Tuesday, April 26, 2011

why do I blog?

This has been a slow blogging month for me--mainly because of school and exams. As days passed and I thought of different blog posts to write when I did find myself with a moment of time, I found myself thinking about the quality of my posts. I know that when I'm rushed, I don't put as much time and effort into a blog idea and simply blog what comes to mind. Sometimes that's okay, but other times I don't always like what I end up posting and simply post for lack of time.

I don't really like that. These thoughts led to me thinking: why do I blog?

At the beginning, I simply started because I was getting free books [AND I LOVE BOOKS] to review them and provide my opinion. That was really cool, and then I started doing more, posting my thoughts and opinions on different things as they came up. My goal, in a sense, was to gather a following so that I could keep reviewing books.

I was 15/16, okay? AND I love books.

Slowly, I learned more about the world of blogging and met so many crazy awesome bloggers. I slowly grew, picking up a few followers here and there but never really had a large following. If I got a comment or two on a post, I was lucky--and that's still the case. My blog changed quite a bit over the years as I experimented with different things and tried different gadgets and attachments. I learned new tricks and got rid of old ones.

Somewhere along the way, I think I forgot why I kept up the blogging thing--even after I stopped doing the book thing. I still go for an occasional book or two, but I find myself asking: why do I blog? What keeps me writing posts? What is my mission? What do I hope to accomplish with this?

For some of you all, this may not be important. You may be sitting at your computer, wishing to read something insightful and feeling slightly disappointed at this post, but that's okay. This is what I need to say--even if it's slightly longer than usual.

I don't want to blog simply to have a following.
I don't want to blog simply to get free books.
I don't want to blog simply because I can.

I want to blog because I like to.
I want to blog because I have something to say--even if no one wants to read it at times.
I want to blog because I am a child of God and I'm on a mission for Him.
I want to blog because I know that as His child, He has a purpose for me and He is using me in ways that I don't always understand.

I want to blog about my life.
I want to blog and my struggles and my triumphs and how God helped me in both.
I want to blog about what I'm learning on a day to day basis.
I want to blog about the silly things and the important things.
I want to blog to and for Him, my Lord and Saviour because without Him I am nothing and without Him I have nothing.

This is why I blog.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

a day of pleasantries...

Yesterday was a wonderfully awesome day--and not just because it was my birthday.

Yesterday, I woke up around 9, had a shower and then had the pleasure of eating breakfast outside with a super awesome friend.  It was a little chilly, but the sun was shining and everything looked so pretty!

Following that, my roommate and a few other friends from my res all went to the zoo with me where we walked around looking at animals, took goofy pictures and played at the park.  Not bad for a newly 19 year old, eh?

It sprinkled/snowed for about an hour, but nothing too serious, so I came back to my room and watched Enchanted simply because I like Disney movies.

To finish off the day, I walked with my breakfast buddy to our Hub group [like Bible study only different] where we had cake and good discussion.  It was sooooo pretty out and I took some really cool pictures--which I'll share after I get a chance to really look at them.

Finally, before bed, I talked to my bestie on the phone.

I was and am so blessed.  God is good and I shall never forget that!

Many blessings to you, my readers!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

a few photos...

Spring is here and I love it. These photos were taken a few weeks ago in the early morning as I said goodbye to the snow.

As much as I love snow, I cannot wait for the green grass and beautiful flowers!

Friday, April 01, 2011

painting a wall

In my residence, we are divided into 8 houses and each house has the pleasure of creating a mural to represent their house. I live in C House and last year, the people were very creative and made The "C" [sea]. This year, what began as an idea with Cookie Monster slowly developed into a wall of Childhood. Below is a picture of what we've done so far and if you click HERE it'll take you to a video that I made about the wall so you can learn more!

Have beautiful days!

post signature

Monday, March 28, 2011

If I ever got married...

I wouldn't wear heels 'cause they are a cruel invention.

I would request Disney songs at my reception 'cause they are awesome and I love dancing to Disney...

I would want to invite all my friends... if only that were possible...

I would want to have it on a beach in the sand, in the winter and the snow, in the spring in a garden--somewhere that takes my breath away.

I would want a pie instead of a cake...

I would want to smile nonstop and not worry if things "go wrong."

I would be marrying someone I loved and would love forever.

If I ever got married, it would be because it's God's will for my life and that in itself would be amazing.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

who do you worship for?

This may seem like a stupid question and I've honestly never asked it before, but earlier this week it was posed to me in the book The purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.

This definitely got me thinking. When I do go up and sing worship songs, just who am I singing for? When all is said and done, have I given my all for my King, for my Saviour? Or, have I somehow made it all about me?

Think about it, when the "worship" part of a service is over, what are the types of things we say? "Wow, I really got a lot out of that, it was a good worship!" or "I didn't really feel anything today... wasn't the best worship."

I've said these things before. I've focused on only me and thought of what I would get our of worship. Can you see the flaw in this? Can you see where I misunderstood? Worship is NOT for ME. Worship is for God and no matter what I "feel" about it, it should not change how I worship. Even when I feel like I'm getting nothing out of worship, I should still worship my heart out because it's for Him!

So, who are you worshipping for?  When all is said and done--when the music fades, who/what matters most?  Your "feelings," or the God on High?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What counts as Worship?

