Horror Films

July 31, 2010

I prefer not to submerse myself in such brain washing horror films. Indeed, Steven King is a brilliant writer, but not one that I favor to read. To me horror movies degrade and thwart the value of the life God has given us. I see no value in watching something so demonic. What good does it do?

I would agree with Steven King’s statement, “I think we are all mentally ill,” only if he was talking about himself and his fellow horror fiction authors and movie makers. I disagree with this statement applying to everyone.

Being scarred of bugs, scared of the dark, talking to yourself, or even humming to yourself shouldn’t categorize anyone as “mentally ill.” In the Bible is says our eyes are the windows to our souls. If we feed our souls with this garbage, we will unconsciously start to think and act that way. It’s cause and effect—if we watch people being killed over and over (like playing video games), then we will become brain washed.

Death will seem normal.

The effect will be death, caused by school shooting and such. Is that normal? I don’t think so. We shouldn’t fill our minds with ungodly forms on entertainment. Yes, I am the odd person out of bunch.

I am no fun.

I’ve got no life.

I choose not to fill my mind with these horror movies because it’s not pleasing to God. I want to have a pure heart and mind. I do not want to be influences with the horror movies’ usual outburst of rage and dead people out to kill the living. It’s not reality. It’s imaginary, and that’s just as scary as if it we all real.


July 26, 2010

I take pictures every chance I can get. It's almost like an addiction! I am really into taking pictures of nature. It's such a splendid way to capture the essence of life and God's magnificent creation. The added bonus to a photo is that you have captured a moment in time that will last forever. Photography for me, is a way, we as humans, can capture the beauty we see each and every day. We take a picture to permanently capture the moment in which we cherish; so that we never forget those moments we've been through, things we've seen, and those things that have inspired us.

“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever... it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”-- Aaron Siskind
“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.”-- Dorothea Lange
“To me, photography is an art of observation. It's about finding something interesting in an ordinary place... I've found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”-- Elliott Erwitt
“There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.”-- Ernst
“It's weird that photographers spend years or even a whole lifetime, trying to capture moments that added together, don't even amount to a couple of hours.”-- James Lalropui Keivom
 “I wish more people felt that photography was an adventure the same as life itself and felt that their individual feelings were worth expressing. To me, that makes photography more exciting.”-- Harry Callahan
"Photograph:  a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art."--Ambrose Bierce
 “When you find yourself beginning to feel a bond between yourself and the people you photograph, when you laugh and cry with their laughter and tears, you will know you are on the right track.”-- Arthur Fellig
 Thanks for stopping by my blog today and checking things out! And thank you to all who is following my blog! I love you all and you guys make blogging so much fun. Enjoy your week. God Bless.

Review: Resurrection in May by Lisa Samson

July 24, 2010

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: May Seymour graduated from college with the world at her feet and no idea what to do with it. A mission trip to Rwanda brought her a sense of purpose in loving others. So when the genocide began she chose to remain in the village, which was subsequently slaughtered. Only May survived. May journeyed to heal on the farm of Claudius Borne, a sweet, innocent old man who understood plants and animals far better than people. Years later, having not stepped a foot off Claudius' farm, May learns an old college flame, now a death-row inmate, is refusing to appeal his sentence. Can she convince him to grab hold of life once again? Their surprising friendship turns the tables, for the prisoner, Eli Campbell, has a deeper faith from which to draw than she. Eli slowly begins to pull May from her cloistered existence. With the help of Eli, their tiny town, and ultimately a renewal of faith, May comes to life once again.

My Review: The beginning was really strange. I am not sure whether it was due to my lack of reading more modern literature, or what. But I found it confusing and hard to follow. I was thrown of kilter and taken aback at the writing style of the author; it wasn't something I've encountered before. Although the beginning of the book was dull and disappointing (and in my opinion poorly written), the rest of the book wasn't as bad, it was actually kind of cute. I did struggle, however, to continue reading this book because it failed to capture my attention (again, I believe this is primarily due to my lack of reading more modern novels). However, of you are looking for something different to read, I would say go for it. Broaden your horizon and experience the different writing styles of a variety of authors. Nothing against Lisa Samson personally, I just wasn't impressed. But don't take what I have to say to heart, you might actually enjoy this read. So, don't let me prevent you from reading or thinking better of the book and/or the author. It's just my opinion.

Peek into the past

July 23, 2010

Here's something you may not know about me: I am a volunteer historical re-enactor. Yes, my family and I go on-and-off to a historical site in Goodletsville, Tennessee, known around these parts, as Mansker's Station. Not only is there a pretty good sized reproduction fort (station) on site, but there is also a 200 year old house, called the Bowen House. Both are pretty neat places to experience live historical re-enactments, fairs and encampments. We've been volunteers at the site for about four years now, and have put an exuberant amounts of time and energy into gathering a good sized collection of 18th century garb that many of the settlers in the Middle Tennessee region would wear on a daily basis. Actually, we've sewed most of our clothing, except for a few pieces. And I am currently in the process of piecing together a 18th Century Galla Gown.

