Thursday, July 10, 2014

Saying Good-bye to Peter Pan


I have a confession to make: I get upset, tired, and angry from time to time.

The other day I had a heated discussion with my mom (ok, it was more of a one-sided rant) with me going on and on and on about how terribly miserable I am and how difficult my life is. (I'm sorry to admit that I say stuff like that.)

Then my mom said three words that no child in the history of mankind has EVER wanted to hear from a parent: "Then move out."

I froze. "What?"

"Move out." She went on to say that she didn't exactly mean "Pack your things and get out of this house right now if you don't like it here. Good luck making it on your own." She didn't mean that at all.

She meant that I am pitifully dependent on my family...for pretty much everything.

I'm seventeen, and my habitat has been about the same as it has been since I was ten years old. My parents drive me everywhere, because I do not have a license. I can't go anywhere without having a family meeting and looking at our entire schedule. I can never say, "Hey, I'm going out of the house for a little while," unless I'm going to walk the dog, go for a run, or ride my bike...in the neighborhood.

I hardly ever go anywhere by myself because I usually go to events that my parents have planned for the whole family. Probably the only places that I go voluntarily are the gym, the library, school, church, and youth group. But then, I can't go to any of those places (except the library) without someone driving me (and then a family member usually attends those places with me). I'm at home a lot because I haven't been getting a driver's license so I can go to community college or get a job so I can make friends with classmates and co-workers.

This is my life right now, and the truth is: I've never really been bothered by it until now. I've always been comfortable following my family around like a dog on a leash, being driven everywhere, never having to worry about leaving the house.

My entire life is the definition of DEPENDENCE when my growth as a teenager demands that I find INDEPENDENCE. This doesn't mean rebelling against my parents, it doesn't mean "looking out for #1," or deciding that I'm right and everyone else is wrong.

It means deciding how I want to make an impact in the world, making decisions for myself, learning my own life lessons, and taking steps toward surviving as an individual under God...leaving childhood behind and becoming an adult.

Friends, this is a terrifying mission to accept.

Do you know how birds learn to fly? Young birds spend the beginning of their lives being fed by their mother and never leaving the nest. All they know is that tiny confined space consisting entirely of little sticks, cotton, and leaves. All they know is life with the other birds in their family. When the bird is ready to fly, do you know what happens?

It's quite fascinating: the mother starts to push her child out of the nest. And I don't mean a little shove to say, "If you want, you can go." No! I mean, the mother flaps her wings uncontrollably, kicking and pushing that little bird out of that nest. That's not saying "Hey, if you want, go ahead." That is saying, "Go. Go. Go now. GO! Fly, it's time. Right now. Ready, go!!!"

You know how that little bird responds at first, "What are you doing? Stop! It's too high! I can't! Please, I don't want to go. I'm scared!" Then finally, the mother gives one last push, and this story can have one of two endings: 1) either the bird decides not to fly and falls to the ground, hopeless, and in a lot of cases, dead; or 2) the bird starts to flap its wings and flies away--it soars in the air, leaving its dependence on its family behind, and discovering independence.

The process of independence is a little different for human beings, because leaving the nest and growing up doesn't traditionally happen within a few minutes. One thing I do know now is that I have to stop refusing to grow up, like Peter Pan. It's a great thing to accept adulthood--after all, most of my life will be spent as an adult--that is, if I decide to leave childhood behind. I think growing up will be a great adventure--an adventure that Peter Pan was too afraid to experience.

It will probably be another year or two before I leave my parents' house. I still have to graduate high school, I still need to get a driver's license, I still need to get a job, and find an ambition with which to glorify God (some people call that pursuing a career, but I think an ambition is more than that [this topic may be another blog post in and of itself]).

Now is the time where I begin taking the steps to accepting the challenge of growing up. It's the time where God writes the final pages of this first chapter of my life. Now is when He helps me figure out what's next.

Yes, the words "move on," "move out," "time to grow up," and "leave the nest" are terrifying.

On the other hand, I hear these strong words from God and the people who are ready to support me and cheer me on as I accept the daring challenge of grasping independence:

"You are ready. It's time to fly."

