken. Both of them. For half the day. The boat ride was broken all day, and the next day as well. The banshee ride was fixed in the afternoon (but broke again the next day). Annoyingly, this flooded the park with all the people that were only there to ride the Avatar rides. Also, I came down with a cold that day. And it rained pretty much the entire afternoon. But it still wound up being fun.
   I wasn't a big fan of the movie...okay, I absolutely hated it. It creeped me out. It squandered a lot of potential (like the high concept and the beautiful settings and the science they could have explored with their weird religious spirit tree). And it was basically the movie Pocahontas with blue people. But, as I said, the settings were beautiful. And so was Pandora land in the Animal Kingdom. And I can totally understand why people are waiting two, three, even four hours for the Flight of Passage ride. It really is that amazing (though I'm still glad we had a fastpass). I don't think that ride will ever get less popular, honestly.
   After dinner, my mom and I were tired and wet and we didn't care to see the night show, so we went back to the camper and chilled. We drank tea and watched Star Trek and stayed warm and dry. It was nice.
   Here are my pictures.

African plain on Kilimanjaro Safari.

Animal Kingdom entrance.

Fake baobab tree that never actually blooms.

Beetle carving on the Tree of Life.

Mysterious blue things in Pandora. I'm not sure what they are, but they look cool.

Elephant carving on the Tree of Life. It can be seen in line for It's Tough to Be a Bug. I hate it, but it has air conditioning.

Elephant pool on Kilimanjaro Safari. Notice the steps.

Flights of Wonder stage. Not the Pandora ride, a cool bird show. It got rained out, but they invited everyone to stay in the seats, because they, unlike the stage, were out of the rain.

Floating mountains in Pandora.

This gorilla got right up to the glass.

Sleeping lions on the Kilimanjaro Safari.

Pandora gardens. I'm not sure what that cord in the middle of the picture is.

More gardens in Pandora.

This mysterious-looking object was a misting station just inside the entrance of Pandora.

The pavement in Pandora. It's cool, alright?

Fake termite mounds on Kilimanjaro Safari.

The Tree of Life.

The Tree of Life from underneath.

This lovely turtle can be seen on one of the walking trails in the Animal Kingdom.

Waterfall and floating mountain in Pandora.
   Not all of my pictures were exclusively Disney things. I got a couple cool ones of flowers and one of wood grain on The Liberty Belle.

   This post is already ridiculously long. But I really want to show all the wonderful characters I got my picture with. I met so many cool people this trip!

Minnie and me in Magic Kingdom.

Mickey and me in Epcot.

My sisters and me with Chewie in the Star Wars Launch Bay.

Minnie  and me in EPCOT.

My sisters and me with Goofy in EPCOT.

My sisters and me with BB-8 in the Star Wars Launch Bay.

My sisters and me with Belle in EPCOT.

Us with Chewie in the Star Wars Launch Bay.

My family and me with Daisy in Magic Kingdom.