Believe it or not, I am a history buff. This is true. At times I tend to get frustrated with people who get their facts all whopper-jawed, or bend certain parts of history to make it more or less appealing and untrue...(this might be the reason I don't like watching Pawn Starts :)). But besides that, I'm a fairly easy-going history lover who is dedicated to helping others learn about their country's heritage. It's my passion. What can I say? I plan on becoming a Historian in the near future. I don't rightly know what field of history I will be heading into, whether it's a specific field, a range of fields, I can't say for sure at this moment. But I do know that this is my God given desire and talent; I am going to put all my effort into doing whatever the Lord has be to do, or be!

Skipping all of the boring, less interesting details about my life....*Fast-forwarding the tape*........Okay, so today my mom, brother and I decided it would be a good day to go visit Mansker's Station since we hadn't been there in a while. And we just happened to go on the hottest day of the year. Great. I believe the heat index was around 101 degrees. Way too hot to be outside all day long. However, that's exactly where I found myself. Except it was rather enjoyable. Not only did we go to the site to catch up on "old times", we also went to practice some cooking over the open fire. If you've never cooked over an open fire, you have no idea what your missing!

So, while we were there, my mom (she does most of the cooking) and I realized we'd forgotten to bring some essential ingredients needed to make a few food related items that we were going to practice making. Silly us! *Slaps palm of hand to forehead*. Turns out we'd forgotten: pie crust, cheese, oil, sugar and butter. All of these ingredients we needed to make a homemade Apple Pie and flat bread.

"Oops, I suppose no lunch? No Apple Pie!?" I had asked my mom, alarmed and very disappointed I wasn't going to get my Apple Pie. I was looking forward to that all week. *Tears*. Those things happen I guess. So much for the sweet, flaky, Apple Pie straight from the Dutch Oven.I'm a little obsessed over this pie thing, aren't I? You would be too, if you knew what a Apple Pie tasted like over the open flame. Delish!

Instead of Apple Pie, we had fried apples and flat bread (it was interesting with just flour and water...something was missing). It was a fair lunch. About what they normally would have had back in the day. But I wasn't complaining. Everything tastes good when you're hot and hungry, even unsalted flat bread that didn't turn out like it should have. Ha!

While mom did her cooking, I did some stitching of a sampler that I started a while back. I don't think I will ever make another one with so many French Knots. My fingers are so calloused! It hurts. :P We stayed at the site until the food was made and it was 1:00. After eating, we packed up and headed out. That was until we met up with a lady that did basket making. Very interesting! We'll be doing a basket making class at the end of next month. Yay!

So, that was a small glimpse into my historic life. Not much to write home about, but obviously enough to make a blog post out of it! Well, I hope to see you all tomorrow and my daily rounds of blog reading. Sorry i don't comment like I should. Enjoy your week end!

Get to know the person behind the blog: a new twist on blogging

July 22, 2010

You know, ever since I have started this blog, I can't remember every allowing myself to just express myself by letting you all know some facts about me. I know I've danced around the whole idea of giving out snippets of myself, exposing to you all who I really am. I have come to realize that allowing others to see who you really are enables them to feel like they can relate to you. So, since I claim to be "original" and "unaverage", why do I keep myself hidden and locked up behind these, at times, very impersonal posts? No one gets to know who I am deep down inside when I pretend to be someone I'm not, or don't show the real me. That's so pointless. And yet, I find myself doing this so I don't have to spend anymore time than I have to at posting.

How lazy of me!

So, today I'm going to start being me and allowing myself to post more about the random things in my life. That way people can get to know me. Not much happens in my life. But I prefer it that way...sometimes!

Are you ready to enter the world of insanity, the world I like to call "mentally hilarious"? Are you sure? I mean, some of the things my family and I do are a BIT disturbing, especially to those who are week in the stomach and knees. Warning: you may need mental help after each post! Just kidding. :P

Here's the basic info; something some of you may not know:

What's your full name?: Emily Shae Kirk. I like my first name, although I think it has become a bit overused. No offense to any other girls with the name Emily! I'm just stating an opinion, not an insult. I was born in the early 90s, and at that time the name wasn't very popular. But now, it's everywhere. Freaky! But, at the same time super cool. My middle name, Shae, was given to me after my Aunt Shae. It means Falcon in Gaelic. I thought that was sweet! Before I was born, I was almost an Emily Elizabeth. But thank God my mom didn't name me that. Although, I would have loved it if she has stuck to naming me Charlotte, or Emily Ann. But plain old Emily Shae Kirk is suitable enough, don't you think?

Do you have any nicknames?: I'm afraid none that are original. Many people call me Em, Emmy, Emmaflee (my sister does). Gimli (my brother does), or the unromantic, totally annoying Hey-You!