 "For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
--1 Corinthians 13:9-13

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Letter to the Readers: Another Blog!

Hello readers, and happy summer!

I have an announcement to make. You may have noticed another tab on the top of the page labeled "Victorious Notebook."

That, friends, is my new blog!

Victorious Notebook is a "spinoff" blog for my reading and writing projects, which I want all of you to be a part of. The first post explains everything, so if you're interested in following the blog, please go to the link at the top of the page and read the post titled, "Welcome to Victorious Notebook!"

I'm very excited to have another outlet for writing, and I hope that you will enjoy it too.

Thanks!

--Hayley

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Welcome to the Twilight Zone: A Metaphor Based on My Experience at "The Tower of Terror"

Disclaimer: This is a post about one of the experiences I had at my Disney World vacation last summer. If you've been waiting for a post like this one, this is the chance to start reading. 

However, if you're bothered by spoilers or long articles, this might be a post to skip. 

While I do make some exaggerations in this article for humor and descriptions, I'm not trying to make everyone believe that The Tower of Terror is the worst ride ever, or that no one should ride it. 

I think it's a great experience for everyone, even though I didn't enjoy riding it the first time.

I'll also be sure to write about other fun experiences I had at Disney that will not be long, spooky, or have spoilers! :)

Life as a student in the month of May is a lot like the experience of riding "The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror" at a Disney park. In other words, "terror" definitely warrants the name.


The Tower of Terror reminds me a lot about what the month of May is like for high school/college students. So, I'm going to walk you guys through the first time I rode the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride and how it's a metaphor for my life right now as a student.

So you're walking in to this condemned place, feeling all jittery and excited like: "Oh my goodness, this is going to be a fun ride!" But I'm not a normal person, so I was interviewing everyone in my family who has ridden the ride before:
"Are you sure it's not scary?"
"My word, this is a tall building!"
"Is this even safe?"
"Ummm, why are there screaming people in the open window under the hotel sign?"
That's right, dear readers, the people who are currently on the ride are clearly visible and screaming looking out of an open window of this condemned, creepy building. And then the window mysteriously closes....
"Hey Mom, I don't know if I want to go on this ride."
Dad says, "Don't be ridiculous, it'll be fun."
Right. Of course. This is Disney World after all. Nothing to worry about.

Anyway, you finally get into the part of the line where you're inside of this creep-o place, and your first glance when you walk through the doors looks like this:


Yeah....is anybody else noticing that there are NO guests walking around the lobby of this hotel?
Is anybody else checking out the uncanny amount of cobwebs in this room?
Has the health department ever known about this?
And the question that of course, I'm thinking is: Why in the world am I still here?
Oh that's right, it's a Disney World ride...moving on. (At this point my dad is excitedly pointing out all of the special effects, and I'm beginning to wonder if I'm going insane, or if I'm totally overreacting for no good reason.)
  • Student-life metaphor: You've been at school for a long time now (kind of like how you've been in line for a long time) and things were going pretty ok all year. It's been exciting and scary, but you've been doing really well. You start to think, "hmm, this is getting kind of creepy, maybe I should start preparing for the worst now" but of course, if you struggle with chronic procrastination like I do, you're not going to be thinking about preparing for the worst now, because you're being distracted (kind of like the absence of hotel guests and amount of cobwebs in the lobby). And...you just wait until the worst does come. It can't be that bad...
You walk in to this chamber of darkness and old books, and an old television set in the corner of the wall magically turns on and guess what program we're about to watch? The Twilight Zone! Cool, you've heard of this show! Hmm, never seen this episode before...

Rod Serling shows up on the screen and says,  "You unlock this door with the key of imagination, beyond it is another dimension. A dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into . . . The Twilight Zone." Wow, this is going to be a good episode.