"Only slow songs are worship."

I've heard that before. Have you? One year at camp, the ministry head made us kids sing a bunch of slow songs. When I approached her later to ask her why we didn't sing a few other songs (which I had learned at camp during worship in previous years), she said they were praise songs and she wanted to focus more on worship songs. I didn't think much of it then--I was only 11 or 12 or something, but now I understand that her view of worship wasn't fully there.

Worship is not defined by the tempo of music. It is not defined by an action you perform nor a "ritual" you go through. Worship is more than that.

[Google Image]
"Worship is a lifestyle." ~ Rick Warren

This is a lesson that I've loved learning and because of that, I'm so happy to share it with all of you.

I've met people who've said that in order to worship you need to listen to the slow songs, raise your hands and close your eyes and feel God's presence wash down on you. I must admit, I've been there before and thought similar type things. Just think to yourself, how many of you refer to the singing before a church service as worship? How many of you look forward to the "worship" portion of a church event?

That in itself isn't terrible, but to think that only singing is worship or only long prayers are worshipful is wrong.  Even before there was music, Adam and Eve worshiped God. 

"Every part of a church service is an act of worship: praying, Scripture reading, singing, confession, silence, being still, listening to a sermon, taking notes, giving an offering, baptism, communion, signing a commitment card, and even greeting other worshipers." ~ Rick Warren

In everything you do, it is possible to worship God. Painting, writing, creating... Reading, working, resting. Guess what? It can all be worship.  I know such a great God, how can I not worship Him?  I want to worship Him in all that I do.  I want to dance in His presence with every fiber of my being, even when I'm sitting and doing homework--I will still be worshiping Him in my heart and in my Spirit.

Simply because, worship is my lifestyle.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I'm craving...

a book.

It's been forever since I've been able to read for fun. All of the books I've read in the past month or so have been about Child Soldiers and that can be kind of depressing... Just a bit...

What I truly crave is an adventure! I book that takes me into a fantastical land filled with magic and wonder! Something that gets me so wrapped up in everything that I forget about reality. I haven't read one of those in a while and I really miss them!

I love all the books on my shelf at home, but I want something new! I'm in the mood for the unknown with everything known around me... gak!

Monday, March 14, 2011


If I could fly, I would fly all over the world.
but, flying solo would get lonely.

If I could breathe underwater, I would find Atlantis.
but, finding Atlantis is no fun by yourself.

If I were a star, I'd burn forever--somehow.
but, stars live a long time and my friends would all be gone.

If I were a book, I'd always be read.
but, if I'm always being read, how can I read?  How can I reach out to others?

If I were a movie, I'd be everyone's favourite--with aspects of everything--well, maybe not horror.
but, if I were a movie, how could I do anything for myself--apart from the script?

If I were an animal, I'd be the strongest--the fastest--the most majestic... or maybe the smallest, the cutest, the most crafty.
but, if I were an animal, where would my humanity be?  I mean, this isn't Disney...

If I could go anywhere, I'd go to the Digital World--if only for a day.
but, in reality, the Digital World doesn't exist..

If I could be anything, I'd be someone people could look up to and learn from.
but, if they are looking up to me, is what I'm standing for worth it?  Am I standing for the right reasons?

If I were perfect, I wouldn't need Jesus.
but, I'm not perfect, and I do need him.

Friday, March 11, 2011

we are the ghosts of 224

I like to doodle. I wouldn't exactly call myself a skilled artist because I'm not a skilled artist, but I can hold my own in a sketch or two, I'd think. Last week, I made a video of my door, writing all the names [in whiteboard markers] of my subscribers on my door as a Thank You. It looked really cool and then earlier this week, I cleaned the door and it looked really empty. I had to put something else on it to fill the space.

So... since I love Digimon, I drew Gatomon and since my roommate Becky asked for Charmander, I drew Charmander--all in sketch of course! This is the result:


Now that we have this awesome door, Becky and I had to do something with it. We like to have fun and sometimes that fun involves taking really silly pictures--it's happened on multiple occasions. They make us laugh... sometimes more than we should. Anyways, we had a photo shoot yesterday afternoon and here are the results. These are my favourite ones:

Jourdene makes a guest appearance... inside Becky's ghost!
I've Jesus in my heart! =)
We're cool people, it's true! =)

We are the ghosts of C224 and we have fun, it's true!  If you're curious as to how we made these images, it's simple really.  Our halls our dark so I had my lens open for longer in order to absorb more light.  If we stepped out of shot to early, the camera had data on us as well as our background and so it overlapped the info.  Cool, eh?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Who is Estell?

I have this story that I'm writing, but what do you know about it? You've seen an excerpt and a brief video summary, but who is it about? Who is Estell?

Here's a brief character sketch that I wrote up in 2008--I've edited it a bit since then, but the main points are still the same. So please, meet Estell!

[I wish I had a picture, but that's not my strong suit...]

Character Sketch

Name: Estell « 'Stell' » Llew
Age: 16
Gender: Female
Description: About 5'8" tall weighing around 120 pounds [underweight].  Her long and slender limbs are covered by a tanned layer of skin.  Because she doesn't have much money, she's had to improvise with clothes and other necessities.  This explains her uneven hair cut [cut with a dagger--by herself].  Her hair is a mix of light blond to soft brown.

Her eyes sit firmly in the middle of her head under delicate golden eyebrows and framed by dark eyelashes.  The iris is a deep gold while the pupil is shown as two stars connected like Siamese twins in each eye.  Her nose matches the rest of her body and is small and delicate sitting above chapped red lips.

Her clothes are tattered and worn.  Dressed like a man for most of her life, she is most comfortable in long pants [breeches] and light smocks [she has two, both worn and dirty].  She has one tunic and then a small bag.

Abilities: She has had lessons in hand-to-hand combat and have picked up numerous other skills over the course of her travels such as daggers and knives.  If she had to, she could wield a sword, but she is not very skilled.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

What is Estell?

So you've read a brief excerpt, but where's it from? What is the story about?

Watch this clip and you shall be informed...

If you have any questions about Estell, please, ask in the comments and I will answer them on Friday!

Stay tuned for more...

Monday, March 07, 2011

an excerpt

The following is a brief excerpt from Estell, my current Work in Progress. Enjoy!

Grendal nodded to Keln who stepped forward and removed a whip from his belt. Unwinding the thick cord, he pulled back and then brought his arm forward in a quick snap. A loud thump echoed through the small room as the whip connected to Mme. Roh's back.

“It is that same insolence and anger that has earned your nephew’s arrest. Now where is he?” Grendal peered around the small room as if he expected Estell to appear at any moment with an army.

“He is not here.”

“I can see that, woman. Where is he exactly?”

“I ain’t gonna tell ye. Ye’d hurt him.”

The officer signalled to Keln, who pulled back and whipped Mme. Roh again. She cried out in pain but stared, determined back at her tormentors.

“Will you tell me now?”

“I don’t ‘member where he be,” she muttered to the floor.

Grendal raised his hand and the whip fell a third time.

“Can you remember now?”

Mme. Roh pursed her lips together and didn’t answer. Blood red gashes streaked across her back from the force of the whip. In her seat, Estell cried bitter tears of anger and sorrow for her friend as she tried to flee the scene. Mme. Roh had only ever been kind to her, helping her in ways no one else could. She taught, fed, clothed, and loved Estell. She had made ‘Indy,’ a disguise that freed Estell from the ruthless gaze of soldiers and turned their attention on little boys. She had done so much and this soldier didn’t care.

Grendal was losing his patience with Mme. Roh. Estell bit her lip and closed her eyes, not wanting to watch the scene playing below. The worst was yet to come. That moment. The moment that lived with her day and night and prevented her from letting herself grow close to another being...

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Lessons from Disney

Can I just say that I love Disney?


That you can fall in love with someone regardless of how they look

To be true to your heart.

That love can happen between any two people.

That those we have lost will always be with us.

That even our wildest dreams can come true.

That we must learn to accept differences and love each other for them

That some of the most beautiful people we will ever know, are beautiful for who they are and not what they look like.

That we are all meant for something great.

That you may find the one you are meant for in the strangest places.
AND That a woman can be just as strong--if not stronger than a man.
Oh and one more: no matter the situation, a princess will always have perfect hair.

Monday, February 28, 2011

an obsessed love

Just because you are nice to someone does not mean that you'll stand out. Just because you do a good deed, does not mean that people will know that you are a Christian.

Jesus teaches that:
32 "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."
Luke 6:32-36

We are His. We are called to stand out--to show the World who He is. If all we do is the minimum or the norm, how is that showing Jesus' love? Simply, it isn't. Jesus asks us to do a hard thing: to love our enemies. To LOVE those who hate us and who do us wrong. To forgive those who hate us--hurt us. Do you realize how hard that is?

(I can't remember where this image is from...)
Once, there was a woman driving in rush hour traffic. She was in a hurry and did not want to wait for the cars, so she decided to take a short cut--despite a feeling in her gut telling her to be patient. She turned down a side street and saved herself five minutes of driving. That five minutes, though, put her at an intersection where a man was crossing on his bike. Before she had time to react, she had hit him. His head hit pavement and he died.

This woman was in shock. 911 was dialed and the legalities were taken care of. She didn't go to prison. A few weeks later, she paid visit to the man's family.

Do you know what they did? Can you guess?

They had every right to be angry--to hate her. She killed a father, a husband, an uncle, a friend. They had every right to shun her. But, they didn't. They opened their arms to accept her and forgave her. You see, God had spoken to this family and they understood they needed to love this woman who made a mistake. They needed to share Jesus with this soul who was hurting.

Can we also do that? Can we love those who hurt us? Hate us? Even when our loving seems to have no effect on them whatsoever?