How old are you?: I'm 17 and only 1 year from being an official adult. Gulp. What? Where did time go? I don't want to grow up. I'm going to stay 5 forever! Yes, I will!

Got a horoscope?: Um, duh! I'm a Sagittarius. Not that it's really important. I just thought you'd like to know! I looked up what a Sagittarius was the other day, and it was scary just how similar I was to it's description. 

What gender are you?: I got to stop asking these stupid questions to myself! I'm about to die of laughter. Ha! Ha! As most of you know--I hope you all know-- I'm FEMALE. That's what I am. I am a G.I.R.L. So, let's not get any crazy ideas here.

What schools did you go to in elementary, middle school and high school?:  I was home schooled from day 1 all the way through high school. I had a love/hate relationship with it for a long time. I learned to love it after a while, thought. That was by the time I graduated! Only joking.

What college are you attending?: Vol State Comm. College in Gallatin, Tennessee. And guess what, College is going to be the 1st time I've ever stepped foot into a public school. How crazy!

What's your hair color?: I don't know what you'd call it to be honest. I've heard that it's either a dark Chestnut or a dark Maple color. But, I'm not sure how they got either color...they're so opposite of each other. I'd prefer the maple. I've always wanted to have red hair like Ann Shirley. It's such a strikingly beautiful color! Either that, or I'd take raven black hair like the Native Americans. I didn't seem to get the trait. :P

Do you have long or short hair?: I want to have long hair so badly! I'm dying to let my hair grow out to at least my lower back, if not longer. I'm getting there, though. I'm just below the shoulders. 

Are you loud or quiet?: My mom says I am a loud mouth when I'm at home. When I'm in public or around certain people I don't like, or don't know, I am quiet.

Which do you prefer Sweats or Jeans?: Neither. I hate sweats, they make me so sweaty. Plus their uncomfortable. And I really don't like wearing jeans. They ride up a little too much for my comfort. I prefer wearing shorts; I wear them all year long! I'm insane, yes it's true.

What would you rather have a phone or a camera?: My camera because I bought it myself. It's special to me and I enjoy taking pictures way more that talking on the phone. Besides, I love hand written sentiments. 

Would you consider yourself to be a health freak?: In some ways, yes. That usually entails: trying not to fall, hit my head on the door, stub my toes or hit myself. As for the eating part of being a health freak? My family and I, we eat pretty healthy (we don't out more than 2-3 times a year), but we don't pay attention to calories or carbs. What's the point in eating if you can't enjoy it?

Have you ever had a crush on someone?: I used to have a crush on Kirk Cameron. He's my favorite actor! Other than Kirk, I can't really remember ever having a crush on any of my guy friends. They were all kind of icky looking and liked Pokemon.

Do you have any piercings?: Not a single one. After my sister got her ears done about 12 years back, I have never wanted mine done. The gun they used to pierce the ears scared me way too much. [I'm sort of a chicken when it comes to enducing bodily harm upon myself. But, I seem to be OK with it when it's voluntary].

Are you social or anti-social?: I like to be alone. However, I would consider myself to be a social person even though I'm really not the kind of person who you'd see hanging out in a large group setting. One or two people is all I can handle.

Are you a lefty or a rightly?: My left side is stronger than my right, which is crazy considering I write with my right hand. I'm all Topsy-turvy.

What was your first relationship?: I've never been in a relationship with anyone other than my family and the Lord Jesus Christ. They are sufficient. Right now I'm trying to focus on school, work and enjoying blessed singleness.

Who was your first BF?: Mariah Wingate. We were best buds for 4 years in Florida before I had to move to Tennessee. Not my mom and sissy are my BFFs!

What was your first pet?: It was 2 cats: Ralf and Spanky. Then I had a dog names Jake. All three animals are no longer with us now. At the moment I have 4 cats: Snowbell, Sam Wise Gamgee, Yoda, and Puzzle.

What was your first big vacation?: To Williamsburg,Virginia when I was 8 years old. I was in heaven!

When was your first big birthday?: Um, last year. My whole family was there. It was a full house!

When was your first surgery?: I was three when I think I had my first surgery. It was to remove a cyst of some sort that was growing on my lower eye lid. Majorly scary!

What is the first sport you joined?: Karate. I love it! I started 12 years ago and am still doing it. At the moment I am a 3rd Degree Black Belt.

Update on my Grandpa

July 16, 2010

First of all, thank you to all who is praying for my Grandpa! It's mean a lot to our family. We're still trying to process the news, and I think my Grandpa is doing better at that than we are...thank God for his positivity! My mom and dad received an email from my Grandpa Kirk yesterday updating the family on his current situation with cancer. I've decided to let you read the email for yourselves, as he explains it better. Also, you can visit his new blog called: A Journey with God and Cancer. 