"Hollywood, 1939. Amidst the glitz and the glitter of a bustling young movie talent at the height of its golden age, the Hollywood Tower Hotel was a star in its own right..." Hey! That's the hotel we're in right now! Wait a minute... Are we in a Twilight Zone episode?
"The time is now, on an evening very much like the one we have just witnessed. Tonight's story on The Twilight Zone is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction. This, as you may recognize, is a maintenance service elevator, still in operation, waiting for you. We invite you, if you dare, to step aboard because in tonight's episode you are the star. And this elevator travels directly to...The Twilight Zone." Oh goodness. We're in a Twilight Zone episode. I guess I like The Twilight Zone, but I have NEVER wanted to be a part of it!

  • Student-life metaphor: Things are starting to pick up now. A little more stressful, some things are still familiar, but your teachers and assignments are now surprising you a lot like how the familiar storyteller Rod Sterling is surprising you with your participation in an episode of a story that you really DO NOT want to participate in. A storm is brewing, but you're still paralyzed by all of the surprises.

The creepy bellhop that led us into the library is kicking us out of the room because the video is finished, and we are now being led into a boiler room...getting in line to go on some really creepy elevators.

You look down right next to you, which happens to be right where the elevator generator is, and uh...there's sparks coming out of it, and...let's just say it's seen better days.

This is Disney World. I'll be safe. It's fine.

You're up. Time to get into the elevator. (I was sitting in the far back row on the left between my grandpa and my mom.) Thank goodness there are seat belts on this thing, and you immediately make the decision to buckle up, because you'll take any safety precaution you can get at this point.

Another bellhop checks to make sure that you're all buckled up and safe, she says some obvious safety stuff like hold on to the arm rests, don't unbuckle, and good luck.
Thanks, bellhop. Luck is exactly what I need right now...not.

  • Student-life metaphor: This is the part of the school year where you know you're about to take your last steps, if you will, and the rest is the ride to the finish. It's a little scary. You know that this ride is about to take you to summer and no homework and everything you've been waiting for all year long. But it's also a ride that takes you to final exams, missing your friends, finishing up every last assignment down to the last minute. But you're not giving up now. You're getting on this ride. The only thing that anyone can do is to wish you luck and make sure you buckle up.

The doors to the elevator close. Here we go...

All of a sudden you hear Rod Serling's voice: "You are the passengers on a most uncommon elevator about to ascend into your very own episode of The Twilight Zone."
Oh boy. You can feel the elevator rising and all of a sudden, you can see down a long hotel corridor, and some ghosts say hi. Well, actually they don't really say hi, they wave at you...and wait a second, are they inviting you to come with them?

  • Student-life metaphor: These ghosts kind of remind me of the college students who talk about how miserable their life is during their final exams and end of the year stuff, because their end of the year always comes before we do. Those poor students always remind me that I'm about to go through the same difficulty very soon.

Lightning flashes, the ghosts are gone. Good thing too, because they were starting to freak you out.
Then the hallway disappears. All that's left is the window at the end.
What's going on here?
You see some really pretty stars and darkness, and then the window begins to move...
It quickly evolves into the window from the opening of the Twilight Zone--and the window shatters!

Stuff just got real.

Rod Sterling's back: "One stormy night long ago, five people stepped in the door of an elevator and into a nightmare. That door is opening once again and this time, it's opening for you."

Two words go through your head: Oh, crud.

KAPLAM! The elevator plummets (on my ride, the first drop was all fifty feet. The absolute lowest it can drop). It goes SO fast, that your bottom starts to come up off of the seat, only to be stopped by your seat belt (I told you those seat belts would be a blessing). You hold onto those armrests for dear life, close your eyes, and don't open them up again until you know you're safe.

The elevator rises and falls, rises and falls. Now, windows are starting to open up when you rise, and then drop. You can see the whole park from those windows--not that I would know, because my eyes were completely shut and my head was down the entire time.

My grandpa kept trying to take my hand when we were near the window and said, "Look up! It's great! Look up!" My only response was keeping my eyes shut and my head down, as I shook my head "nuh-uh, I can't. No way."

  • Student-life metaphor: You get hit hard with reality. Yes, you're coming to the very end, but your life is at its highest stress level that it's ever been. The best way you can handle it is to keep your head down, keep moving, keep studying, finish what you can, and don't stop until the last day of school is over. Each day feels like a harder and harder challenge to make it to the end. Fortunately, you have people with you trying to get you to enjoy the ride as you're trying to get to the end, but sadly, sometimes we still keep our heads down, and miss some of the good things.