"People who are obsessed with Jesus give freely and openly, without censure.  Obsessed people love those who hate them and who can never love them back."  ~Francis Chan, Crazy Love

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The God Hater [Pt 3]

I write to explore and learn. And to be honest, what could be more interesting than exploring some aspect of an infinite Creator. That's got car chases, steamy romances, and alien spaceships beat hands down. I think of those angels in Revelation around the throne crying, "Holy, Holy, Holy!" Originally, I used to think they had the most boring job in the world. Can you imagine saying that over and over again, 24/7? And it would be boring... if you were only preaching it or reciting doctrine. But what if every time they cried, "Holy!" it's because they've discovered some new and incredible attribute of God? That's entirely different. And that's what I try to do in my writing. Folks who dismiss me as a "religious writer" probably figure I'm just pontification. Maybe I am, but I don't think so. I may cry, "Holy!" but I cry it out of the thrill of discovering another attribute of an infinite God.
What did I like most about The God Hater?
I really loved how the story pulled me in with the relationships between the characters. I really liked how despite the different view points between Annie and Nicholas, the two were able to be friends. I also really liked the entire plot line of the artificial intelligence. [Which was what the book was about, but still]. It was so interesting to travel "into" the artificial world and to see the people acting--well, like people. And to see that world slowly evolve and change... it blew my mind at times. I got so excited at different parts that I had to share with my friends.

What did I not like?
As I was blog hopping yesterday to some of the other blogs in this tour, one blogger mentioned something that had been at the back of my mind: the plot line for the corporations was a little weak. It wasn't weak enough, in my opinion, to detract from the story as a whole, but I think it could have been fleshed out a little more. The corporations were the bad guys in this, but they weren't all together present. At the same time, by not having them as "present" the focus wasn't drawn on them but on the actual program and the stuff going on between Nicholas, Travis, Annie and Alpha... so, it all kind of balances out.

I'd like to add...
That I loved this book. As I mentioned, I got really excited while reading it. This book is the kind of book that I would go out and buy on my own--and I don't say often. I love books, it's true, but on my book shelf, I prefer to only keep the ones I'd reread later on. This is one of those books.

I most definitely recommend checking it out if you have a spare moment!
In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

Read More About it Here:
Noah Arsenault
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Kathy Brasby
Rachel Briard
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Carol Bruce Collett
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
April Erwin
Amber French
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Joleen Howell
Bruce Hennigan
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Emily LaVigne
Shannon McDermott
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Andrea Schultz
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
James Somers
Donna Swanson
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Nicole White
Dave Wilson

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Free Will? - The God Hater Pt2

‎"All of your lives you have demanded to be free, to live life your own way. By following the virus you've told Programmer to stay out of your affairs, refusing to be enslaved by his Law. And when he honours your wishes, when he steps back and allows you the freedom you demand, you complain he's not controlling and enslaving others." - The God Hater

It's funny how so many people complain about the situation of the world and then blame it on someone else. They take the poverty, the hunger, the disease, the war and blame it on governments, organizations, religions--God.

I've met so many people who blame the poverty and hunger in Africa on God. They look at me and ask, "How can you believe in God when all this bad stuff is happening?" I must admit, I don't have all the answers--I never pretend to. That quote from The God Hater captures my answer completely. We ask for freedom then get angry and upset at God when other people exercise their own freedom. We can't have it both ways.

Bill Myers book is interesting--even fascinating because of the fact that it's looking at the beginnings: how does "Christianity" come to be? As Nicholas delves deeper into this artificial world, he begins to see a glimmer of God's logic. He starts to realize that Christianity has a system after all.

Has his eyes are slowly opened by this great Truth, mine are as well.  Myers compels the reader to continue, stringing together details that will blow your mind!
In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

Read More Here:
Noah Arsenault
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Kathy Brasby
Rachel Briard
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Carol Bruce Collett
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
April Erwin
Amber French
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Joleen Howell
Bruce Hennigan
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Emily LaVigne
Shannon McDermott
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Andrea Schultz
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
James Somers
Donna Swanson
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Nicole White
Dave Wilson

Monday, February 21, 2011

Artificial Intelligence Anyone? - The God Hater Pt1

You are a genius. Really and truly.

You are so intelligent, in fact, that you've created artificial intelligence. A crazy reality, I know, but ignoring the technical jargon of how, your genius brain has been able to recreate the consciousness of humans. Not only that, but with the help of your team, you've created a computer program that allows you to start a civilization, from scratch, and watch as it develops. With the help of this program, solutions to global problems can be implemented and the results tested--verified. This program is that ultimate trial phase.

You genius you, I've only one question: How do you make it so that this civilization that you've created--that you've given free will to--how do you make it so that they don't kill each other off? In other words: how do you make it so that they survive?

In Bill Myers book, The God Hater, atheist and philosophy professor, Dr. Nicholas Mackenzie, finds himself in an interesting predicament. His brother has concocted such a program and hopes to use this program to predict a multitude of current events. This program would be able to predict sales of different products, how to solve world hunger and poverty, how to predict wars and so much more. This program is wanted by so many.

This program keeps failing. No matter how many times Travis Mackenzie and his team run it, the people end up killing each other off. That's why Nicholas has been called. Travis depends on his brother, the logical man to come up with a solution to their survival. Just what is it that stops humans from resorting to survival of the fittest?

Think about it.

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

Read More Here:
Noah Arsenault
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Kathy Brasby
Rachel Briard
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Carol Bruce Collett
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
April Erwin
Amber French
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Joleen Howell
Bruce Hennigan
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Emily LaVigne
Shannon McDermott
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Andrea Schultz
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
James Somers
Donna Swanson
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Nicole White
Dave Wilson

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

my life is sweet

You know, after having a few disappointments this week, it truly is refreshing to stop and think why my life is sweet. Today, I really need this.