OK  folks here is the deal. Mom [my grandma, and dad's mom], Aunt Margaret [dad's Aunt and Grandpa's sister] and I went to Shands Cancer Institute in Gainesville today to meet with Dr. Chester Algood. He is the head of the Urology  Dept there and usually takes at least 3 weeks for an appointment. It was a God Thing that we were able to see him with a 2 day notice. The trip was productive, informative, encouraging and comforting. He has agreed to take the case and guide the treatment with the entire medical team.

First, he fully explained the type of cancer and gave an estimate of the stage. At this point, based on the information from the pathology report, he thinks the cancer is a borderline stage 3. That reduces the survivability somewhat from the stage 2 the Dr. in Jacksonville estimated. That does not mean it can’t be cured with proper treatment and a lot of prayer. He took time to explain the options available and to recommend a course of treatment. I am grateful that he spoke not just to me but to Helen as well and included her in the discussions. That really helped to ease her mind somewhat.

He is recommending a two phase treatment plan. First is a 3 month round of Chemo targeting the tumor. I would go in for the treatment for 3 weeks and then 1 week of rest before the next round. This, as I understand it, is slow the aggressiveness of the tumor. At the end of the Chemo they will do another Cat Scan and Cystoscopic procedure to re-evaluate the tumor. This will take place during the week of October 27. After that He will schedule surgery for the removal of the bladder and some of the surrounding tissue (probably the prostate). That should be early in November. I will let you know as soon as they have the schedule. He thinks the best option is to create a conduit to carry the urine from the kidneys to a bag on the outside of the body.

While none of the options are what I would want, Mom and I have a confidence in the Lord and in the medical team at Shands for the best treatment humanly possible. This does not mean we continue to pray for a Divine intervention and complete healing! More than anything else, I want to maintain a good testimony to the Grace of God and the Love of Jesus through the process. God has given me this verse to stand on…..Isaiah 26:3 “ Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is steadfast on You, because he trusts in You”.

Know that I Love you and am so glad each of you are in my life.

All my Love.
Willis (Dad)
If you read all of that, then bless you! My Grandpa is long winded, but I always love reading or hearing what he has to say. He's got a way with words, don't you think? Well, thank you again for all of your prayers. The greatest thing I think that has come out of this so far is not only the fact that he does have a good chance of survival, but the fact that he is being positive about his experience and is determined to stay strong!

About Me

July 14, 2010

There are a few things I feel that you must know about me in order to understand this blog that I have conjured up. This blog is basically a mixture of random insanity combined with a dash of sweetness, a pinch of lime juice, and a huge helping of Jesus Christ. 
First off, I am not your average teenager. In fact, I am unaverage compared to others who live their lives according to what the world says. I choose the path of anti-conformity because I choose to be like Christ, or as close as I can to the perfect and blameless Son of God. Owning up to the fact that I am not average, I must confess that I do not own a cell phone, I spend more time with my family that I do my friends, and I don't own a car, or wear makeup. I shop at Goodwill for most of my clothes because I don't believe that clothes makes the person, although it does help with first impressions. 
But, I don't live my life based on what people think about me when they first see me. I don't let my clothes dictate the kind of person I am, either. Obert Skye says: "You can be only what you give yourself the power to be." Therefore, I choose to be different. But not so completely different that it would be almost impossible for me to reach out to others and tell them about Christ. I want to come across as down-to-earth, not crazy.
Another fact that you might find interesting, is the fact that I am home schooled. Just a side note: I am not a home-schooler. Being home schooled and a home-schooler are two completely different terms used to categorize people who school at home. I am home schooled because I am confident, out-going and definitely not one of those who are "anti-social". 
 I have been home schooled all my life. Since I was 4, I have been doing what comes naturally to me: reading, writing, history, spelling, science. For some strange and peculiar reason, I have always loved school. It was a place of peace, a place where I could indulge the senses with hours of delightful reading and writing. It was my comfort zone. However, math was a whole different subject. (Now you know why I left that out of the list above!). I'd rather not get onto that particular topic because  I could go on for hours telling you my horror stories about math. Isn't that the case for most people though? Ha!
So, maybe I'm not that "unaverage" after all! I remember, though, the countless times when my family and I would get uneasy stares from others-- who were probably wondering why we weren't in school like the other children. They'd ask us questions like "...where do you go to school", only to express a monotone "Oh..." after we told them we did school at home. There were a gazillion other questions we were and still are asked. 
They aren't as frequent as they used to be, but the questions are the same nonetheless: "don't you wish you went to public school?"; "do you ever get to socialize with other kids your age?"; "how will you ever be able to experience the world locked up inside you home all day long?"; "isn't staying home and doing school boring?"; "do you actually learn anything, or do you just goof off?" Yeah, we heard it all. Thankfully, we aren't those social rejects that can't communicate to the outside world, or those who can't keep their mouths shut. I admit, I used to be insulted by these questions. It was as if I had a sign strapped to my back that said "GO AHEAD, ASK ME A STUPID QUESTION!" Of course they all did--none of them the least bit original, I might add.
For a long time my dad was even embarrassed to admit that we were home schooled. It just wasn't something a lot of people were doing at the time. It was "unusual". Now-a-days, however, the stares we receive from people don't bother us like they used to. Some laugh at us. And like any person who's ignorant about such matters, they mock us for being different. But, it's okay, in fact, we encourage it!
Everything I own I have worked for, including my camera and laptop. I believe that working hard for the things you want produces good work ethic that many people in today's society are lacking. I enjoy working; I've been working a steady job since I was 14. 

But ever since I was wee little, I've always managed to make a buck-or-two doing odd jobs here-and-there. It's what I was made to do; it's in my DNA. Not to get into a long, boring story about my family history, but where my family comes from, work was always a constant companion. Scotch-Irish, German, Native American and Appalachian blood run through my veins. 
Some say I am wired for work, like a mule, or a pack horse. I guess you could say that. For me, thought, it's more along the lines of a sense of duty and the desire to experience the satisfaction of accomplishing something, and then being able to spend the money earned on nice things. My parents have payed my way through this world long enough; and now it's time I take over. Besides, the little stuff my parents shouldn't have to bother with anyway. It's my joy now.
I detest dark fantasy such as Twilight and those other blood-sucking, haunting novels that are imitators of originals. I prefer good, clean and classic reads that are filled with the sense of adventure, realistic romance, and the triumph of good over evil. Classic reads are written with such care, in excruciating detail and with such a vibrant ray of vocabulary usage, that it makes my heart flutter with momentary excitement. 

The books that I read become my dearest friends. If it weren't strange, I'd marry a library filled with an expansive collection of old literature from around the globe! I find it hard and very distracting to read horror novels, fantasy novels and science-fiction novels, because they present the reader with a little bit of reality, and a whole lot of hog-wash. I like to indulge myself in a fictional book here-and-there, but I prefer Christian fiction, especially if it has a historical twist to it. I do delight in an thrilling read now-and-then, too, I admit. 

But, I find myself reading Christian Apocalyptic novels, rather than those creepy ghost stories and mass murder novels. And when I finish a book, I can't help but feel overwhelmed with a sense of sorrow. As Paul Sweeney puts it, "You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend."

I don't live in the city. Where I'm from, there are lush green fields, rolling acres of golden wheat, hay,  tall stocks of corn ripe for the taking, and the sweet smell of tobacco smoking in barns all across the country side. Cows graze in their pastures, and horses gallop gallantly across the green ocean, as if in a field of dreams. Cats scamper about catching mice to their hearts content. Dogs chase cars alongside the road, and often become a stranger's best friend when they least expect it. Along the miles of farm road, there are picturesque scenes of years-gone-bye. Elderly people wave to you as you drive past their modest little homes, and farmers, on their combines and small John Deers, tip their hats to you and then continue to tend to their dainty gardens, pastures, and fields. I wouldn't live anywhere else. I reckon, I take pride and pleasure in being able to experience life at its slowest--admiring the beautiful creation that I've been so blessed to experience. And in the words of Audrey Hepburn, who is like me in more ways that one, says this: "I'm an introvert...I love being by myself, love being outdoors, love taking a long walk with my dogs and looking at the trees, flowers, the sky."

I am a born again believer in the Almighty, and have been saved by grace through faith. I consider myself to be the scent of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14-15). I pray that my love for life and desire to spread the love and Word of God will somehow-- in some small way--effect the lives of those around me, whether they are people in need, people who are hungry for truth, the weak and the weary, or the desperate and the lost. I am always willing to do whatever God will have me to do. I am His vessel, His arrow, His clay. And He is the Potter; the oil that fills my soul, and the target that is always my guide. He's my comfort and the very reason I wake up every morning and exist yet another day.

I look at the beauty in every situation. Every trial and tribulation is a blessing and a gift from God that is to be cherished and not taken lightly. I look to these times of struggle, as times that I not only grow closer to the Lord, but I can grow in my faith, as well. In a quote by Helen Keller, she states that: "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved." Instead of getting angry at God for making my struggle, I look at it this way...if God can bring me to it, He can also bring me through it. He can do whatever He wants to, whenever He wants to because He is God. And as Coach Taylor says in Facing the Giants:
"... if we win, we praise Him. And if we lose, we praise Him. Either way we honor Him with our actions and our attitudes." 
 I write first and foremost for God, so that I may glorify Him through everything that I do. I want to honor Him through my writings, so that others may be inspired and grow closer to the Lord. I believe James A. Michener captured my zest for writing when he states: "I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions." I write novels, posts, journal entries and notes because I have an overwhelming urge to put my pen to work on those familiar white sheets of smooth and unblemished paper. On those sheets: I create. I imagine. I dream. I am allowed to be originally and uniquely me!

"A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed." (Ansel Adams). I capture the beauty of God's majestic and awe-inspiring creation through photography. What I see as beauty may not be beautiful to someone else. Yet everything God has done has a purpose and a meaning, and it is all beautiful to me! There is nothing about God's creation that doesn't make me smile, think and stop to marvel at His craftsmanship and undying love for us!

I love my life. This is where I am meant to be, how I am meant to live, and what I am meant to do. Every so often I do dream, wish and wonder what life would be like had I been born in another era besides the one I currently reside in. What would be different about me? Would I be any bit the same as I am now, or would I be completely different? However, I always come back thinking "I wouldn’t have life any other way, but the way it is now!" Memories of days gone by are my constant companions. And my family is my God-given place of refuge, support and strength. If it wasn’t for them, I’d be lost. A girl with no direct course. I am, however, a girl on a path less traveled. A girl with a future waiting for her to make it happen.

 As you could tell, I am all about anti-conformity and expressing myself through a variety of things: dancing, singing and going against the flow. Why be of the world, when you can be different and let your light shine?! Says the girl who you would typically see sitting on a couch with a hot cup of tea and a good book, dancing erratically to music, breaking out in a random song, or typing blissfully to the sound of classical music, while freely releasing all inner thoughts, emotions, dreams, and ideas onto paper.

I may be known now and forever more as yours truly: Emily Shae. A small town girl living in a world that wasn't meant for her. A girl who's dreams and ideas are too big for this little world that follows the heavy laden roads. I travel the roads less traveled in order to see the true beauty of life, and the abundance of blessings Christ has bestowed upon me. Why hide your dreams from the light? Why become less active in a world that needs someone to look up to? Why do we stop expressing our beliefs just because others may not want to hear? Subconsciously, they hear all we have to say...it's just that some choose to ignore it, while others let it simmer in their hearts. I am a Christian that doesn't want to sit on the sidelines and let the world slip through her fingers. I am unaverage, beautiful, and unique. I think I'm gonna go and take a hold of the reigns and be who I am, not what others want me to be!

A Call To Prayer

July 9, 2010

I would like to ask you all to pray for my Grandpa with me. Just yesterday he went to get an biopsy of his bladder at the hospital in Jacksonville, FL. While we were down there the last two weeks, my Grandpa was experiencing problems with his lower abdomen. He thought it was a kidney infection, a bladder infection, or even a kidney stone. He had MRIs, Cat-scans, blood tests and other tests to see what could be causing him so much pain. They really didn't reveal anything. So for two weeks, he ate practically nothing, slept very little, and was very week. The reason for his weakness? He was peeing blood. A lot of blood.

Well, his biopsy came back today. The results? Evasive Bladder Cancer. What's that mean? The Doctors don't know how long he's had this, but it's obvious been there long enough to infiltrate his bladder. Meaning, it's infected every inch of it, including the lining. There are two ways this could go...1) either the cancer has spread throughout his whole body, or 2) the doctors have caught it just in time. How to fix this (if possible)? If the cancer has spread, my Grandpa will have to go through some major chemotherapy and radiation. There's a friend of his at church who's gone through the same thing and is cancer free. We're hoping this isn't the case with my Grandpa, but this guy is a symbol of hope. If it hasn't spread, then the doctors will have to possibly remove his bladder to keep the cancer from spreading through the rest of his body.

Please pray for him. Pray that he'll be strong and have courage. That's he won't give up. That he'll be positive, and be a beacon of light to those who look up to him, admire him, and were once a part of his congregation he was a Pastor). Also, please pray for my Grandma. She's so worried about my Grandpa. Pray that she'll be the strength my Grandpa needs to endure and fight this cancer. Pray that God will love, hold, comfort, and strengthen them both.

Thank you in advance.

The Scent of Christ

July 8, 2010

Hello to all my fine and adorable blogger buddies! I hope you all still remember me? Ha! Ha! I sure hope so. Do you remember the book I told you about--the one I'm writing? Well, I thought today, since it's kinda slow and easy going, that I'd give you a peek at the 1st chapter. The Lost Get Found, which is the title of the book, is essentially a book about me. Of course it's more exaggerated; many of the characters, scenes, names, and some instance have been added to make the novel more interesting to readers. Henceforth, a fictional retelling of what I went through a long time ago. It's just put into a different context and plot. 