Up and down, up and down, up and down. You're starting to worry for your life, it's so scary. You're even praying when you can. Up and down, up and down, up and down.

You finally go up and then come back down for the last time. It's over. You can open your eyes now. You're taking deep breaths. You're alive!!!

Rod Sterling's back again. Where was he when we were plummeting 50 feet?
"A warm welcome back to those of you who made it--"
Gee, thanks.
"--and a friendly word of warning, something you won't find in any guidebook: the next time you check into a deserted hotel on the dark side of Hollywood, make sure you know just what kind of vacancy you're filling, or you may find yourself a permanent resident...of The Twilight Zone."

One of the first things you get to see before you exit is the picture of you "enjoying" the ride....or screaming your head off.

I still remember my picture on The Tower of Terror. As I said before, I was sitting in between my mom and my grandpa. They were holding my hands as I had my head down facing my knees, and eyes completely shut. Everyone in my family was saying, "Hey look! It looks like Hayley's praying!"
My response: "I was!!!"

  • Student-life metaphor: It's the last day of school and life is looking up for a change. Everyone is congratulating you, and maybe in some cases, you're graduating! You're looking back on the last few weeks, and the only thing that you can say is "Thank goodness I made it out alive." You get a whole 3 months before you'll have to experience anything like this again, but in the meantime, you can enjoy summer vacation. Hooray!

As my family and I were walking out of Tower of Terror about to move on to the next ride, I ran up to my dad and started talking about how SUPER SCARY that ride was. Who knows why, but he began to explain why Tower of Terror is his favorite ride, and you begin to wonder why people volunteer to get on a ride that will make you so stressed and terrified.


  • Student-life metaphor: Have you ever wondered why people volunteer to put themselves through high school and college, often willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars that will take their whole lives to pay off? Yet, when we think of school, we groan at the thought of it, remembering how difficult and scary it is?

On the ride home from our second day at Disney World, I looked at an advertisement billboard for Tower of Terror, and I looked at my mom and said, "You know, it's a good feeling when you conquer your fear by doing something that you didn't want to do. I can now say to myself that I rode a really dark, tall, and scary ride for the first time."


  • Student-life metaphor: One of the things that an education provides is being able to conquer our fears, and train ourselves to do hard things that we normally wouldn't ever want to do. For example, I'm about to finish a pre-calculus class, which was beyond a doubt one of the hardest classes I've ever had to pass. But even though I'm going to remember how much I struggled, I'm also going to remember how good I will feel when I finish it. And hopefully, I will remember the times where I worked as hard as I possibly could to conquer that fear and difficulty, and how it was all for the improvement of my mind and soul, and for the glory of God.


I know that many of you are about to enter finals or summer vacation, and I hope you all remember during this time that God is always there to help you and strengthen you, and that while something may be difficult and scary, the reward of conquering it is indescribable.

Another moral of the story is to not go exploring in creepy, abandoned hotels...
Unless, of course, they're at Disney World. :)

Questions for the Reader: Did you have any super scary and difficult classes this year? Have you ever been to a Disney park? Have you ever ridden a really scary ride like Tower of Terror? (Please tell me all about it in the comments, I love reading your stories!)

"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 
--2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

So Much Like You (A Poem)

I'm surprised to find myself posting this poem.

I have a friend who is really into poetry, and I've been thinking about writing more poems myself. 


Today, I had a random urge to write a poem....and I came up with this. I haven't written a poem in FOREVER, mainly because I'm really bad at rhythms and rhyming things, and word choices, and iambic pantameter vs. trochaic hexameter,  stressed vs. unstressed syllables, and line lengths, and subtle vs. not-so-subtle symbols, and things like that.

The really cool thing about this poem is that it sort of turned into my own little psalm of praise, and it talks about how awesome it is that we are made in the image of God.