Life Is Sweet

My life is sweet because...
- my friend gave me a super sweet letter this morning
- I got a letter in the mail yesterday from another awesome friend [I LOVE MAIL]
- I painted 3D glasses yesterday and they look sweet
- it's almost lunchtime and that means sandwich! YUM!
- I'm listening to Phineas and Ferb right now. I'm cool.
- I've met a lot of cool people on YourPants.org this week.
- I have 49 subscribers on youtube and it blows my mind every time someone messages me saying they like my videos
- gitchee gitchee goo means that I love you
- my imagination is crazy sometimes and I love it
- I'm having a dance party while cleaning... sorta :P

And yeah. My life is sweet and I am blessed by one crazy-awesome God!

Friday, February 11, 2011

my life is sweet because....

Life Is Sweet

- I get to paint and do arts and crafts!
- My friends and I play badminton together and it's awesome.
- Creative people have made great movies!
- I get the opportunity to make my own weird/silly videos.
- Books have opened my mind to crazy-rockin possibilities!
- I am lucky enough to have an education and to be at University.
- I'm currently drinking a snazzy fruit punch.
- Jesus loves me.
- My God paints masterpieces.
- I know that I'm not alone.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Intimidating University - Q&A

 [Query and Advice]

I am going to University.   
1) intimidated by such a large uni 
2) cold weather
3) roommates
4) just people, who won't know 2 get along

University can be scary--if you let it.

Flashback five months ago and you'd find me: scared out of my mind at the idea of going to university.  And what does everyone tell me?  "You'll be great at Uni, Rachel!"  "You'll pwn school!"  "We'll never see you because you'll be so busy!"  "You'll be so caught up in everything, Rachel, you won't ever want to come home."  [That last one was my mum and it kind of hurt me a bit that she didn't think I'd ever come home really].

With everyone telling me I'd be fine, I didn't know how to express the fact that I was so scared.  I didn't want University to come--and a part of me still wishes I could turn back time.  But you know what, it's true that it's not as scary as I thought it'd be.  Sure, it's a lot bigger, but it's a lot like high school in the sense that there are so many faces that you will never know everyone.  I walk across campus and it's like walking through my high school hallway [except for the fact that it's outside].  Also, the profs and TAs are there to help you.  My psych prof is so awesome.  She loves it when students come to see her and wishes that more did.  Not only that, but she lets us call her by her first name which is pretty cool.  My TAs are all nice, too.  They want you to succeed and will respond to your emails and questions, so don't be afraid to ask.

A small bit of advice I'll offer is DO NOT be afraid to ask dumb questions because, if that question makes a difference in your grade or in your success, it was NOT dumb in the first place.  University is a learning experience!  Also, that first week, go out to EVERYTHING.  Make friends from all sorts of places.  In your classes, talk to the people sitting beside you and get to know some people.  You won't become close with everyone, but you'll find some good friends.  I did.  And I met a lot of other cool people too!

As for the weather, it's something you'll get used to.  Though, I advise you get boots and a good coat before hand.  It would be a pain if the weather caught you unprepared!  I live in Canada--true, I'm in the southern-most section, but it still gets pretty cold and some of the international students are unprepared for the snow and cold.  Try to anticipate and get the necessities!

I know this is getting long, but we're almost there!

Roommates.  You know those movies where the roommates are enemies and can't stand each other?  They are not all true.  Sometimes, but not all the time.  One of the big things to take into consideration when you are living with other people is that: you are living with other people.  Seems simple enough, but most people don't realize it.  I lucked out with roommates this year.  I live with two people.  My one roommate, Becky has been here with me since September.  She is awesome.  We have very different personalities and completely different fields of study, but we learn to live around and with each other.  How that came to be is that I learn her habits and she learns mine.  She knows that if she comes in at 2 in the morning, I'm sleeping so she should be quiet.  I know that if I wake up early, to likewise be quiet.

My other roommate is new.  She's from Bangladesh and Becky and I are still trying to get used to living with her.  We've even had a few spats over the last month and it's not fun.  It's getting better, though, and she is a really nice person so I don't want anyone to get any ideas.  There were just small conflicting issues.

My advice though to the whole roommate sitch is to remember to be respectful--even when it might seem hard.  Try and see a problem from the other person's perspective.  It's important that if you have a problem, try and talk it out in a non-attacking way.  You don't need enmity with your roommates if you can help it.  If you do run into problems with your roommates and you can't seem to solve them, get a third party involved--like a Don or Floor Captain or whoever you can trust to judge a situation fairly.  But remember, communication is key!

I hope this helps!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

life is sweet

Life Is Sweet

1 - because my roommate Becky never ceases to make me laugh. She's pretty cool.
2 - because there are days when I can sleep forever and I love it
3 - because I can youtube nostalgic things... like old favourite cartoon shows
4 - because chewing gum to blow bubbles is fun
5 - because listening to music makes the air shimmer and my heart dance
6 - because in two months tomorrow, I'll be 19
7 - because though I miss my friends, I know they love me and I love them
8 - because homework is only a minor blip on the grand scale of things
9 - because writing unlocks the creative juices and makes me happy
10 - because "shoot for the moon. even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."

Friday, February 04, 2011

Pooping Genes

[I am talking about children with a friend for some reason]
"My children are going to be made of awesome--if I have any, because I am awesome."
"Well, what if you're husband is not awesome?"
"He chose me so he's already awesome."
"Well, what if his parents aren't? Then he'll have unawesome genes."
"Let me tell you something. Awesome genes eat unawesome genes, so they can poop more awesome."

Yep, that's what happens.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

"Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires."

- Song of Solomon 2:7

Do you see that? Did you read it? Read it again:

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires. 
Song of Solomon 2:7

I know so many girls who simply want to be in a relationship. They want a guy to tell them they are beautiful, to dote on them, to hold on to--to be [pardon the expression] "arm candy." I'm not saying all girls are like this and I'm not saying there are not boys who do the same thing, but in my experience, I've talked to more girls who simply want to be in a relationship here and now.

They are impatient.

They want their "prince charming" to be the next guy they see and so they throw their selves upon him and hope he fits the criteria. Then, when he doesn't, they mope about until the next sorry sap comes along AND they usually get hurt in the process.

I've never been any romantic relationship--and sure, there have been days when I feel like I'm missing out, but I've learned [He's taught me! What up, Jesus!] that I don't need a guy to define who I am. I don't need to rush into love. If I did--If I focused all my attention on relationships, then I would most definitely miss out on the great things that I have in my life. So caught up would I be, that I would miss His amazing blessings! And I know, that because I am waiting [some days more patiently than others], that when I do find that special someone, we'll rock the world together.

"Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires."

If you're truly meant to be with that special someone, everything will work it in it's own time, so why rush?

I'm waiting.  Just waiting.  And you?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

"How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful!"

- Song of Songs 1:15

What is it that you find attractive in that special someone? What is it that draws you in?

A team of people in England did a research study on the Science of Attraction through a series of videos. They are all very interesting and about 10 minutes each. If you want to check them out, click HERE.

When I asked you guys last week what you guys found attractive, I got a multitude of answers, as expected, but there were also some similarities.

Many of you agreed that eyes are very important--those windows of the soul.  The eyes of a person can make you feel respected and special while you talk to them.  They convey such deep emotion and such beauty.  How can you not be drawn in?

As for the other attractive physical qualities, there was no agreement really.  Sometimes it amazes me how different we humans are.  Even though we may grow up in the same environments or experience similar events throughout life, we grow up to have such vast and different likes and dislikes--and that rubs off on people.  What attracts me to a guy will not be what attracts my best friend Ana to a guy [this has been proven since she's in a relationship to my other friend K and I'm not attracted to him.  He's a cool dude though!  Hi K!].

But can you imagine for a moment if we were all attracted to the same people?  The world would be an utter chaos of relationships!  Oi vey!  Simply crazy ideas right there...

Fortunately, we are all different and when we meet that special someone, they will be the most beautiful to you and you will be the most beautiful to them.  Will be?  Should be.  I will choose for my man to be.

 "How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful!" Song of Songs 1:15

In closing, I'm adding a quote from a sermon I listened to over a year ago by pastor Mark Driscoll.  He's a really cool pastor and I really enjoy listening to him preach.  The quote is from his Peasant Princess sermon series and if your interested in checking them out, you should.  They are good.

"God’s plan is that your spouse would be your standard of beauty. For Adam, he didn’t have a standard of beauty. He had a wife. For Eve, she didn’t have a standard of beauty. She had a husband. God doesn’t bring in 27 men for Eve. Say, “All right, you guys all compete. Let’s see which one looks the best. Let’s see which one is able to serve my needs.” No, no, no. The issue is this. Everyone should have — must their spouse as their standard of beauty. One of the qualifications of an elder is that they are to be one-woman men, and the — everyone is supposed to follow the example of the elders. So, here’s what that means.

"And this is true for men and women. If you’re married to someone tall, you like tall. If you’re married to someone short, you really like short. If you married to someone skinny, you’re into skinny. If you’re married to someone who’s... not skinny, you’re into not skinny. You say, “Well they were skinny. Now they’re not skinny.” Your standard changed, but that’s still yours — true story, and that means if you get married at 25 and you grow old together at 75, your standard of beauty is not what your spouse looked like at 25, but what they look like at 75. Lust is comparing your spouse to others, desiring others, desiring your spouse to be like others. Job 31:1 he says, “I made a covenant with my eyes. I’m not looking at other women lustfully.” That’s the issue. God shows that in creation: one man; one woman. They’re one another’s standard. That’s it."

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

"I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys."

- Song of Songs 2:1

I know so many girls who are caught up with relationships.

Wait! I don't know if that sentence is right. Let me start again:

I know so many girls who are caught up with the idea of a relationship. They long for a guy--a prince, like the ones seen in the movies--to enter stage left, sweep them off their feet, and make their life a million times better. How? By being an ear to talk to, a friend to play with, a cushion to cuddle with, etc... Basically, to fill a hole in their heart.

Some of the girls that I've met crave this so ferociously that it eats away at them. These girls, whom I love to bits, don't know how to live without a guy by their side.

The problem?
In trying to find a GUY to fill the HOLE, they've LOST THEMSELVES. They forget that they are precious on their own.

"I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys." Song of Songs 2:1

A rose is a precious flower. A precious AND beautiful flower. It does not need anything else to be beautiful--it just is.

Girls, you are a Rose. Each and everyone of you. You don't need a guy to dictate your life. You don't need a guy to define you. You need to be yourself and you need to trust in Jesus.

He's got a plan for you that would simply blow your mind. He's got someone special for you and they are waiting. They are waiting to see your blossom and to relish its splendor. BUT! If you're too busy chasing after that hole in your heart, who will tend your rose? Who will keep your garden--your body and soul--fruitful? Who will be the gardener?

You are a rose of Sharon, a Lily of the Valleys. You are Beautiful just the way You Are.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"KleeWyck, Ooh Ha Ha!"

I was looking back through my collection of posts and realized that I never really addressed this question. I mean, I've made reference to KleeWyck a handful of times and I've explained in brevity, but I've never full out explained where it came from and why it's in the title of my blog.

I would like to thank Ember for posing this delightful question and bringing it to my attention.

But, in order to answer what is a KleeWyck, I think that it is also important to answer why I'm a KleeWyck--the two go hand in hand in this case so please, allow me to tell you the story. Sit back, be comfortable, and listen [*cough*I.mean.read*cough*]!

It is important that you understand KleeWyck is my Camp name. It's been my Camp name since the summer of 2008 and every year, for the lovely 2 months of summer, it's pretty much all I go by and answer to--and I love it. For some of you, the concept of camp names may be strange, for others, you may be sitting there thinking that it means that I chose this name to go by, but that's not how it works at Camp Mini-Yo-We, no sirry-Bob!

The Naming Ceremony is a very serious thing at camp and the names given are also very serious business. They need to be chosen with care and with a certain knowledge of an individual. I mean, if this name is going to be you, it needs to represent you right? I mean, it's a part of you! My small group leaders named me after having known me for 2 months, learning about my personality, as well as my likes and interests. Then, they did some research to find a good name.

I can still remember my naming ceremony. It was a warm day in August and I was 16. There were 26 of us at NorthWoods--a section of Camp Mini-Yo-We. We were part of the Leadership in Training course [L.I.T.] and we were nearing our counselling time. It was a warm day and we were just loafing about after lunch. As I have my NLS, I was life guarding while some of my friends swam in the lake. We were all waiting for something to happen. I finished my shift, got changed into some clothes and headed into the lounge area to sit in the shade with some others.

All of a sudden, the phone rings. None of our leaders are anywhere so one of us answers it. The room goes quiet. We sit listening to her talk. Then she hangs up and says that we need to get everyone in the lounge in the next 5 minutes before the next phone call--the fun was about to begin. Some of us frantically shout from the steps to the surrounding cabins. It takes a few minutes, but eventually we're all gathered, waiting, expectant. It's a chaos of noise and chatter as we all wonder what's going on. I'm excited along with everyone else and I can feel the blood rushing through my veins as my heart pumps ferociously in my chest.

The phone rings again and we're told a clue and then nothing. Pondering the clue for a few seconds, we discover that we're needed to head to the docks. Rushing across the camp, we run down to the lakeside to find another cell phone waiting. Again it rings and again we rush off to another location. After a few more similar stops, we wind up at Look-Out Point. There we find our leaders--all 8--and our program director waiting somber like behind a fire. We sit on the logs rolled before and wait in silence: the Naming Ceremony was to Begin.

As each person was called forward, their story told and their name given, the excitement continued to build. Everyone was anxious to hear their own name and to learn those of their friends. To add a few, some of my friends got the names: Edel [like the flower Edelweiss], Emelkae [M.L.K], Balou [DISNEY! WOOT!], Little Foot [YAY DINOS!!], Crombie [ohh.. there are jokes here... bahahah], and so many more.

Finally, it was my turn.

I walked to the front, nervous. What if I didn't like my name? What if the story was bad or based off something I did by mistake? [There are names that happen from embarrassing moments...] What if?

I stood awkwardly before my peers. I didn't really know what to do with my hands or what expression to make with my face, but hey, I was nervous!

This is my story:

I am Canadian--PROUDLY Canadian. I love being Canadian. It could be the igloos or it might be Time Horton's. Who knows, maybe even Hockey. Whatever the case, I love my country. In addition, I'm also a writer and I shared a bunch of my written work while at Camp. A famous Canadian Writer is Emily Carr. More famous for her paintings {CLICK HERE FOR GOOGLE PAGE}, Emily Carr spent time with the Aboriginals in British Columbia and a lot of her work stemmed from that time.

While she stayed with them, she received the nickname "Klee Wyck" which means "laughing one." I too am an all around happy character. I'm a laughing one!

As I stood before my friends, my family, my small leaders turned and said, "Rachel, you're name is KleeWyck."

And the chorus around the fire replied, "KleeWyck, Oooh Ha Ha!"

Sunday, January 23, 2011

it's just me down here...

Greetings, readers! I hope that you are some place warm on this blistery and frigid day because I was positive my nose was going to fall off. It's a shame that this wintry beauty is so cruel!

Today has been a little bit difficult as the Internet in my residence is down. Any work that I need to get down, I have to do at the library or elsewhere that I may find wireless access otherwise I'm stuck. Isn't it simply great when Internet services fail during project season? *exasperated sigh...*

Oh well, that's life, I suppose.

Anywho, it's January! We're into week three of the new semester and University life is going swell. The projects are starting to rack up in all of my classes, but I'm developing a plan so that I may stay afloat. As long as my teachers comply and publish the assignments in ample time, I'll be good. As aforementioned, it's cold out and walking across campus sometimes can be a real pain--especially because we have a river that crosses campus and it's ALWAYS windy on the bridge. Always. Talk about a nose killer!

Still, buildings are not too far apart and it takes a max of 15-20 minutes to get from one end of the campus to the other and I'm managing.

I got a new roommate at the beginning of this month and she's pretty nice. I don't know how well she's managing though. She's always skyping with her friends and family from Bangladesh and I feel like she's missing the part in an exchange where you need to make friends. I'm not in any of her classes though so I don't really know how I can help... I can't force her to make friends, eh? Any ideas from you geniuses you?

My courses this semester are pretty much the same as last semester. And for those of you who don't know what I'm taking, I shall tell you! I am in History [called Ten Days that Shook the World] and it's pretty cool... in a weird way since it's about terrible things that happened. I also have English and then French as it's counterpart. That's all I'm saying about the two of them. Next I have Philosophy--which sometimes leaves me with a headache, but it's getting better. And finally, Psychology. This one's my favourite. I just absolutely ADORE the subject material. It's just so fascinating to learn everything fancy-pants scientists have discovered!

And yeah. That's where I'm at right now! Now back to researching I go and I'll see y'all tomorrow!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

we need an awakening

Stop & think for a moment.

Think about your thoughts--the things you may tell yourself on a daily basis. Are they all your thoughts? Are they things that you should be thinking?

I ask that, and some of you may immediately think I'm talking about profane and dirty thoughts, but that's not exactly what I mean.

I'm talking about the thoughts you whisper to yourself in the dead of night. The thoughts that float through your brain when you're alone, lost, and scared. The thoughts that you'd never tell anyone else because they make you sad. Perhaps you've told yourself these thoughts are true over and over again, and maybe by now you believe that. Perhaps you use them to remind yourself of "your place" in life and society. Perhaps... perhaps.

I've had those thoughts, too. I've had these thoughts:

But you know what I've realized? I'm not the one saying them. When I'm lying in bed late at night, my thoughts spinning and these ideas whisper through, they are NOT my ideas. They are the Devil's. They are Satan's. He's been whispering them to me for years and I've had enough. I'm not going to take them anymore. I know for a fact that those are not true [though I know I can be annoying at times =P]. I'm not going to let Satan mess with my head and my walk with God this way. I'm going to stand firm and tell myself His mighty truth.

I was stuck in a rut but now I'm breaking free. Are you?

Friday, January 14, 2011

If Life Were Backwards

Then things would be quite interesting, don't you think?

In the book Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut [which I have to read for English], the main character Billy Pilgrim watches a movie backwards. Don't ask me how because I'm not exactly sure except that Billy is jumping between different moments of his life. It's all rather weird and confusing in the way that some books can be. As I read the backwards movie, I couldn't help but chuckle slightly at the absurdity of the film. I've re-typed the passage below so feel free to give it a read through:

American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France, a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew up backwards to join the formation.
The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes. But there were still a few wounded Americans, though, and some of the bombers were in bad repair. Over France, though, German fighters came up again, made everything and everybody as good as new.

When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the US of A, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody ever again.
The American fliers turned in their uniforms, became high school kids.
And Hitler turned into a baby...

The bolded section is my favourite.

As I was reading that, I couldn't help but think, what if we took other stories and watched them backwards? What changes in their plot would that bring.

So, here's Beauty and the Beast: re-written by me [and yes, I know I've left some things out]:

Image via Google
Belle and Prince What's-His-Name were in love but the castle was under attack. So in order to protect their love, the Prince transformed into a Beast. Then Belle ran away back to the village followed by all the villagers who were angry at not having found the prince. Belle locked herself and her father in the cellar to be safe from the villagers while they rioted outside with the magic mirror.

They released Belle and gave her back the magic mirror before returning to their houses. Belle hugged her father goodbye and then snuck off to the Beast's castle to be with her beloved love. The two are having a grand old time together until the Beast gets hurt fighting wolves to protect Belle. After that, their friendship is gone and Belle is locked in her room. After dinner one night, she sneaks into her room where the Beast finds her and yells at her to come to dinner.

Then Belle is taken to the dungeons where her father appears and tells her he loves her and that she should go back home. So Belle leaves the castle with Philip and goes through the woods back home while Maurice is trapped in the dungeons. Back home, Gaston proposes to Belle who ignores him.

Maurice returns from the woods with his invention and Belle walks through the town while singing, oblivious to everyone else around her.

Meanwhile, somewhere in the woods, the Beast greets a fairy lady and accepts her rose. In exchange, she changes everyone into humans. The End.

Well, that was a lot more interesting than I imagined.

So, if you feel so inclined, I'd love to hear your backwards stories in the Comments!

Things I've learned about France (or at least Normandy)

Well there we go, my second European country. In some ways, very similar to England (a lot of meat and potatoes, fancy churches, pay toilets...