Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Henry Cavill

Thanks for following, Frozen Fearless!

*takes moment to breathe through the embarrassing giggles*

{Warning: This post contains an inexcusable amount of pictures. Like, I think I may have gone overboard this time. I'm sorry. I really am.}

It's been too long, my friends, and this 28-year-old actor is--without a doubt--deserving of a post, and for many reasons.

Firstly, because he's in a movie that's getting a lot of publicity. The movie is "Immortals," and it sucks. I saw it. {I got carded and was old enough to go in. BOOYA--okay, I am so not cool right now.} But still. Henry's face is out there a lot these days.

Secondly, because he's actually a good actor, which surprised me since he's been in exactly NOTHING I've heard of since The Count of Monte Cristo {yeah, he was Albert...or however you spell that in French}.

Thirdly, HE'S GOING TO PLAY SUPERMAN IN THE MOVIE "MAN OF STEEL" IN 2013. OH MY GOSH. DID NOT KNOW THAT. Too bad it's not Batman. Then I'd really be excited. But he does look more like a Superman, so it's cool.

Aw, damn. Never mind. The director quit and the new one recast Superman. New Director, you SUCK.

Fourthly, he's a good guy. *goes to Google to do research because she just BS'd that sentence* Yep, he is. More on that later.

And lastly, because he's actually a UNIQUE kind of sexy. It's true that he has the usual down: an outrageous body, piercing eyes, a tan. Check, check, check.

But he also has crooked teeth and a butt-chin, two things which might normally kill it for a potentially hott guy. But Henry works it anyway. He works it very, very well.

Despite all this, Empire magazine labeled Henry Cavill the "Unluckiest Man in Hollywood." In the past few years he was very nearly cast for Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter, Edward Cullen in Twilight, Superman in Man of Steel and James Bond in Casino Royale. He didn't land any of the roles.

I can't see him as Cedric or James Bond, but I can tell you right now he would have made a better Edward than Robert Pasty Pattinson. He makes a pretty good Superman, too.

His personality is apparently adorable as well. He's been described as "mysterious," "studious," "independent," and "loaded with warmth and compassion." He's also exceptionally intelligent and if he hadn't gone into acting he says he'd have liked to study ancient history or--are you ready for this--joined the army.

I love this guy.

He can be a very inspired speaker, but only when discussing something he's interested in, otherwise he's not a big talker. People say his focus will sometimes turn inwards in the middle of a conversation, and he's been described as "withdrawn." He has to guard against arrogance and the appearance of "I have it all figured out."

Awww :3 He's so cute.

Alright, now that I'm done rambling, here's the part we've all--including me--been waiting for: rampant pictures with no pretension to self-control or depth.
That's plain ol' good-looking right there.

Do you see that eyebrow? Because I see that eyebrow.

He makes a good medieval guy.

He looks so happy and dangerous in this one.

This is not even a flattering picture. But somehow I find it extremely hott.

Favorite.

You're welcome.

~Stephanie

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Personal Preference

Unusual Things That Will Automatically Increase a Guy's Chances With Me
1. If he has a brother. Whether he IS the older brother, or just HAS an older brother, this will automatically get him a second glance.

2. If he has expressive eyebrows. There's no denying I am a complete sucker for this.

3.If he sticks up for me. I'm tough. I can take care of myself. Words are my weapons, and they work well for me. BUT. That doesn't mean I don't like to be stood up for :3 In fact, I do like it.

4.If he likes to argue. I like to argue, and therefore people who do not are automatically not destined to be with me.

5. If he appreciates Disney. Seriously. The classics are classics, and if you can't get into them...forget about it.

6. If he can dance. Although this needs a lot of qualifying. For instance, I do not mean ballet. CALL ME SEXIST, but guys who ballet dance are more often than not GIRLY. But if a guy can dance and do it right, it's hott. Hip hop or ballroom or something. But dance. Yes.

I'm picky pretty much everything. Books, movies, restaurants, friends... When it comes to guys though, it's different. I'm not picky.

I'm downright insane.

My lack of a boyfriend could be related to this. But I'm not sure.