Feedback would be nice, and if you guys would like to see more of this sort of thing, please let me know! :)




So Much Like You

(a poem inspired by Song of Solomon 4:7)
by Hayley Robinson

“All beautiful you are, my darling.
There is no flaw in you.”
Oh, these words are so thrilling,
and how wonderful, that they should come from You.

You, a majestic and perfect God
who loves me for me and never changes.
How often I’ve fought
to never be thought
of as the strangest.
Yet, You have always sought
and have always pursued me.

You, perfectly and amazingly generous and good,
Who knows all things before they occur,
And so often I nod off to sleep,
Falling into a place where all is a blur
And then I forget who I am in You
Until You help me remember.
Without You,
I never could.

All beautiful am I?
Lord, how undeserving of these words am I,
that You of all beings--
You, among all things--
should find me flawless, perfect, and beautiful…
That You should find me
to be

So much like You.

You, who created time and space,
You who put the stars in place,
You who made the world with Your breath and Your word
With Your words and Your breath, O Lord,
You made the entire world!

You of all beings--
You, who are beyond all things--
Created me
So that I could glorify, worship,
and always be

So much like You.

“All beautiful you are my darling.
There is no flaw in you.”
Yes, Lord, I accept it now.
Surely I must be
If my place is to bow
before You.
Surely You created me
to be

So much like You.

And if my place is to be like You,
Then of course, I must be without one flaw,
Even though I’ve broken every one of Your laws.
You’ve so graciously forgiven me.
And each day you give me the chance to be

So much like You.

To breathe,
To act,
To speak,
and to always be

So much like You.

Question for the Reader: Do you like my poem? :) Do you write poetry? Who are your favorite poets? (Any Dr. Seuss, Emily Dickinson, and George Herbert fans out there?)

"And God saw that it was good. Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them." --Genesis 1:25b-28a

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Where is Death's Victory?

I wrote this post last night, and this morning at church we sang this song:
"Oh death, where is your sting? Oh hell, where is your victory?...My God is not dead, he's alive! He's alive!"I think this is one of the best messages about Easter.

It's 10:27 pm, the night before Easter, and I've been thinking a lot about some of my secret fears.

One of them, I think I conquered today: for about a year now, I've been working on a piece by Charlie Parker on the alto sax called "Dewey Square." It's very difficult, and for the last few days, I was a little afraid to perform it...what if I messed up and completely ruined it? What if I'm not as good as I thought I was? What if all of that practice goes to waste? What if people think I stink at it? What if I made a mistake choosing to play the piece?

But I knew I had to.

Maybe I'm making this too sentimental, but when I first heard the original recording, I fell completely in love with it. It was fun, it was light, it was quick, and it felt like a song that entirely expressed overwhelming joy...and it's jazz. :)

So I learned it.

And then when the recital was coming up, and it was time for me to pick a tune to play, I couldn't choose any other one but Dewey Square.

Finally, approximately 5 hours ago as I write this, it was time for me to perform. I had never been so nervous leading up to a performance in my entire music career, probably because I've never worked so hard on a piece leading up to a performance before.

Let me introduce you to one of my secret fears: disappointing people. This falls under the same category of  perfectionism and unnecessarily killing myself to make everyone like me, when it will inevitably never happen.

When I walked on the stage for the dress rehearsal, a wave of peace overcame me, and the rehearsal was practically perfect. At the final performance though, I was a little bit more nervous knowing that this was "the real thing." I messed up a couple of times, but hardly anyone noticed. When I watched my dad's videotape of the performance, I could tell where I messed up, but I knew that was only because I was the one on stage.

Afterwards, I felt so happy to have finished it once and for all. I found myself asking, "Why was I ever nervous and afraid in the first place?"

Tonight, I just finished watching "The Book Thief." As some of you know, the story is narrated by death, which for most of the film, absolutely sickened me. It was gross to hear how death would think of a person and his/her life in general. It was quite condescending.

The very last line in death's narration was this: "I am haunted by humans."

Isn't that perfectly excellent? I could not have been more happier about that statement when I heard it.

After all of the revolting language that death had used to describe mankind, the truth comes out: death is afraid of us.

This leads me to my confession of another secret fear: anything related to death, ghosts, horror, or evil that is invisible to me, or surprises me.

It's a funny thing about fear though: fear is something that often comes from something we feel threatened by, or unloved by.

For most of my childhood, I have hated Halloween, especially haunted houses, haunted house rides, ghosts and disgusting, horrifying images on the neighbors' houses, and worst of all: people who would invite me to stare all these things in the face...and enjoy it!

The reason I dislike these things so much is because they are the absolute opposite of who God is. God is life. Those things are death. God is love. Those things are fear. God is amazingly good. Those things are dripping with evil. God looks out for me, and keeps me safe in His arms. Those things want nothing but harm for me...or at least want to laugh at my fear. God says, "I love you, I will keep you safe, and all is well. You are so important." Those things laugh at me and try to make me feel small.

When I heard that death is haunted by humans, I rejoiced to God.

THANK GOODNESS that Jesus has overcome the dead. Praise the Lord that Jesus overcame death, giving us the privilege to be sons and daughters of God: which gives us MUCH more power over death.

And that's why death is afraid of us.

Now I can go to sleep tonight knowing that I need not be afraid of death. In all of my years being afraid of things relating to death, I know now that death is much more afraid of me, taunted by me, and hates me, because through Jesus's crucifixion and resurrection, I am no longer a small, meaningless lie, like death is.

Because of Jesus, we now represent death's greatest conqueror, which we also celebrate in Jesus's resurrection today:

LIFE.

Happy Easter!

"When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." --1 Corinthians 15:54-58

Monday, April 14, 2014

Letter to the Readers: Questions, Anyone?

Hi everyone,

So you've probably seen that big ominous box on the blog for the last couple of weeks containing the promise of awesome posts coming soon.

It finally starts today.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One of my favorite ideas on the poll above is to have an interview with me and the readers, but I also liked the vlog post idea.

Here's how this is going to work:

For the next few days, you are all invited to send me any questions you'd like (within the bounds of appropriateness and reason!). It could be anything from "What is your favorite color?" to "What do you want to be when you grow up?" to "Who is your favorite baroque musician and your favorite artist from the 17th century?" (I'd have to do a little historical research to answer that question, but I'm willing!)

All you have to do is send me whatever question(s) you have in the contact form to the left of this post. Make sure that you write your question in the message box in the following format:

"Interview Question: What is your favorite color?
--(Name or "Anonymous" or one letter "Your blog bud" or whatever you like to sign your messages with.)"

That way, I know that the question you're asking is intended for the vlog post, and isn't a private question. Plus, I get more questions for the video and I get to know my readers, which makes me a happy camper. :)

I do not intend to shut down the contact form anytime soon, but I'd like all questions for the interview to be sent in by this Thursday, April 17th. 

Then, I'll go through all of the questions that I receive and make a vlog post about it (hopefully within the month of April).

If you have any questions about this interview in general, feel free to leave a comment on this post.

I hope you all have a marvelous day, and don't forget to send in those questions!

This is going to be so much fun, and I'm really excited!!!!

Blessings,
Hayley

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

GREAT NEWS!!!

You guys....

Just....

As some of my friends would say: "alksdjflsjdfal;jdlfja;lskdjf"

Or if you are more of a visual person...

Roll the clip:

Other reactions include:

Really?????

Get. Out!!!

NO WAY!

I mean, just...for real?

I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!!!

*Squealing like a little girl*

...wut.

WOOHOO!

Thanks for walking with me down Happy Reaction Lane, and welcome back to VH.

Why am I so excited you ask?

WE WON ANOTHER AWARD!!!!!

Roll the clip again:

Sorry, I just really love that clip. :) Haha.

It's called the Liebster Award: 
Isn't it preeetty? :)

The Liebster Award is an award for encouraging readership and followers for new bloggers.

These are the 5 rules for accepting the nomination:
1. Thank the wonderful, awesome, amazing blogger that nominated you.
2. Answer the 11 questions that the nominator provided.
3. Nominate 11 other bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
4. Post 11 different questions for the nominees to answer.
5. Contact your nominees to let them know that they've been nominated for the award.

