See You Next Week!

Sister: Have you seen [such and such] yet?

Me: No, I haven’t seen much. I have six blog posts and two papers due.

And that’s not an exaggeration. 😉 Fortunately it’s all pretty fun and easy, just time consuming.

Did your ears perk up at the words “six blog posts”?

In case you missed it, here’s the invitation for the Five Fall Favorites blog party next week! I’m sooooo excited to be teaming up with nine other bloggers to bring you our favorite book recommendations! (And some giveaways.) ❤ 😀

Invitation

It was a big hit last year, and I even found some great new books to read because of  it. 😀

After the party, we’ll finish that Social Media Series, and I’ll give you a Plate Update as well as some announcements about my NaNoWriMo plans and a new short story. But I’m getting ahead of myself. 😀

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I got some pretty fun and thought-provoking answers to this question when I posted it on Goodreads, so I thought I might as well ask you all too. Thoughts? 😉

Anyway, have a great weekend and finish all your homework. 😉 See you next week!

Lydia Howe Interview

Join me in welcoming author Lydia Howe to Once Upon an Ordinary! 

Aww, thanks so much for interviewing me, Kate! This is quite the honor. 🙂 I’m thrilled to be on Once Upon an Ordinary because it’s a blog I really enjoyed reading. 

Lydia, tell us a bit about yourself. 

Lydia's Author PictureI’m a writer, which is probably pretty obvious since this is an author interview. 😉 I also greatly enjoy traveling (I’ve had fun trekking all over the world), cooking (I work at a coffee shop that also serves salads, wraps, paninis, etc…), cutting grass (my mower’s name is Chadwin), reading, and living out in the country. One of my dreams is to someday own a pet skunk named Charlie Kate. I’d be delighted to connect with y’all, and can do so via social media. Links here: BlogYoutubeFacebook,TwitterGoodreadsInstagram, and Google+

What first made you decide you wanted to be an author? 

Having books read to me at a young age made a huge impact on me. I thought of authors the same way most people probably think of celebrities and royalty. So, to realize I could have that kind of impact on other kids blew me away as a young’n. 😉 

Congratulations on publishing Where Dandelions Grow! May we have an introduction?

Where Dandelions Grow v1.21Aww, thanks! 

Destiny Sparks grew up with her cousins as her best friends – until one fateful day when her mother uproots her out of the blue and moved her family across the country. Now, a decade later Destiny travels back to her hometown, desperate for answers as to why her mother is so bitter and why she destroyed the friendships Destiny held closest. 

The story is told from Destiny’s point of view, and we get to follow her as she makes a new life in Swallow Ridge, working in a bookstore/coffee shop and pursuing her dream as a writer. 

Do you have a quote or story passage that makes you smile?

There’s a part that always amuses me, and that’s when there’s a slight misunderstanding. (Setting: The four cousins are talking together for the first time in ten years.) 

“Our moms thought they were going to inherit it, too,” Kamryn grimaced. “I can’t believe our own grandma made them all believe that. Oh well, that’s a thing of the past. We can’t speak ill of the dead.”

Lexie, Teal and I exchanged a look.

“What?” Kamryn put her hands on her hips. “This isn’t fair you three are already keeping secrets just cause you found each other first.”

“We weren’t keeping secrets,” Lexie huffed at Kamryn.

“It’s just . . . Grandma isn’t dead.”

“Oh. That’s a bit of a shock. I always thought she had died years ago.” Kamryn gave a wave, as if dismissing the thought.

* * * 

(Setting: About a chapter later when Kamryn is visiting her grandma for the first time.) 

“It’s good seeing you again, too, dear.” Grandma returned her hug, then gave me one. Kamryn was right behind me, and when Grandma saw her, she just stood there for a moment, gazing up at Kamryn’s face.

“Grandma.” Kamryn leaned over and gave her a gentle hug, and then stepped back and glanced swiftly over her. “You’re looking a lot better than I would have imagined. You must work out a lot.” 

She looks better than Kamryn had imagined? No kidding, Kamryn thought Grandma had died.

What is your favorite aspect of the ordinary life God has blessed you with?

One of my favorite things in life is to make ordinary things feel like an adventure. It’s amazing how much of a difference mindset makes. It makes me so happy to just stop and soak in everyday moments and realize that although they’re currently ordinary, eventually I’ll look back on them as a thing of the past and I’ll treasure the memories. 

Any plans for further projects?