XD

~Stephanie

Monday, November 28, 2011

This Pretty Much Describes Our Friendship

Kirsten and I have sat next to each other in class for years now. Among other habits, we've taken to writing notes in each others' notebooks. For instance, at any given moment, she might reach other and draw an evil smiley face, or a heart, or "I hate you" or make a large green highlighter slash.

Today I found evidence of one of our conversations from junior year as I was doing Thanksgiving cleaning.

I've typed it, but the it's impossible to type out all our drawings XD I've put them in *asterisks* for you. Kirsten is green, I'm blue.

Does Mrs. G look mad to you?

Maybe a little. I think she's annoyed about math & chem. Some of us are way too behind.

Ok I also think bc we got off topic in philosophy idk though ? I'm sooo excited 4 fri.!!

:D Me too! I love y'all! :D

x(

:P I hate you.

<3 the feeling is mutual <3

*a broken heart with an arrow through it* Kirsten is the arrow of death.

*an apple* Stephanie is the poison apple of DOOOOOOOOOM.

Your face.

Good. I NOT FAIL AT LIFE.

You are an ugly young warthog rabbit.

You are a phat toad with jelly & PB {I'm allergic to peanut butter XD}

*a dead dog*

*a fat toad frowning* Frowning aka Stephanie (Last name)

You're attacking an individual.

Ah, junior year :D We learned so much...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Kings and Dragons

Thanks for following, sparklyninjaa!

This is a poem I wrote in ninth grade :) I found it the other day and I still really like it, which is unusual for me. I don't usually love what I write, and it's even rarer that I admit it. I guess this moment in ninth grade was just a rare flash of brilliance XD

Kings and Dragons
By Stephanie
2-19-09

There once was a kingdom, on top of a hill.
The king was the fearsome and dreaded King Will.
But even more dreaded than King William himself,
Was King Will’s young son, allegedly half elf.
The young son was small, only six years of age,
But if denied what he wanted, would call in his mage.
The mage was a gift from Prince Calvin the 12th
Who was known for his cunning and scheming and stealth.
The Young Prince would then have the mage cast a spell
That would bend his poor victim to his selfish will.
The spells often had unpleasant side effects
Like green teeth or stiff hair or sometimes a hex.
Because of all this, most people just did
Whatever the young prince ordered or bid.
That is until one day, the mage had enough.
“It quit!” he shouted. “I’m sick of this stuff.
I don’t want to cast any more spells for you.
I’m leaving right now. I’m gonna do what I want to.”
And the mage left the room with a swirl of his cape
Leaving the prince staring after him, in a terrible scrape.
“Now how can I get people to do what I say?
That mage was my ticket to fun every day.
Without a magician, I’m just not that scary.”
He gasped, “I know! I’ll get myself a fairy!”
So he ran to the barn and saddled his horse.
When asked where he was headed, he said, “Fairyville, of course!”
The prince rode quite hard for two straight days.
Through the forgotten forests, through the forbidden maze.
The prince was exhausted when he finally reached the fairies.
“We’re here at last,” he said to his horse, Larry.
He jumped off his steed and ran through the town
Turning every house upside-down.
“Hello, please come out! I don’t mean any harm,”
He said as he trampled a tiny fairy farm.
After some searching a fairy came out.
She snuck up behind him and gave him a clout.
“Just what are you doing to our houses and homes?
Get out right now or we’ll summon the gnomes.”
The prince gave a grin and with a tip of his hat,
Said, “My gosh! You can do it? Summon gnomes just like that?”
The fairy was flattered by the prince’s amazement.
“Why, yes, of course; at least, for some payment.”
The prince dug in his pocket and pulled out some gold.
“Come back to the palace, and do as you’re told.
If you’re really as powerful as you claim to be,
I’ll give you all this and much more, you’ll see.”
The greedy fairy agreed and got on the prince’s horse.
They reached the palace a whole lot quicker, of course.
Because of the fairy’s teleportation skill.
The prince soon found out he could go anywhere, at will!
He used the fairy to do such awful things.
He frightened the servants, he stole a robin’s wings.
The people soon realized the fairy was far worse.
Instead of rare hexes, she could give you a curse!
But the prince used her so much her anger built up.
After an especially hard day, she’d had enough.
“I quit!” she shouted. “I’m sick of this stuff!
I don’t want to curse one more person for you.
I’m leaving right now. I’m gonna do what I want to.”
And with that she flew away, never to be seen anymore.
The prince crossed his arms. “What’d I ever want her for?
Well, I lost another helper. Now what can I do?
Who can I get now? Who? Who?”
He thought and he pondered for a very long while.
Then at last he knew, he announced with a smile,
“I’ll find a great thief. The finest in the west.
When people defy me, he can steal what they love best.”
It took the prince quite a long time
To catch a thief in the middle of a crime.
When he finally got one, he told him his plan.
“How’d you like to be the man at my right hand?”
It took quite a while to make the thief believe
That he wasn’t being scammed, he wasn’t being deceived.
When he finally was sure of the prince’s intentions
He cried, “Absolutely! I’d be honored to be your henchman.”
So they scurried back to the huge palace
And began their acts of mischief and malice.
Whenever someone made the prince mad or did wrong,
The next day their most prized possession was gone.
The thief stole whatever the prince told him to.
He stole jewelry and books and Cinderella’s glass shoe.
What bothered the thief, though, was how he was treated.
The prince never said thanks, the thief was never greeted.
One day the prince’s rudeness was too much.
“I quit!” the thief shouted. “I’m sick of this stuff.
I don’t want to steal people’s treasures for you.
I’m leaving right now. I’m gonna do what I want to.”
With that he departed, the prince never saw him again.
He sat down on his bed, on his hands put his chin.
“Here I am, in the same scrape as before.
Who is there now? Is there anyone more?”
He thought his very best, he thought long and hard.
And then he leapt up and cried, “By the palace bard!
I’ve got it. I have it. I know what I’ll do.
A dragon will serve me, I know he’ll want to.”
The prince saddled his horse faster than ever before
He turned the steed around and they shot out the barn door.
The dragons lived far away from the town.
No one much liked them—they were feared all around.
On day number four, to the prince’s delight
He spotted a dragon breathing fire, he saw that bright light.
He galloped all the faster, and when he was close,
He jumped off the horse, to the dragon he loped.
“Hello, mighty dragon!” He’d heard they like praising.
But when the prince was quite close, he saw something amazing:
There were lots and lots of people there!
The prince stopped in his tracks to stare and stare.
The dragon glanced at the prince with a smile that glowed.
“Won’t you join us? Come, enjoy the show.”
The prince frowned; he was quite bemused.
“Why, what’s going on? I’m so confused.”
The dragon smiled, “Just what I said.
I’m giving a show. Don’t look so filled with dread.
I’m not nasty and frightful as you think.
I’m really quite kind, having visitors tickles me pink.”
The prince shook his head with terrible frown.
He touched the huge jewels sitting in his crown.
“But dragons, like princes, are supposed to be fearsome.
Otherwise how will you get people to listen?”
The dragon just laughed, “You don’t get it at all.
You aren’t supposed to threaten people big and small.
Princes, like dragons, are ought to be kind.
That’s the real way to get people to mind.
Ruling by terror is short-lived, you know.
That isn’t the way to do it, no, no.
If you are kind and try to be fair,
Your citizens will follow you ’most anywhere.”
The prince just stood there, thinking it over.
He cocked his head, he fiddled with a clover.
“You know I never thought of that before.
Perhaps if I were kinder, I wouldn’t need a mage anymore.
If I were fair, just as you say
I wouldn’t have to steal from people every day.
I guess I don’t really need to be scary.
Why, I can rule without a strong fairy!”
The prince was astonished at this revelation.
He thank the dragon, went home and had a celebration.
He stopped being rude and quarrelsome and bratty.
The people began to like him better than his daddy!
The prince grew up, good and fair
And is remembered everywhere
For being a strong leader, not needing to scare.
He’s quoted a lot at banquets and things
By the earls and dukes and the kings:
“Kings, like dragons, ought to be kind.
That’s the real way to get people to mind.”

Hope this was at least good for a laugh! :)

~Stephanie

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Book Review: Incarceron


{Note: I've heard rumors that "Incarceron" is soon to be a movie, starring Taylor Lautner. Not sure if it's legit, but I might look into it some more and let you know ;)}

Title: Incarceron
Author: Catherine Fisher
Stars: 3.5
Less-Than-500-Word Review in Short: “Incarceron” is a completely original and fascinating tale, however the plot and character development could have been improved.
Back-of-the-Book: “Incarceron is a prison unlike any other: Its inmates live not only in cells, but also in metal forests and dilapidated cities. The prison has been sealed for centuries. Only one man, legend says, has ever escaped.
Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner, can’t remember his childhood and believes he came from Outside. He’s going to escape, even though most inmates don’t believe Outside even exists. Then Finn finds a crystal key and through it, a girl named Claudia.
Claudia claims to live Outside—her father’s the Warden of Incarceron and she’s doomed to an arranged marriage. If she helps Finn escape, she’ll need his help in return.
But they don’t realize that there is more to Incarceron than meets the eye. Escape will take their greatest courage and cost more than they know.
Because Incarceron’s alive.”

I Say: It’s rare to find a book that’s truly original. You can put an original spin on Cinderella; you can write a fantasy with vampires as good guys; you can create futuristic gadgets that MAYBE no one has thought of; but it feels like almost everything—in one way or another—has been done.

Fisher found something that has not been done before. “Incarceron” was so imaginative and original that I felt I was hearing a story for the first time. There was always more to learn, more to understand, because you couldn’t see anything coming any more than the baffled characters could. Fisher surprised me again and again.

However, Fisher fell a bit into the trap of SHOCKING CLIMAX after SHOCKING CLIMAX, almost to the point where the reader was tired of being surprised. Although the book can’t be called too short, it felt like the pacing was off.

Other things that kept me from loving the book: 1) The story is so original that it’s difficult to understand immediately. You spend the first hundred pages trying to figure out how society works, what so-and-so means, and what this-and-that is. Some of this might be intentional, but I found it a little jarring.

2) I didn’t think the character development was completely…developed. The main characters (with the exception of Claudia and maybe Keiro) fell flat. No one had a catch-phrase, an especially unique personality, or a well-developed internal conflict.

Still, those things might improve after a second read. Once I know the story, it might not feel like SHOCKING CLIMAX after SHOCKING CLIMAX. Once I’m familiar with the society, it might not seem as frustrating trying to understand. Then once I don’t have to concentrate so hard on the lingo and plot, I can focus more on the characters themselves. Maybe then they won’t fall flat.

I Liked:
- Original
- Thought-provoking

I Didn’t Like:
- Poor character development
- Lack of tight plot

Audience: “Incarceron” is appropriate for all ages content-wise, but it’s possible younger kids wouldn’t enjoy it because it’s confusing and not always immediately exciting.

I think “Incarceron” is worth the read!

Friday, November 25, 2011

6 Ways to Procrastinate Your Novel During NaNo

1. Test Word's grammar knowledge. {Ah, it caught the "except/accept" discrepancy, but the "manner/manor" one seems to escape it.}

2. Ponder names. {What does it mean? What language does it come from? What are some common connotations about the name? Do any famous people share this name?}

3. Three words: FONTS. AND. COLORS.

4. Pick theme songs for your characters. {One more round through my entire iTunes library ought to do it...}

5. Fiddle with between-chapter-separators. {You could go with asterisks ***...or tildes ~~~ or a combination *~*~*. OH THE DECISIONS.}

6. Search for pictures of your characters. {"Short layered blonde hair green eyes mischievous teen girl" is going nowhere fast...}

You're welcome.

~Stephanie

Thursday, November 24, 2011

(: thanksgiving :)

click to enlarge

can you feel the love tonight?

yes, i'm listening to the lion king soundtrack. yes, i am ridiculously, childishly happy at the moment. yes, i know i sound silly and this is probably not going to be the sort of thoughtful thanksgiving post you were expecting.

but it's all you're getting, so be thankful ;P

can you feel the love tonight? it is where we are.

we are here, with a blazing fire; slender bare trees; one-of-a-kind family; flavorful food; warm feet; shining eyes...

and love. lots and lots of love.

i'm so thankful for my life right now. life is such a gift, you know? the ability to hear, see, taste, touch, feel, emote, {write two-thousand more words on a nano novel}, laugh, cry, breathe, sing, write, read, wink, {watch charlie brown thanksgiving}, dream, giggle, dance, run, draw, swim, jump, play, think, wonder, decide,

and love.

we're so blessed just to be alive right now. there will never, ever be another november 24th twenty-eleven. today is the one and only. today is your shot. today is the beginning of the rest of your life!

what a fresh, happy, exciting thought.

so eat some turkey today, guys. have some cranberry sauce. laugh at your uncle's dumb joke. watch your grandma's favorite christmas movie. taste that nasty green bean casserole. live like you're happy. live like you're blessed. live like you're alive. live like you're thankful.

happy thanksgivings from pandora :)

~Stephanie

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Life Hacks

Ingenious ways to make life better with little effort involved.

How to Get Out of the House on Time: Make your playlist the same length as the amount of time you have to get ready. Go from chill songs to more energetic. You'll be able to tell how you're doing on time by the song playing.

Buy Some Time: Need more time writing that paper? Grab a jpg, mp3 or some other media file and rename it "My Awesome Essay.doc" and send it to your professor. The "paper" will look "corrupt" and it'll buy you a day or two more.

Keep Motivated: If there's something big you need to get done, tell all your friends you're going to do it. The fear of looking like an ass helps keep you motivated.

Free Phone Charger: Next time you lose your phone charger, don't buy another one. Go to a hotel and say you think you lost it there. It's the #1 most left behind item at hotels, so most places have a big bin filled with every phone charger imaginable.

Free Hotel Reservations Cancelation: If you've got hotel reservations and need to cancel, but you're already within however many days prior to arrival your cancelation policy stated, just reschedule for a future date, call back, get a different rep and cancel free of charge!

Combat Acne: Persistent acne can be almost universally reduced or cured by sleeping with a freshly washed towel over your pillow.

Extend a Remote's Range: If you are opening a gate with a remote, and are a bit out of range, but it under your chin pointing upward. Your skull is a close enough approximation to a parabolic reflector to direct some extra energy forward giving you extra distance.

Go Straight to Your Floor: In an elevator, press the desired floor and door close button at the same time. No matter what other floors have been pushed, you will go directly to your floor.

I'm gonna have to try some of these :D

~Stephanie

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Love

Is love an intellectual or emotional thing?

The other day I was sitting in class, thinking about the guy across from me.

Before this school year, I didn't know he existed, but he had started to grow on me and so--naturally--I started analyzing him.

He was giving a presentation, which worked out well. You're SUPPOSED to stare intently at people when they're giving a presentation, so it was a lot less weird than it might have been.

First I considered his looks, since that was something I wouldn't be able to do when we was just sitting in class {without being creepy}. My initial reaction was that he was NOT good-looking. He has an usual haircut, crooked teeth and some acne issues. But I had started to see past that and was beginning to think that he had potential in the looks department.

Then I considered his personality. I like his personality a lot. He's quirky in the same ways I am,; we share opinions on a broad variety of topics, like books and perfect words and the guy who writes our theology guide {hate him}.

But then he also sees some things very differently than I do. We were talking in class one day about what it would be like if we didn't have relationships with God. I said I thought it would feel like a part of our minds were missing. Her said he thought it would feel more like a part of our hearts were missing.

Which was weird. I don't usually go there with my thoughts. I dunno. It was just interesting.

But, believe it or not, this post isn't supposed to be about this guy at all. It's about about ME, mwahahaha >:D It's about how I deal with liking/loving people.

As I sat there in class, I mentally tallied up the guy's looks, personality, and compatibility with myself. Then I gave myself a nod and put him on my list of Potentials.

Then later at the library, someone dropped some books. They were behind the shelves, so I couldn't see them. A moment later the person came out. It was a guy my age, the attractive guy my age that works at the library. I'd kind of forgotten he worked there at all, but when I saw him my brain went into calculation mode again.

Good-looking. Taller than I am. Works at a library, so he has to like books. Also means he has a job. Or he volunteers, which could be cool or lame, just depending. Hm.

He made it onto the Potential list too.

But then on the way home, the whole day resonated weirdly in my mind. It hit me like a jellyfish in the face:

Is THAT how I deal with the concept of romantic relationships? I size people up mentally, calculating and analyzing, before they make it onto a list where I could potentially select them because they had "passed the test"?

It struck me as sort of creepy to be honest. I mean, at this point I have not given any thought to how I FEEL about either of the two guys who just made my list. It was all intellectual, no emotion involved. Is that how it's supposed to be? Do other people just go around making rational decisions about something that should be exciting and...I dunno, touch-feely?

It's late and I know that isn't a very good conclusion, but I'm too tired to write anything else at the moment XD Interesting thought, though, isn't it? Is love an emotional or intellectual thing? I'm pretty sure I'll be continuing this later when I can think straight.

~Stephanie

Monday, November 21, 2011

Feminism: Celebrating the Difference

Thanks for following, Anna!

In light of the recent comments on the post Gender Specific Questions, I've decided to adapt a post I published a long time ago on another blog. It seemed fitting XD

"Okay. I'm a female. But sometimes women’s rights stuff is just irritating.

The whole Women-Can-Do-Anything-Men-Can-Do attitude can be abrasive and frankly, IT’S NOT TRUE. Now, I am a stubborn, proud, competitive person, but let’s face it:

Girls are never going to be suited for the NFL.

Our bodies are not designed with that in mind. And sometimes girls/women will go so far out of their way to prove that they are just as “tough” as their male counterparts that they come across rude and strange.

And they can miss out on some of the really fun parts of being a girl. {Being a tomboy is different, by the way, I speak from experience. Tomboys know that they’re being atypical and just like to do the things that boys do. They aren’t going out of their way to prove a point—necessarily.}

God gave men and women different physical strengths, instincts, and mindsets. If he wanted us to be all the same, we would be, and there would be no such thing as “maternal instinct.” Or “paternal instinct” for that matter.

Now, I'm definitely not saying girls should grow up, marry, have children, raise them and that’s IT. No. Duh, that's not what I'm saying. One of my career goals is to become a lawyer. I don’t necessarily believe that having kids is for everyone.

But, seriously, that’s kind of a waste of the whole maternal instinct thing.

Guys’ bodies are made to be, well, stronger in some ways. YES, there are girls that are stronger than guys. But on a natural, average basis, guys are stronger. It's just the truth.

And then you have instincts. Girl and guy instincts are just completely different. Guys, you see a hurt bunny, shoot it, eat it, it was gonna die anyway and you’re hungry. Girls, you see the hurt bunny, you think of helping it. At least for a second before you shoot it, etc. XD Paternal instincts vs. maternal instincts. Dads and moms both take care of the family, but in different ways.

All of us that have parents know this. When you want to do something that might be dangerous, but would definitely be exciting and a growing experience, who do you ask permission from?

I’ll give you a hint: not Mom.

When you need help with something that you really should have done two weeks ago or that you “ought to be able to do by yourself,” who are you gonna go to?

Another hint: not Dad.

See the pattern?

Now, I’m not stereotyping. I’m not even saying that a girl couldn’t become an NFL player. I’m just saying that it’s evidently less unlikely, and that girls’ bodies weren’t made for that.

And guys can’t make dinner, call the plumber, solve six problems, review a court case, plan tomorrow, make the grocery list and pour the cold medicine for Johnny at the same time. Their brains might explode.

The Point: I’m not saying that women are inferior in any way. In fact, I'm saying the opposite. I mean, seriously, how ironic is it when girls go about life screaming "LOOK HOW GREAT GIRLS ARE; WE CAN BE JUST LIKE GUYS!"

Um...anyone else catch that?

Instead of celebrating the fact that women and men can be the same, we should celebrate the difference once in a while. Because there is a difference. A big one. And it’s what makes us beautiful."

~Stephanie

Sunday, November 20, 2011

8 Annoying Ways to Increase NaNo Wordcount

1. Don't use possessive apostrophes; use "of" instead. {The hand of Ember reached out slowly...}

2. Give unnecessary descriptions of every room your characters visit.

3. Do not use contractions.

4. List all the possibilities. {He might have been angry, or perhaps he was just thinking of something else, or pondering what was for dinner, or recalling the events of the night before.}

5. Replace "then" with "just at that very moment." {Just at that very moment, the door opened.}

6. