Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April Report Card

Let's see how I did on resolutions for this month...

Omnibus Reading: C
I'm getting a dent into my reading, but I haven't finished the reading plan. As a matter of fact, I need to make a new one... This one needs to happen before my reading percentages are due!

Diary Writing: A
I did better on this than last month, and that's all I really wanted. I made three entries for the month of April, so hopefully I can get into the habit of making weekly entries for May.

Read Judges and Proverbs: D-
This one's just not happening for some reason. I'll find a way to make it work out soon.

Teach Youth Group: A+
The meeting went very well! Many people said that they got a lot out of that lesson. I'm very pleased to see how God worked in incredible ways with my teaching.

Music Practice: A
I practiced a LOT more than last month. I need to keep better track of it though. I think I'll make a calendar.

Post at least 3 times this month: A+
Go look at how many posts were in this month's archive... That's a whole lot more than 3 isn't it? I'm really enjoying this new blogging hobby. :) 

Extra Credit: Exercising
I've been doing more exercising this month, which I debated putting on my report card at the beginning of April, but decided not to. It turns out that I made it happen anyway, which is a great accomplishment for me. 

Total Average: A-

How's that for improvement? I am very happy with this report card in comparison to the last one. I'm hoping that I can continue to improve in my goals as I steadily grow in following the Lord's plans as well. 

I'll be back soon with my resolutions for May, so stay tuned!

Question for the Reader: Are you satisfied with your results on April resolutions?

"Look to the Lord and his strength, seek his face always." --Psalm 105:4

(Link-up to Kelli Taylor's She Learns As She Goes)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Every Little Thing You Do

It's that time of the year again. The trees are getting green leaves with blossoming flowers, the days are getting hotter, and everything seems so much brighter. Summer is near! 

One of the things I've heard people love to do in preparation for summer season is create a "summer playlist." For a couple of minutes, I was curious to see what Christian songs counted as "summer" music. It didn't take long for me to find one of my favorite songs that I haven't heard in quite a few weeks. 

It's called "Do Everything" by Steven Curtis Chapman. The title almost makes you think that the song is about how we have to do absolutely everything through Christ, no excuses. But on the contrary, it calls followers of Christ to simply do the things that bring glory to God. That's a big weight lifted, isn't it?

Here are the lyrics: 

You're picking up toys on the living room floor for the 15th time today
Matching up socks
Sweeping up lost cheerios that got away

You put a baby on your hip
Color on your lips and head out the door

While I may not know you, 
I bet I know you
Wonder sometimes, does it matter at all?

Well let me remind you, it all matters just as long
As you do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you, 
Cause he made you, 
To do
Every little thing that you do 
To bring a smile to His face
Tell the story of grace
With every move that you make
And every little thing you do

Maybe you're that guy with the suit and tie
Maybe your shirt says your name

You may be hooking up mergers
Cooking up burgers
But at the end of the day

Little stuff
Big stuff
In between stuff
God sees it all the same

While I may not know you
I bet I know you
Wonder sometimes, does it matter at all?

Well let me remind you, it all matters just as long
As you do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you, 
Cause he made you
To do
Every little thing that you do 
To bring a smile to His face
Tell the story of grace
With every move that you make
And everything you do

Maybe you're sitting in math class
Or maybe on a mission in the Congo
Or maybe you're working at the office
Singing along with the radio

Maybe you're dining at a 5-star
Or feeding orphans in the Myanmar
Anywhere and everywhere that you are

Whatever you do
It all matters
So do what you do
Don't ever forget

To do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you, 
Cause He made you
To do
Every little thing that you do 
To bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of grace

As you do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you, 
Cause he made you
To do
Every little thing that you do 
To bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of grace
With every move that you make
And every little thing you do

In every little thing you do
In every little thing you do

This is such a great reminder. With school finishing up soon, and just praying constantly that I survive through the end of the semester and extracurricular activities, it's nice to know that God is all right with my best as long as it is all to His glory. 

With that in mind, I think my last few weeks of spring will be nicer than I thought they would be at first glance. :)

Question for the Reader: Are you making preparations for summer?

"Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" --Matthew 6:26

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Reading Questionnaire

Since I'm such a blog follower, I found out that Hero from Heroic Endeavors and Kelli from She Learns As She Goes posted answers to certain questions about reading. 

Here are my answers to the questionnaire:

Do you snack while you read?
I often do not snack while I read in fear that food will get into the lovely books! 

What is your favorite drink while reading?
Dark Sumatra with stevia and half-and-half. I also enjoy passion tea lemonade in the spring and summertime, and hot chocolate around Christmastime.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
I write in my textbooks at school, and sometimes write little notes for myself in Omnibus books. Sometimes if I'm behind on Omnibus reading, and we're only reading parts from a piece of literature, I'll write down all the page sections that I'm supposed to read on the cover page. 

How do you keep your place while reading a book?
I either use one of my special bookmarks, or I'll even use a piece of paper anywhere near me: a sticky note, a shred of notebook paper, a notecard, etc.

Are you the type of person who tends to read to the end of the chapter, or can you stop anywhere?
If someone is calling me to do something, I'll at least try to get to the end of the page first. I'm a reader with an aim. I'm always trying to get to the end of something whether it's a page, a section, a chapter, or the book itself.

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or onto the floor if the author irritates you? 
No, if I don't like what the author has to say, I simply stop reading his work.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you look it up right away?
Only if it's driving me insane. Usually I try to figure it out within the context, or ask someone nearby if they know what it means. If all else fails and I can't get over it, I'll look it up.

What are you currently reading?
I'm reading a lot of things, especially at school. I'm reading Ovid's Metamorphoses, J.I. Packer's Knowing God, The Book of Isaiah, The Gospel of Mark, Philippians and Colossians, and Edith Hamilton's Mythology, to name a few.

What was the last book you bought?
Last month, I bought The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi at the school book fair.

Do you have a favorite time/place to read?
I like reading in quiet coffee shops or lying down on my bed at night before I go to sleep.

Do you prefer series books or stand-alones?
I like both very much. There are some series that I do not enjoy, and would rather have the author write one book on the topic or story instead of trying to make an entire series.

Is there a specific book that you find yourself recommending over and over?
I keep finding myself recommending The Westminster Confession of Faith, but I also recommend The Great Gatsby, Animal Farm, and other books that I read last year in school. 

How do you organize your books? 
My personal books are very disorganized. They can be on a bookshelf at random, on my desk, or even next to or under my bed. However, I keep my school books organized on a shelf by semester.

Question for the Reader: Would you like to try your hand at the questionnaire?

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning." --John 1:1

Monday, April 22, 2013

Recent Impacting Quotes and Verses

Sorry I haven't posted in the last few days! It's been very busy recently, but I hope to make up for it with this post about Bible verses and quotes that have been profound, interesting, or make me reflect.

"Being 16 is about learning life lessons, experimenting with different things, overcooking your desserts, but making something perfect, creating things you're proud of, making messes and forgetting to clean them up, listening to your favorite music at full volume, learning to appreciate the ones who love you and just taking advantage of every moment...this is one of the best years of your life--make the most of it, cuz you'll miss it when its over. <3" --Christi Sallard, Google+ post

"The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down." --Psalm 145:14

"Life is divided up into the horrible and the miserable." --Woody Allen
(I don't agree with this one, but it made me reflect. Oh, how often we tell ourselves, "I hate my life," or "I can't wait to get out of this," or "I hate this," or "I don't even want to be here." Yet we turn around when someone says "Life is utterly miserable" and shun them for saying it out loud. If we are going to rejoice in life, we can't be hypocrites and act like we enjoy life, but on the inside tell ourselves how often we want to get out of it.)

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" --Philippians 4:4

"Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." --Colossians 3:16-17

"Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." --Ephesians 5:18-21
(This one also made me reflect. I can't tell you how many times when I was feeling conflicted or worn out and decided to watch t.v. or YouTube for a little while, when I could have prayed or read the Bible, filling myself up with the Spirit instead of the DVR. The funny thing is, every time I decide to make the wrong choice and catch up on the DVR instead of God's Word, I get absolutely zero satisfaction out of it. I feel empty the entire time. As a matter of fact, I only feel numbed and feel no different than before I sat down on the couch, except even more worn out. But when I pray and go to God and His Word, I feel refreshed and confident. Remember this when you have a long hard day. Nothing satisfies more than God Himself. God is the ultimate healer.)

"If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world." --C.S. Lewis

"Life is like a movie we arrive to forty minutes late." --John Eldredge

"What if we treated people as if they were especially treasured in the kingdom of God?" --Josh Crigger (youth group leader), paraphrase

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters." --1 John 3:16

"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 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 13:1-10, 12-13

"You have the ability to choose which way you want to go. You have to believe great things are going to happen in your life. Do everything you can-prepare, pray and achieve-to make it happen." --Benjamin Carson 
(The words "Make it Happen" are my desktop picture: http://blog.imbreannarose.com/wallpaper-10-make-it-happen/)

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think in the comment box. :)

Question for the Reader: What verses/quotes have stood out to you recently and how have they impacted you?

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." --Psalm 51:10-12

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mid-April Progress Report

Good morning, readers!

Today I thought I'd give you an update on how my April Resolutions are coming along.

What do you think of these forget-me-nots? I decided they're my favorite flower because they're my favorite colors, and they remind me of how God always remembers us. Also, I think they're really pretty. ;)
1. Omnibus Reading
Oh, if only I could skip this one. This is still really hard to get done. I need to find a motivation for myself... I doubt I'll be completely caught up by the end of the month, but I know I can get a B or a C on this at best if I get into gear.

2. Diary Writing
I've been starting a practice diary and have been writing a little bit in it, but in my personal diary I think I've only written one entry this month. But this is easy to get better on. All it takes is taking 10 minutes at night to write a page about my day.

3. Read Judges and Proverbs
I've read some Proverbs, but I'd love to dive more into the Word a bit more. I can imagine getting an A- on this one.

4. Teach Youth Group
Coming soon! I'm scheduled to teach on the 25th, so I'm super excited! I know what I'm going to teach about, I have some ideas to make it lots of fun, use plenty of examples from Scriptures, give encouragement, and if there's still time, prayer and extra encouragement. :)

5. Music Practice
I'm doing a lot better on this one than last month. I've been practicing some Mendelssohn and clarinet this month, and I'll probably practice again this week before the Music Festival on Friday and LYS Rehearsal and private lessons on Saturday. My practice diary is also a good motivator. I think for next month I'll make a calendar to go with it. 

6. Post at least 3 times this month
Reading this in the last couple days has put me in a giggle fit. Go ahead and look on the side of the page where it says Blog Archive, click on the April arrow, and count how many posts have been published this month. That's way more than 3 isn't it? And that's not including the resolutions posts. So with that math and reasoning, I think it's pretty easy to suspect the grade for this category.

This month is going pretty well by the looks of things. I'm pretty excited for this month's report card! Let me know how things are going with you as well. I love hearing from you all. :)

Once again, don't forget about the favorite books link-up and the poll at the top. The details are on the side of the posts.

God bless the rest of your day!

Question for the Reader: I've noticed in my life recently that a lot of people are in need of prayer. Do you have any prayer requests that you'd like to share? You can send me an email at hayleyvrobinson@gmail.com or post in the comment box.

"Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known." --Jeremiah 33:3 
(I really like this verse because it's a reminder that when the going gets tough, God still holds everything together with His hands, and knows of greater things than we can see. All we have to do is call on Him, and He will answer us every time, even though He may not answer right away. I was told recently to think of Jeremiah 33:3 as God's phone number.)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Current Enjoyments--4/15/13

God has made many opportunities for joy recently. Here are the 15 "little things" that I have currently been enjoying (in no specific order :D ). 

1) Jamaican coffee

This is absolutely delicious, but super expensive. Some friends have given us some Jamaican coffee beans, and we already have a nice coffee grinder and French press at home, so that all equals to a happy 15 minutes of coffee drinking. :) Disclaimers: Jamaican coffee is quite expensive and since the beans are so unique, some coffee grinders (namely, the Robinson Family household coffee grinder) do not like it. But believe me, you will.

2) Tea! Especially these...

I recently went to a friend's house, and since she loves tea so much and I like it too, we had a mini tea party. I hadn't had tea in a while, but all that changed. I've been drinking tea more recently, and when summer comes around, I'll probably go on an iced tea spree with this:

3) My ESV Study Bible

This is awesome. If you're an ESV fan and love to go in depth of theology and history with Bible study, this is the Bible for you. My parents bought this on Amazon for me as an Easter present. I've already been studying the book of Isaiah with this book. It has a reading plan, concordance, index, articles by experts, maps, introductions to each book or section (e.g. The Prophets, The Gospels, etc.), tips for study, footnotes, table of contents, an online study option... It has pretty much everything!

4) The fact that I get to read some of my favorite books of the Bible in my Omnibus Primary class
I'm super excited for this! We're already reading the gospel of Mark AND we're going to get started on Philippians and Colossians this week. Plus, you can read it from any version you want, and that gives me yet another opportunity to read from my handy dandy study bible. Super. Fantastically. Awesome.

5) The fact that my last bowling score looked like an SOS in Morse Code
Ok, I'm not as excited about this one as I am enjoying it. I've been looking at this picture on my phone in the last couple of days whenever I needed a laugh or needed a reminder that God made me a hilarious joke. I mean this is very humbling:

Mine's the second row that starts with an H.  Don't all of those dashes remind you of morse code? In case you're wondering, my final score was a whopping 42. I think I had a better score when I bowled for the very first time at age 10. Six years later I bowled like I have the lane and the gutter confused. My mom decided to reteach me how to swing the ball and my dad reminded me of why the last box on the score sheet is bigger than the other ones. I don't know how it happened, but somehow I must have looked like I dumbed down after 15 minutes of constant gutter balls, which makes sense. I mean if I saw somebody look like they were chucking the bowling ball into the gutter lane, I'd probably remind them that the actual bowling lane is in the middle too. At least I can laugh about it now.

6) RMCA Music Festival and Bake Sale this Friday
This is one of my favorite events of the school year, and this year is going to be the best for the following reasons:
First of all, I get to be in it again for the first time since I was in middle school;
Second, my friends from  other schools are going to be there;
Third, I don't have classes that day, so in theory, I can go to as many of the performances as I want (notice that I said "in theory." I might have some unexpected homework, I might not be allowed to go in during judged performances, etc.);
Fourth, in theory I can spend time on breaks with said friends from other schools (another "in theory");
Fifth, I get the opportunity to bake for the bake sale;
Sixth, I'm going to be totally ready to play any song my director throws at me;
Seventh, I might get the chance to play some solos;
Eighth...I don't have an eighth, but I'm sure I'll come up with one within the next few days. :D
That's a lot of reasons why it's going to be one of the best days ever. This would be dumb, but I almost want to dare myself to come up with one reason that anything could go wrong on Friday. It would be dumb because the devil can and will take up that dare, it would be stupid to let him, and why let myself be a part of the pessimistic? I mean this entire post is about finding the optimistic in life right now. So, with that said, this Friday=one of the best days ever. Moving on...

7) In Longmont Youth Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, we're playing Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 5 (aka, Reformation Symphony) and John Williams movie adventures!
Mendelssohn's 5th will be the very first symphony that the LYS orchestra has ever played. (Super cool that I get to be a part of that.) Not many people are familiar with Mendelssohn or the Reformation, but apparently, Mendelssohn's 5th is a people pleaser to those who regularly attend classical music concerts and appreciators of music history. If you're a music hobbyist or just love learning about this sort of thing, I suggest listening to Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 5 and/or look up Mendelssohn's history and the history of the Reformation. If you ask me, it would be time well spent. I've only heard Mendelssohn's symphony once, rehearsed it once, and played through it about twice, and it's already one of my favorite pieces that I have ever played in my entire life. It's absolutely beautiful. Disclaimer: the entire symphony is about half an hour long, but in order to get the gist of it, I suggest listening to the fourth movement. It's my favorite movement because it's the finale of the symphony, and it's based on the hymn by Martin Luther "A Mighty Fortress is Our God." Mendelssohn made it absolutely stunning.
As for the John Williams piece, anybody who loves movies would enjoy this one. We're playing the themes from E.T., Star Wars, and Jurassic Park. It will be fun to perform for sure.

8) This shampoo

I don't know what it is about me and shampoo scents, but this shampoo changed my hair life. I know what you're thinking. "Gee, Hayley, it's just a shampoo." "Wow, somebody needs a life." "Tea Tree? That's weird." Think what you will, but Tea Tree is one of the best scents ever because it has a refreshing scent that wakes you up and relaxes you. The shampoo is also made to keep your scalp and hair clean and healthy. It's awesome. Disclaimer: It's pretty expensive for an 18 oz bottle of shampoo, but it's great to use every now and then. 

9) This water bottle

I got this for Christmas and it's one of my favorite presents. It has a filter in it so you can fill it with cold tap water and still get a fresh perfect H2O taste. :D I drink water a lot more now because of this.

10) Applesauce with Cereal
Call me crazy but I tried it out over Spring Break, and now I eat it almost every morning. It's delicious. What I like to do is put unsweetened applesauce in the bowl, put whatever fruit I want on top of it, put my gluten-free rice square cereal on top of that, top it with cinnamon and agave nectar, (secret: sometimes I put chocolate chips on top) and voila! The best breakfast cereal bowl in the entire world is created.

11) Opportunities to Teach!
I've had so many opportunities to teach this month! I've taught in my church preschool class, I had a fun  assignment in my English Composition class to teach a lesson from "The Elements of Style" on participial phrases, and I get to teach my youth group on the 25th!

12) Colored Pencils as Bible highlighters
Who knew that a colored pencil could double as a highlighter? I'm just using this for now until I can get a nice actual Bible highlighter on Amazon or get some Twistable crayons, depending on what the internet says is better. :P (Not to say that the internet is right about everything, but you know what I mean...)

13) Carl Maria von Weber's Concertino for Clarinet (not Carla)
Another reason that I can be a walking, breathing hilarious joke: I called the composer of Concertino for Clarinet in E-flat major Carla Maria von Weber instead of Carl Maria von Weber! When I made that discovery I completely freaked out on the inside, which was followed by the ever popular *facepalm.* I pretty much changed Carla to Carl everywhere that I had written it down to make it look like it never happened, but now that I look back on it, it's pretty funny. I'm still working on the concertino and my private lessons teacher has been giving me tips on how to do better, and I am much better on it than when I first performed it in front of my youth group at the end of February. So for now I'm feeling pretty good about it. It's also an awesome motivator to practice as much as possible, which is good news in terms of my resolutions for April.

14) The fact that there are only 6 weeks until school's out!
This one speaks for itself, especially to my fellow school attenders out there. :)

15) My awesome readers
Here's the thing: on Friday, I made a post about my poll and pretty much took a break for the weekend, but when I came back to check my blog status on Sunday, my all time view number went from about 340 to 415! I am so excited to know that people are reading my blog, and hopefully enjoying it. I'd like to say thank you to all of my readers out there for your comments, your views, and encouragement to keep writing and posting. It really means a lot! I love to see comments, encouragement, and even constructive criticism. This is only the beginning for this blog, and I can't wait to see what else God plans to do with it. I hope that so far all of you readers have been enjoying all that this young blog has.

(News: I wrote a message on the right of the blog posts explaining the details of the poll under the title and the favorite books link-up. Have fun voting and linking-up!)

Question for the Reader: What have you been enjoying lately?

"Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure." --Psalm 16:9

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Poll Just for You!

Good afternoon, readers!

You may be wondering why there is a strange window right under the title of this blog. That is because I'd like to attempt at making a poll for the blog to see what the reader would like to see.

The way it works is that you think about the best post in your point of view for this blog based on the options above. Just think about this question: "If there was a post that you would especially like to see on this blog according to the options given, what would it be?"

If you can't decide yet, no problem! This poll will be closed on Thursday night, April 25th, so you'll have plenty of time to vote.

After the poll is closed, I will check the results and start working on the post that won the poll.

I'm very excited to see what the results will be. :) Happy voting!

(In other news: Don't forget to link up on the favorite books post! It will be closed on April 26th.)

Question for the Reader: What are your plans for this weekend?

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." --3 John 1:4

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

More Blogs I'm Following!

As a blogger, I also love to read other bloggers's posts. It's so much fun to see what other people think, how they spend their time, and what they simply love doing. Here are some new blogs I've been following in the last month or so:

1. ShadowCat Literature by Andrea Bulthuis
This blog, written by a good friend of mine, is a lot of fun to read, mainly because Andrea is an excellent character developer and creates such good stories, and she chooses to make her blog circulate around her creativity in writing.

2. The Hill Country by Moriah Robinson

My sister just made her first post on her new video blog this week. She's very excited about making posts on her everyday life as an eighth grader in Colorado with her charm and wit. :)

3. 21 Empire Designs by Christi Sallard

Written by my good friend, Christi Sallard, this blog gives great advice on fashion tips, shopping, and reviews on the fashion surrounding American culture. 

4. Veritas Press Scholars Academy Griffin
Yes, indeed, online-schoolers can be involved in a journalism club, and the members proved it by creating a blog that doubles as the official VPSA Secondary School Journalism Newspaper, known as "The Griffin," which is our school mascot.

5. Back to Her Roots

This is a blog about a woman named Cassie living in Indiana who blogs about her grand attempt in creating a healthy lifestyle that others can imitate. She makes great healthy recipes and gives great tips in everyday healthy living.

6. Joy the Baker

This is a blog about a woman named Joy, and she's a baker. Now that I have stated the obvious, I'll only continue as far to say that while I haven't followed this blog for very long, the recipes are pretty amazing, and I admire the blog as a baker myself.

7. Reasons My Son Is Crying

This is a hilarious blog about a father who's young little boy cries all of the time, as most young children tend to do. The writer laughs at this fact by taking pictures of his son's so-called agony and makes brief funny captions about why his son is tearful. 

8. A Not-So-Ordinary Girl by Raven Layne
I just discovered this blog today, and it's fascinating. It's sort of a mysterious blog about a girl who blogs about who she is and what world she's a part of in her imagination. And here's the cherry on top: we don't know who she really is. In fact, Raven Layne is her pen name! 

(Note: To find the link for each blog, just click on its title!)

That's all for now, folks! If you would like to share your own blog feel free to link up to the last post, regardless on whether or not your topic is on your favorite books or not. :)

Questions for the Reader: What blogs are you following? Which ones are your favorites?

"And he said to them, 'Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.' Immediately they left their nets and followed him." --Matthew 4:18-19

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Favorite Books Link-up

Good afternoon, readers!

My last post on my summer reading list got me thinking about my favorite books. After following other blogs, I wanted to try my own link-up. The way it works is that I make a post on something like a list of my favorite books for example, and then you, reader, can post a link to the post of your own blog that contains your list of favorite blogs. So, fingers crossed hoping that this works out!

1. The Bible 
As a Christian, this is a bit of a no-brainer, but the more I dive into the Word of God, the more my soul feels at rest.

2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Ah, yes. The classic chick-flick on paper. :)

3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
This is an awesome novel that reminds me of the importance of looking forward in life, instead of dwelling on the past. Things get messy when we do!

4. Epic: The Story God Is Telling and the Role That Is Yours to Play by John Eldredge
This is one of my all-time favorites, because it reminds me of how God made us with a special purpose, and that we have a role to play in His story.

5. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Sort of a chick-flick on paper as well, but also has a similar style of a book of virtues.

6. The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
Many theologians say that every Christian should read this book. I agree with them. This book is fantastic, and is a great reminder that life is like a journey in which we face multiple temptations, but have to keep our eyes focused on the faith.

7. The Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms
I studied this book last year in school, and at first, I didn't see much significance in it, but after going through it again, it's incredible how much theology is based on simple truths that come from the Scriptures.

8. Animal Farm by George Orwell
I really enjoy this book because it's allegorical and also a story that can be easily enjoyed, even if the symbolism is set aside.

9. Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters by Lesley M. M. Blume 
I bought this book at a school book fair a few years back, and it lies on my top shelf in my bedroom, because every now and then I come back to it when I am in need of simple short and sweet story telling, which this book is chock full of. It's a fun read.

10. The Chronicles of Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis
It would be foolish of me to not include this on my list. I love these classics.

(Note: These books are in no particular order on the list.)

Now it's your turn! Be sure to put your name and title of blog, e.g. Hayley @ Victorious Heroine, and in the URL box, please put the link to your post, not blog homepage. I look forward to seeing the results! :D

Question for the Reader: What books from your past, whether you have read them or they have been read to you, have been most influential for your life and/or faith?

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." --Psalm 119:105

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Summer Reading List

Spring always gets me excited, but it also makes me anticipate for summer to come. So naturally, I plan out what many book-lovers make for the summertime: The Summer Reading List. Here is mine so far:

Required Reading for Omnibus:

City of God by St. Augustine
  • Book I
  • Book II, ch. 21 & Book IV
  • Book V, ch. 8-26
  • Book VIII
  • Book XI
  • Book XII
  • Book XIII
  • Book XIV, ch. 1-17
  • Book XIV, ch. 28
  • Book XV, ch. 1-14
  • Book XV, ch. 18-27
  • Book XVIII, ch. 1-29
  • Book XVIII, ch. 30-54
  • Book XIX, ch. 1-18
  • Book XIX, ch. 19-28
  • Book XX, ch. 16-27 & Book XXI
  • Book XXII, ch. 1-17
  • Book XXII, ch. 18-30
Saga of the Volsungs by Jesse L. Byock

The Koran
  • Sura 3 ("The Imrans")
  • Sura 8 (The Spoils)
  • Sura 9 (Repentance)
Pleasure Reading:

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
Emma by Jane Austen

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

The Silmarillion by J.R. Tolkien

Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Poems by Emily Dickinson

Poems by Walt Whitman

Poems by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Dracula by Bram Stoker

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Macbeth by Shakespeare

Hamlet by Shakespeare

Works of G.K. Chesterton

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge

Confessions by St. Augustine


Watership Down by Richard Adams

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

Questions for the Reader: Do you have a summer reading list? What are some books that you are looking forward to reading the most? Any suggestions for really great books to read?

"For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." --Romans 15:4 

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Resolutions

Excited to announce this month's resolutions! And heeeeeeeeerrrrreeeee they are! (Yes, this is a bit corny, but if Johnny Carson could get away with the "Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Johnny!" then I don't think that mine is so far off...)

April Resolutions

1. Omnibus reading
This is as simple as keeping up with the plan I made last week to help me catch up and then read the assignments on each Omnibus class homepage as the weeks go by.

2. Diary Writing
This is an attempt to redeem myself from March's F... :D

3. Read Judges and Proverbs
Because if at first you only halfway succeed, try try again to finish the other half. :)

4. Teach Youth Group
This one will be easy. My youth group leaders and I will be planning out a day for me to teach, I already have a topic together, so all I have to do is do some praying and thinking to make the lesson happen, and allow God to take care of the rest as He always does. :)

5. Music Practice: 30 minutes a week outside of rehearsals
This is a smaller goal than last month's in an attempt to start small and slowly grow the habit. 

6. Post at least 3 times this month
I'm very excited about the fact that I have a blog now, and I definitely do not want to give up on it right away.

(Link up to Kelli Taylor's She Learns As She Goes)

Questions for the Reader: What are your April Resolutions? What is the best April Fool's Day prank you have ever played on someone?

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted." --Hebrews 12:1-3

March Report Card

For those of you who have not read my resolutions post, this is the final result of how my month has been in terms of March Resolutions. Here goes...

March Report Card

1. Learn ASL: F
This one didn't happen. Even though last month, I practiced about 5 signs. Maybe I should aim for a lower, more reasonable goal and go back to 5 signs per month.

2. Classic Reader Project (Catching up on Omnibus reading): B-
I did well on making a plan to get Omnibus all caught up within the next few weeks and making a dent into it, but the goal was to get completely caught up, which didn't work.

3. Diary Writing Project: F
I'll admit, I'm embarrassed with this one. I completely forgot about diary writing. I'll try again this April to make it a habit.

4. Teach Youth Group: A
Finally a good grade! :) I hope to be teaching sometime in the near future. 

5. Bible Reading Project: C
I began reading some from Proverbs, and was reminded multiple times of stories from Judges. I haven't completely read through both books, but I got an excellent ESV Study Bible for Easter this year, so I will definitely do my best to follow through on it in April. 

6. Gluten Free/Sugar Free Cooking Project: A+
I tried multiple variations on the peanut butter cookie recipe, including Almond Mocha and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip. As for cooking recipes, I found multiple things including gluten-free soups and sandwiches, rice, a chicken curry salad, and the many wonderful ways of the egg. :) It's not completely impressive, I know, but it's much better than where I was this time last year.

7. Fitness Project: C-
I did very well with gluten-free, and was diligent about finding ways to exercise outside of P.E., I just need to be willing to wake up early enough and find times during the day to follow through on them.

8. Music Goals (Practice): D-
Once again, I failed to practice very much outside of rehearsals at all, let alone 45 minutes per week. Perhaps I need to create a better system to keep myself better accountable about practicing.

Total Grade Average: C-

Yuck. I obviously didn't do very well this month. I learned a couple of things from this: first, I need to keep checking resolutions throughout the month to make sure that I am following through on each resolution as much as possible, and second, I should not make goals that in reality are not likely to be reached.

If you'd like, be sure to share your resolutions and report card for March.

(Note: Link up to Kelli Taylor's She Learns As She Goes)

Question for the reader: What were your monthly resolutions for March? Did you have a good report card?

"The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty." --Proverbs 21:5