With the same characters? I’m not sure yet…. As for writing in general? Yep! I’m currently editing a couple of different projects – one is a contemporary YA novel called When Life Hands You Lymes and the other is a realistic fantasy YA novel called Echoes. Plus, I’ve got a fun idea in the brainstorming phase that includes a mystery and digging for fossils. 

Thank you so much for coming!

Thank you for having me! 

 

(Don’t forget to check out her blog Noveltea for more book release fun, including a giveaway! 😀 )

Book Review: Where Dandelions Grow

Where Dandelions Grow v1.21“Cousins are forever, or at least they’re supposed to be. 

What happens when your world falls apart and your dreams are mocked by those closest to you? 

Destiny’s idyllic childhood full of laughter and cousins abruptly ended when her mom uprooted the family to move them across the country with strict instructions to never talk about Swallow Ridge again. Eleven years later Destiny moves back to her hometown, determined to find her cousins… and answers. 

Plagued by generations of bitterness and manipulation, Destiny hides her life-long goal – unwilling to let anyone else trample her fragile dreams. But life in the cozy town full of dandelions teaches Destiny there’s more to life than what she’s been taught. 

Is it possible Swallow Ridge not only holds the answers Destiny so intensely searches for, but also the hope?” (from Goodreads)

What better time for this book Lydia Howe to be released than autumn? I mean, the entire book just feels like autumn even though the seasons change. 😉 I fell in love with Swallow Ridge immediately. It reminded me a lot of my own “hometown”, and even just the name is cute. (And Lillydawn Haven and Psalm 23 too! <3) I enjoyed the cousin dynamic immensely, and I’m not sure there’s anything better than Destiny on caffeine… Unless it’s Lexie’s and Kate’s reactions. XD

And can I just mention–I LOVE ALL THE WRITING AND BOOKSTORE AND COFFEESHOP STUFF? There I mentioned it. I think I could read a whole book about this bookstore. 😉 (There should be a spin-off about the owner. And the owner’s mom. And the owner’s cousin. Not that they are my favorite characters or anything. Except that they are.) 😉 That’s right, Kate, Darren, Mrs. Reed, and Destiny were my favorite characters. I especially liked Destiny’s narrator “voice”. It was spunky and interesting, and her internal comments were always fun. 😛 My favorite part of the book was how Destiny and SPOILER ALERT! her cousins helped bring her Grandma a little bit of redemption and peace. END OF SPOILER ALERT! It was also really neat to find out what happened to the character from the prologue, even though she wasn’t who I was expecting her to be. 😉

The only downside to this book was that the faith element was confusing. There was a church service that felt like a motivational TedTalk. I do understand that this was a special guest speaker, so it would be a little different from a usual church service, but it was “lighter” than I prefer. I did love the Gospel presentation in Lexie’s essay (<3), but Destiny did not have the reaction to it I expected or hoped for. It also made me slightly uncomfortable that the Christians in her life were encouraging her to “take the higher road” and referenced Jesus as a great example in taking the higher road. I would have loved a little more Gospel emphasis especially on what Christ did for us beyond being an example. 😉 Also, just a note for parents of younger readers, the main character and her mother have a very negative relationship.

Best quotes: “You’re quiet now; must be making up for all your chatter as kid. We almost had to have a pause button for you so we could have our turn telling Nanny stories.”

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Altogether, I need to find this Swallow Ridge and its adorable bookstore! This was a great, light read, and I’m looking forward to seeing more from this author.

(Also, I will never stop laughing at the whole “It’s one of my life mottoes” scene. :D)

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are my own. 😉

Stay tuned for an interview of Lydia tomorrow! 😉

So This Is What a Newsletter Is For…

I’ve bombarded you all with extra posts this week, but I promise to never do it again. (Well, at least until the next blog party.) This post has a very good reason behind it–announcements! 😀

First–HAPPY AUTUMN!!!! We celebrated it today with beautiful decorations (thanks to my younger sisters!) and chai tea. ❤ Such a happy day!

Second–that blog party I just offhandedly mentioned. Do y’all remember the Five Fall Favorites blog party I helped host last September? We’re doing it again!

Invitation

And also, in honor of my absolute favorite season ever, I’m having an ebook sale!!! 😀

Book Sale!

(You can find all my books here.)

Anyway, now I understand why I probably need an author newsletter. I’ll work on that. 😉 Have a splendid day!!!

Social Media: Time Management

(Welcome back to my series on social media. You can catch up on previous posts here. I’ll be collecting questions throughout the series for a final Q & A post. Please note that I will sometimes link out to helpful articles. I cannot vouch for everything on the site, so explore at your own risk.)

In preparation for this post, I read some statistics. They grossed me out. This blog post from by Evan Asano, founder and CEO of Mediakix says, “Astonishingly, the average person will spend nearly two hours (approximately 116 minutes) on social media everyday, which translates to a total of 5 years and 4 months spent over a lifetime.”

There. Now you can be grossed out too. *keels over in horror at my generation* Even worse, it gives a chart of all the other things you could do in that amount including running marathons. (*cowers* Did someone say marathons?)

As we discovered when choosing our goals, there are good reasons for being on social media. We just have to make sure we don’t spend too much time on it. 😉 I like this Forbes article on time management tips for social media users, but I think it comes down most to self-control. Most of the blog posts condemning time-wasting on the internet are about employees using work hours to play on the internet, but since we are all mostly students or work from home our time is our own.

Except it’s not.

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24, NKJV)

We serve the Lord Christ with our time. How would He like us to use it? 😉

I will admit that I find wasting time on social media pretty tempting. If I write a post, I’m always eager to check back and see if I’ve had any interaction. And then check again. And check again. While I’m there, I’ll see something I want to share and the cycle starts over. It doesn’t help at all that my schoolwork and my writing are done on the same machine as my social media is. Even if I’m fulfilling the social media goals I believe God has called me to, what about other life goals? Am I neglecting them?

Bible reading, sibling-interacting, school, chores, projects, excercise (gulp), we know what we should be doing. 😉

My favorite tip for time management is turning off notifications. Since this is all electronic, things won’t go away, and it’s okay to delay looking at them for a little while. Scheduled, regular times for specific purposes (Facebook Five Minutes, Blogging Hour, etc.) are very helpful to staying focused and self-controlled. And it’s always okay to ask for help or accountability if the urge is too strong. 😉

We need to think through these things and have a game plan so we aren’t surprised when we find out how much time we’ve accidentally wasted. What’s your plan? 😉

(P.S.–I just discovered I could read the Bible approximately 57 times in those five years spent on social media. Sobering.) 😉

Family Camp!

Disclaimer: this is not Monday. But who doesn’t like an extra post? 😉

Last week, I got to go camping with my family and church family! I enjoyed everything about it–the weather, the junk food (*innocent face*), the games, the bonfire, and the sermons all about the Gospel and suffering. It was also really special to see friends from our sister church across town, since we don’t get together often. Here are a few of my camp highlights.

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For our roadtrip to camp, two of my younger sisters and I put together a surprise bag for each vehicle including some extra special snacks and these two very fun games. The map one is a game where you hunt for license plates from all 50 states and circle them when you find them. I was very proud of myself for finding Alaska, and I enjoyed scanning the road for special license plates. 😉 I ended up filling in at least fourteen states! (Just so you know, more people from the Midwest need to visit here. I never saw a Wyoming plate…) The other game is a scavenger hunt which was also pretty fun. 😉

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We stopped at an adorable historic courthouse and picnicked in the park nearby. Such a beautiful breezy day, exploring, taking pictures, and reading the names on the war memorial. A few of us went inside the courthouse, and this is a picture of one of the staircases. So ornate! I’ve been through airport security only once or twice in my life, so it was fun going through security to tour the courthouse. (The officer joked about impounding our cookies we brought for the picnic.) 😀

The first day is always a set up day, and my dad preached a sermon in the evening before we all went to the cafeteria to play games, sing together, and drink hot chocolate and tea at abominable hours. 😀 My next big highlight was the following day after breakfast and another sermon (one of my favorites!). It was time for field games! Field games are always so hilarious and funny to watch. I actually forgot to sign up for them, but it was cool because I got to take pictures instead and experience everything that way! 😀

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(The stretcher relay race! If I’m ever in need, I want these people carrying my stretcher. They made it to the goal quickly without dropping “the patient”. 😉 )

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(I never caught the name of this game, but I think it was the caterpillar walk. It was one of my favorites to watch.)

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(This game looked unbelievably hard–in this picture they are trying to roll a marble down different sections of pipe they are holding together.)

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(Talk about teamwork! This game is called “acid swamp”, similar to “the ground is lava”. It cracked me up that the big guys decided to backpack the little girls, but it worked!)

Two yearly camp traditions include the tug-of-war games and a footrace. I didn’t get any pictures the tug-of-war since I was in it. 😉

A Few Statistics

  1. Boys against girls–Game one winner: boys. Game two (one-handed!) winner: boys. Most grass-stained: girls. 😀
  2. Fathers (and a few young adult men) against sons–Game one winner: sons.
  3. Mothers against daughters–Game one winner: daughters. Hands down. We are so awesome. 😀
  4. Adults against children–Game one winner: children. We forfeited. Mwahaha.

It was pretty fun. 😉 Later that day we had free time to fellowship with people and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

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(This is what I spent my time on–creative writing! It’s a short story for the class I’m taking, and it was due the day I got home so I had to work on it a bit while I was at camp. It wasn’t a hardship though! I love writing in such beautiful surroundings. 😀 )

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(My little sisters and a friend of theirs played games on the porch while I wrote. It was so funny listening to their conversations, and they had a great time. This year they all had baseball caps and a couple of them even matched. 😀 )

I don’t have any pictures of the bonfire (s’mores, s’mores, s’mores–the whole reason for camping <3) or the capture-the-flag game in the dark, because I was having so much fun! Many great conversations! The best part though was probably the stars. I’m telling you, there were extra that night. Such beautiful majesty!

Sunday was a very fun whirlwind with a great sermon that made me bawl my eyes out and a day trip visit from my nephews (I got to give the littlest a nap in the baby carrier!), before it was time for the roadtrip home. We stopped off at our favorite Mexican restaurant then drove home for some much needed rest.

It was a great weekend of spending time together as a family with our extended church family. 😉

Do you like camping? Tents or cabins?

Book Review: The Destiny of a Galaxy

15724219“Time Has Passed…
In the three years since Maria Morris found the farmer-boy-prince, the Followers have multiplied. As Wyndemere’s empire cracks and unrest rises, the Legatee orchestrates the Rebellion.

Danger Has Not Disappeared…But Neither Has Hope
Though the overthrow of the tyrannical regime is imminent, Maria’s role as the “woman who started it all” is not widely known. So why the foreboding of danger?
Promise floats in the air. Many around her find happiness, even as the tension spirals toward a breaking point. But Maria flounders. What does Maria Morris want to do with her life? 
What is her destiny…now?

Rendered Powerless, Maria Must Make A Painful Choice…
One That Will Alter the Future of the Galaxy 
Forever

When James invites her to headquarters where Maria assumes a new role among The Followers, tragedy strikes. The enemies she had thought long gone are capable of far more than she imagined. Will she have the courage to stand for what she believes, no matter the cost? Will she have the strength to surrender her dreams when all seems lost and she can do nothing at all?” (from Goodreads)

What do you do when an author is having a free promotion of an entire series in ebook? Download them all, of course. It is slightly dangerous to have the next book readily available when you finish the previous one though. There is nothing to stop you from galloping through a great series by Sarah Holman. I speak from experience. 😀

I had mixed feelings about this book, so this review will be in list format of things I liked and disliked. I’ll start with negatives first so we can end on a positive note. 😉

Things I Disliked (WARNING: Some major spoilers. Read this section at your own risk.) 😉

  1. It was the last book. Waaaah. Okay, this doesn’t really count. 😉
  2. The resistance’s response to MAJOR SPOILER ALERT! a traitor. It’s very veiled, but it is suggested that they did something horrible to silence him, and we probably don’t want to know what it is. I get the idea the organization is run mostly by Christians, so this made me really uncomfortable. It seemed to cross the line between justice and revenge. END OF MAJOR SPOILER! 
  3. PRETTY MUCH ALL SPOILERS! The torture scenes were not cool. They were also very veiled (yay, for that!), but not something I’d like to read again. (Especially when they convinced Maria they had bombed her entire house with her family in it.) 😦 END OF SPOILERS! 
  4. Okay, so I know that bit near the end was self-sacrificial and heroic and everything… *sobs* But I’m still not sure I like it. I mean come on! There has to be another way! *cries* I’m also too good at having mental pictures and this was not one I liked. 😉

Things I Liked

  1. Banter. Enough said. Quint was in the story. ❤
  2. The bad guys continued to be brilliant and unpredictable which made them even more scary…
  3. The resistance is so cool. The whole description of the base was pretty fun.
  4. Maria doing the flight simulator and beating all the trainees. 😀
  5. Winter’s growth. She will always be the same delightful, irritating character, but I loved what ultimately ended up happening to her.
  6. SPOILER ALERT! That whole ponytail holder thing??! So much yes!!! I really loved this touch. God used what seemed to be a hopeless situation to bring about exactly what needed to happen. Miraculously. *big grin*
  7. I’m not used to the portrayal of God speaking to people in an audible voice, but I know it can happen and I’m not against it. I actually really appreciated that the author put this in the story and used it well instead of in a squishy way that would contradict the Bible.
  8. Space battles!!! Yes, yes, yes. This reminded me so much of Rogue One, and the descriptions were so good! I could picture everything. 😉
  9. All the ship names. Ships, as in spaceships.
  10. All the falling in love. Finally! *heart squeeze* 
  11. I still can’t get over that space battle. Best part, I think.