Synopsis: Natalie Steel is a former home-schooler who's stuck in a rut. She's a popular cheerleader at White House High school and really doesn't "fit-in". She's got a rather touchy-feely boyfriend who she can't stand and is pressuring her to trade in her purity for a lifetime of pain and guilt. On top of the pressure to become sexual, Natalie has just found out that her best friend Gracie has commuted suicide due to bullying. Natalie blames herself for the terrible tragedy. Had she been a better friend and stood up for Gracie, she would still be alive. Or would she? Could Natalie have actually prevented Gracie's death by sticking up for her? Would that have even made a difference? She wants to talk to someone about her feelings, but ever since her Grandma Sadie died, Natalie has become distant from her family. For a long time after Gracie's death, Natalie goes into a transit state of depression--that is until her Brother and the grace of God intervene and pull her out of her grieving and melancholy state of mind. Now, once again Natalie has to face the decision to be God's light or to let it burn out. Which will she choose? There's a girl at school who needs her, but will she be willing to leave everything behind to save this poor lost soul?

 Chapter One

"Dear Sadie:” Natalie started to write in her journal. She had titled her journal after her grandmother who had died a few years back. Grandma Sadie had been one of those few selective people Natalie had trusted her life secrets to. To be the sole keeper of her granddaughter’s deepest desires and far-fetched dreams, darkest secrets, and heart-felt sorrows, had been Grandma Sadie’s pride and joy. Grandma Sadie was not just a grandma with wisdom that came only with age, but she was Natalie’s confidant—her kindred spirit. And now that she was gone, Natalie turned to the comfort of the blank pages that her journal provided, in an effort to somehow fill in the void that she felt inside—to somehow make up for the loss of her dearest friend: Grandma Sadie.

I wish Grandma were here to help me. Natalie continued writing. I wish she were here to comfort me. Guide me. I am lost and alone. You understand, don’t you Sadie? Why did God have to take my Grandma away from me? What was his reason for leaving me alone? Grandma Sadie was my best friend. I told her everything and she gave me the advice I needed, and the strength I needed to face my struggles head-on. And now that she’s gone, I don’t know how live without her! Life seems so confusing now that I don’t have her to help me. Oh, Sadie what will I do without her?
I still need her—does God not understand? I don’t know what to do…. 
I need her right this very minute, because I am struggling to understand something serious. Ever since my mom and dad put me in Public School, it’s like they don’t know me anymore….They don’t know what I am going through! Why does life have to be so hard, Sadie? Why does it have to be filled with the mixed emotions that constantly plague those who are weak and powerless? Why does life have to contain so much pain and death that it is almost impossible to live a life completely submersed in happiness? How can God expect me to be happy and take joy in my trials, when he keeps giving me more than I can handle? Does God not see that I am unable to handle my current situation?
Or does he simply not care? 
It amazes me that in the blink of an eye, you can lose not only you’re your dearest friend, but a fellow team member. Sweet Sadie, I regret to inform you that my beloved team member Gracie committed suicide two nights ago. It’s a loss I must bear, and a heavy guilt that I find cumbersome to swallow. I am afraid I might drown under this mighty pressure of guilt, as it attempts to take over the very breath that I breathe. Gracie— dear, sweet, innocent Gracie—was the victim of bulling by the cheerleaders in our school. I am afraid that these cheerleaders— these cruel, insufferable teenaged bullies—are also my friends. Having no part in this cruel act of juvenile violence, I find myself wishing that I had been.
I find myself wishing and beating myself up over the fact that while they bullied Gracie, I stood on the sidelines and watched as they stripped her of her pride, self-confidence and sense of worth. I watched her walk to and from school every day—a lifeless being scared by the constant abuse she received daily. She was a girl that barely existed, but a girl that endured the torture of those who wished her harm, carefully clinging to what was left of her battered dreams and hopes—her cries for help a silent whisper in the dark….

Putting her pen down, Natalie slowly closed her book, unsure whether or not she was finished writing the first solemn chapter of her journal. She was a brave girl, confident and self-assured, but she felt an overwhelming emptiness in her heart that ached to be made whole again. Reaching over to Grandma Sadie’s Bible that sat cockeyed on her messy desk, Natalie flipped through the old and tattered pages. The fragrance of coffee and vanilla—a liquid mixture for one of her famous chocolate cakes—that her grandma had spilt on her Bible long ago grew stronger with each page that Natalie flipped. It reminded Natalie of Grandma Sadie’s love for life, her desire to spread the love of God to those who were hurting and in need, the weak and the weary, the desperate and the lost. As she thought of Grandma Sadie’s joy for sharing God with others, Natalie thought of her grandma’s life verse—2 Corinthians 2:14-15: “But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ, and spreads through us in every place the SCENT of knowing Him. For to God we are the fragrance of Christ."

Grandma Sadie was the fragrance of Christ, Natalie knew. She had always been a lady on a mission. Time and again she had told Natalie of her desire to travel the world proclaiming Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. And every chance Grandma Sadie got, she used her time to further the Kingdom of God. Whether it was in a homeless shelter, pregnancy crisis center, or a Food Bank, Grandma Sadie had devoted her life to the Lord and allowed him to lead her and work in her. She was His vessel, His arrow, His clay. He was the Potter, the oil that filled her soul and the target that she kept her following the straight and narrow path that lay before her. Her target, she always said was her guide, her comfort, and the very reason she woke up every morning and existed yet another day. It was the same target that she devoted her life to leading others to—Jesus Christ.

Natalie stared at her grandma’s bible for a while contemplating on the verse that she had read, and the feelings that were overwhelming her— engulfing her in an endless love and a sense of desire and urgency. She knew what this all meant. Her life was not over simply because her grandma was gone. On the contrary, Natalie’s life had only just begun. Because she had been given the courage, the strength and the enduring promise her God, her beautiful Jesus Christ, Natalie knew that her mission was to further the Kingdom of God in her own unique way. As her grandma had done before her, Natalie would do as well… trusting in the mighty hand of God to lead her along the way.

Taking up her pen once again, Natalie quickly opened her Journal and began to scratch out her frustrated statements of doubts and confusion. God had not forsaken her because he had called her grandma home…he had only enabled her to spread her wings and fly--to be the light to those lost in darkness.

Tess of the d'Urbervilles--Thomas Hardy

July 6, 2010

Genre: Victorian, Tragic
Date of First Publication: 1891

Published in Penguin Classics:  1998

Publisher: Penguin Classics

One Word Review: Amazing

First Line: "On an evening in the latter part of May a middle-aged man was walking homeward from Shaston to the village of Marlott, in the adjoining Vale of Blakemore or Blackmoor."

Synopsis: Tess Durbeyfield is a hard-working, lively girl who's family lives in a rural town and is very much destitute. Upon learning that their family is a part of a long lineage of  the well known d'Urbervilles, Tess is sent to visit her "relatives" the d'Urbervilles for money--and a possible marriage. However, what Tess and her family don't realize, is that these supposed relatives aren't really related. to them at all. Their only connection to each other is by their name. After meeting the d'Urbervilles, Tess is hired to work for them. While working for her relatives, Tess becomes the object of a certain man's affection--Alec d'Urberville. Tess becomes entangles with Alec's smooth and charming ways and ultimately looses her innocence when she is raped. Not only is she rapes, but much like a domino effect, Tess's life begins to change forever.  The innocent and naive  girl she once was, was now forever changed by the hardships and experiences of life. 

Emily’s Review: Loved it! It was nothing like I had ever read before. It was very memorizing. The writing style of Hardy is breathtaking and gripping. Hardy portrayed Tess to be quiet a unique and strangely attractive character. It is hard not to find yourself gripping the edges of the book as you  move deeper into the story.  I enjoyed the suspenseful twists and the love/hate relationship between Alec and Tess.  It was romantic and  yet at the same time, very dark and mysterious. Tess is a fun and unique heroine. She is strong , independent and has fiery temper. In the book, Tess experiences a bout of unfortunate events that serve to change her life drastically. One minute she's dancing on the green wearing a white gown, an the next minute she's a rape victim, seduced by the very attractive and magical Alec d'Urberville.
I don't want to spoil the dramatic and tragic twist at the end, so I'll leave you to guess the mysteries that this book holds. Tess of the d'Urbervilles is a wonderful read and a great classic book to add to anyone's collection.The story unfolded smoothly, it was well paced, and full of surprises. Hardy was able to incorporate the ruff and rustic parts of England, the living conditions, and the social standings of the time period to make a fantastic and gripping read!

DancingRainBook Rating: 5

Americans in Strength

July 4, 2010

Independence day, a day that our freedom and personal rights were determined a God-given right. July 4th 1776 was the day that America changed--forever. The nation our fathers before us have so valiantly fought for has declined in both morals and values. But this is no reason not to celebrate the beautiful county in which we are ever so blessed to live in!

Has God blessed America? Amen, yes he has! And what a miraculous country we live in. The trials, tribulations, technological and personal advancements have served to make our country a powerful force to be reckoned with, a country that many nations envy. What is it about this country that makes it so unique? Think about it...what do you think? I mean, come on! There are thousands of things that make America unique and admiringly beautiful.

 Thank all of the soldiers today for the sacrifices that have willingly given to their country, in order that we--the American people young and old--may live free and independent. Praise God today for the lives we life in this nation, and pray for those who risked their lives so that we might live a life unlike any other. Happy 4th of July!

Americans in strength unite
This union born in freedom’s light
United States, how sure we are
We’ll pull together, near and far
The world can see of what we’re made
Each state is of the highest grade
Determination, filled with pride
Our people’s will won’t be denied
Our founding fathers set to stay
The road we’ve traveled to this day
A quest for right cannot be wrong
With help from God, we will stay strong
Support our troops ranks number one
For the job they do is never done
When forced they put it on the line
True patriots, when called they shine
Let’s raise Old Glory with a cheer
And thank all soldiers, past and here. 
--Roger Robicheau--