Lois, you're the best! Thank you SO much for nominating me for the Liebster Award (as well as the Versatile Blogger Award) and as always, best wishes to you on your blog: You, Me, and a Cup of Tea. It's definitely one of my favorites.

Now here are the answers to your questions:
1. Who's your favorite author?
Oooh, that's a tough one. I really enjoy C.S. Lewis, Jane Austen, and John & Stasi Eldredge. I can't really decide between the three. C.S. Lewis writes great fiction as well as nonfiction books that really make me think; Jane Austen writes beautiful stories that are almost like fairytales to me; and John & Stasi Eldredge have written excellent books that have shaped my worldview and spiritual walk.

2. What is your favorite book?
Besides the Bible, I'd have to say that Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is my favorite book, because it's written by one of my favorite authors, and it has really great messages about important lessons in life. Thinking more about why I love this book so much, I should really write a book review in another post, because I don't have enough room to write about it here. To be continued!

3. Why did you start blogging?
A couple of reasons. First, I wanted to have a place where I could share thoughts, opinions, and life updates with friends, family, and classmates online. Secondly, I saw that a lot of my classmates in my online school program had a blog, and it greatly appealed to me. I also knew it could help improve my writing, which I have always enjoyed doing.

4. What is your favorite TV show?
I can't pick just one! My favorites are The Cosby Show (re-runs), I Love Lucy (re-runs), and The Mentalist (not a re-run!). I don't usually watch anything else.

5. What is your favorite movie?
I really like "The Blind Side," "Pride and Prejudice" (Yes, the Keira Knightley version, don't judge me!) and "The Princess Bride." I'm also a sucker for most Disney movies. :)

6. What is your current school status?
Approximately 6 1/2 weeks left until I finish my junior year of high school!!!! Yipee!

7. Peanut butter or nutella?
Nutella. Definitely nutella. Moving on...

8. If you could go on your dream vacation and money was no object, where would you go? 
First I would go on my church's missions trip coming up to Hungary, and then I'd probably explore the rest of Europe, as well as New Zealand.

9. If you could read a book for the first time again, what would it be and why?
I'd probably choose "Epic" by John Eldredge. It was the book that I read before I was baptized (that was 7 years ago yesterday!) and I've grown so much spiritually since then, that I wonder what it would be like to read that book again as if it were the first time.

10. What is your favorite book to movie adaptation?
This took me a while to think about, but one of my favorite book to movie adaptations is "Hoot." The book written by Carl Hiassen won a Newberry Honor, and the movie was directed by Will Shriner, and starred Logan Lerman. It's a great story about a high school teen boy who moves from Montana to Florida and ends up saving a population of endangered owls. I strongly recommend both the book and the movie.

11. Do you like tea?
Of course! My favorite tea is combining Country Peach Passion and Raspberry Zinger (they are both from the Celestial Seasonings brand) and adding stevia. 

(In my best impression for an Academy award winning actor reading off a list) "And the nominees for The Liebster Award are..."
1. Rejoice Always by Sarah Berry
2. The Hill Country by Moriah Robinson
3. Serendipity by Alicia Lewin
4. Emily is Smiling by Emily
5. Country Girl's Daybook by Iris Hanlin
6. Positively Ducky by Karen
(I could list 6 blogs, but not quite 11.)

Here are my questions for you, nominees:
1. Who are your heroes?
2. What is your favorite Bible verse?
3. What is your favorite quote?
4. What is/was your favorite class/subject in school (college courses count!)?
5. What is your favorite part about blogging?
6. Coffee or Tea?
7. On-stage plays or Movies?
8. If you could listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
9. If you were a book character, who would you be?
10. What is the highest-priority item on your bucket list?
11. What is the best blog post you have ever read or written yourself?

I will be sure to contact the people on the nominees list, just in case they missed this post. 

Thank you to all readers who encourage me to keep this blog going, and therefore make it possible for me to have won an award today. :)

Question for the Reader: What has been your favorite post on this blog?

"Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act." --Psalm 37:5