Best quotes: “Quint?” Maria turned to the Australian for help. “I would hit him if I were you,” Quint said, matter-of-factly, tilting his head toward James.

Quint came up to shake James’ hand. “Well, welcome back. Things have been a madhouse since you left. I wasn’t sure how much longer I could take it.” James chuckled. “You love it when things are crazy. You had a grand time running things, and I know it.”

Altogether, I enjoyed this wrap-up to a great series!

Social Media: Embrace Safeguards

(Welcome back to my series on social media. You can catch up with previous posts here. I’ll be collecting questions throughout the series for a final Q & A post. Please note that I will sometimes link out to helpful articles. I cannot vouch for everything on the site, so explore at your own risk.)

Picture the internet like a huge library. A library with no late fines, dress and speech standards, and no librarians to keep an eye on things. Anyone can walk in and do whatever they want to. The children’s and adults’ sections are hopelessly mixed up, and even just looking at the cover of a book could be disastrous. You never know what you will find, but you still need to be there. There are many interesting, useful, and even fun things to be found there.

So, today we get to think through safeguards to set for ourselves. This isn’t a list of rules (although I extra-highly-and-extremely-suggest #1 and #5) but instead a list of suggestions with a few examples of how I personally stay safe on the internet.

  1. Embrace your family’s safeguards! This is HUGE. If your family already has internet rules or principles to follow, now is a good time to check your heart with God and see if you are honoring your parents wishes. (And if they don’t have any, I highly suggest you ask their opinions and see if they have any preferences.) God has placed these special people in your life to help guide and protect you. More often than not, they have good reasons for everything. It’s important and worth it to ask them. 😉
  2. Keep some information to yourself. Because anyone can wander wherever they like on the internet, I make sure to read all. the. way. through the privacy settings on my platforms to make sure only the people I choose can see my information. I don’t share my birth date, address, age, or even city online even with my friends unless I know them well enough that we are emailing on a regular basis. If you need to go very public and make connections but don’t want to friend the entire planet, setting up a page is a very good idea. Also, be careful with those very fun Facebook quizzes that require access to your entire profile and pictures. While some of these are safe, many others are scams, and online it’s hard to tell the good from the bad.
  3. Research your potential friends. Here’s where you get to play FBI agent. *cues cool music* *puts on black sunglasses* If it’s Facebook, look at what you can see of their profile. What do they like? What do they share? And who are your mutual friends? If this person is a friend of someone I actually don’t know very well, chances are I don’t know them well enough that I should share information with them. Goodreads also has some great ways of “vetting” a potential friend. Check mutual friends, use the ever awesome “compare books” tool, and include a challenge question in your profile to limit requests to people who are truly interested in being friends. (Here’s a great tutorial on how to set one up.)

  4. Set ad preferences (or use an ad blocker on some sites). When you are starting out on a new platform, the feed is often inundated with ads and page suggestions. It can be really messy near the beginning while the platform you’re using “learns” your preferences. This is an especially good time to get some outside help from a family member. 😉

  5. Get help if it gets weird. No safeguards are entirely foolproof. If you run across something you shouldn’t or feel like someone is acting strange and potentially dangerous, share these concerns with a parent or another responsible adult. Never feel like things are too awkward or insignificant to bring up. They care about you! You will save yourself a lot of trouble and potential issues by keeping the conversation open. 

These are just a few things to think about as you start on your social media journey. If you like, you could even make a poster of the ones you choose and hang it up with your goals. 😉 The internet is a big place. Drive safe. 😀

What are some principles you follow?

Book Review: The Art Contest

35847573“Two days ago, the Nazis rolled into Marie’s hometown. With her mother trapped in the countryside and her father ordered to perform piano concerts for the invaders, the 12-year-old’s life is turned upside down.

When she learns there is more to her pianist father than meets the eye, Marie must work with him to sneak important information past the watching Nazis.” (from Goodreads)

I enjoyed reading this story by Perry Kirkpatrick aloud to my younger sisters. I always love it when historical fiction is vague enough on details to be safe for children but does such a beautiful job of making me feel like I was there through the everyday events and emotions it focuses on. Father/daughter stories are always super sweet too, and I loved the little touch that Marie wanted to help her father like her mother always did. ❤ Another thing that made me extra happy was all the art! *grins* Marie liked to paint, and her father was an accomplished pianist. Marie’s painting sounds so pretty, and I loved it that SPOILER ALERT! she got it back later. 😀 We all enjoyed it very much, and one of my sisters said she thought about the story for a long time afterward. The theme of the story is subtle but close to my heart, and I will definitely be rereading it again soon. 😉

Best quotes: “I sat down in one of the oversized burgundy leather chairs and he closed the door before sitting down in the other. Those chairs always made me feel small, but they looked just the right size for Papa.”

“He gave a fine concert, but not nearly so fine as the one he had given for our soldiers several months ago. For them, he had played our national anthem with great feeling. I knew he would not play that song for our conquerors.”

Altogether, if you like short and sweet historical fiction, this is the story for you! 😉

All the Happy Things

If you read this blog regularly, you may have noticed that I haven’t been sticking to my blog schedule perfectly the last few weeks. You also may have noticed that my posts are being published at weird hours.

So what has regrettably pushed blogging, writing, emailing, reviewing, breathing, and such aside? 😉

COLLEGE. Homework abounds and sometimes I think the professors conspire together to make sure we have just enough to keep us hyperventilating but not impossibly busy. They have this perfected evil method. Okay, it’s not that bad. 😀

College does have some happy things though!

I get to go to a college 15 minutes away from home with my older sister and young brother. 😉

I have the world’s cutest satchel for carrying books. Like seriously–army green with white lettering on it that says “US Mail” and a leather strap. ❤ (I’ve always loved the Pony Express…) My mom and my older sister helped me shop for it like the pros they are. 😉

One of my favorite courses is an online Creative Writing class. Last week we got to brainstorm together on the discussion board, and it was so much fun coming up with story ideas. (My favorite kind of school. 😉 )

Last week in one of our classes we had to do a presentation in front of the whole class. With a powerpoint. An outline. A time limit. And let’s not forget talking. This only counts as a happy thing because I didn’t die and I got to talk about writing! 😀

Our bodyguard brother who opens doors for us. 😉

Mom sends us with cheesesticks and chocolate chip protein bars. Enough said.

The MLA format. Wow, it’s cool.

The school library, though small, has some fiction, and I discovered a new favorite. (Yes, I found time to read it. *sheepish grin*)

For finals in graphic design class we have to make a movie poster or book cover. Is that cool or what??

But even though there are some happy things at college, I’m sooo grateful for the times I get to be HOME.

Happy things at home include…

Conversations with Daddy when he’s off work. He always has a new lesson from God to share with us or “brainstorming” to do for an upcoming sermon or a discussion of current events.

Making cupcakes with my little sisters! We made mini ones with adorable polka-dotted wrappers and swirly white frosting. They seemed to like arranging the candy pearls on top too. 😉 I also make virtual cupcakes with them on this (weirdly addictive) computer game where we run a bakeshop and fill customers’ orders. It’s really adorable and perfect for when I need a brain break right after classes. 😉 (And I’m becoming a frosting swirling pro, in case you were wondering.)

Family computer shopping is also really fun. While my younger sisters explored new computer games, my dad and my brother handled all the wibbly-wobbly-techie-gobbledy-gook and just left the keyboard testing up to me. With their help, I ended up getting a functional but very cool computer that suits my needs perfectly. 😉 Writing, here I come!!! You cannot evade me now, oh terrible, second draft!

Today my mom and my little sisters organized the craft room. I can’t wait to get back to sewing in my spare time! They did such a good job, and it looks really inviting. 😉

Family movie nights. *happy sigh* We just finished watching the Peanuts movie again. ❤ That movie has so many sweet themes, and I just love the redemption it brings to that little comic strip. (And Snoopy dancing or editing with Woodstock? What could be better?) 😀

Inside jokes that we can never quite figure out how they started, and we can definitely NEVER tell anyone outside of our family. 😉 It happens at the dinner table, it stays at the dinner table.

I had time to clean my desk. Granted, it still has stuff on it (like adorable little books to ship out), but I can see wood. 😉

Life is full but beautifully varied. I’m learning to manage my time to include a little of everything and to accept when I can’t do all the happy things. (Like writing. *cries*) 😉

What are two “happy things” God has blessed you with today?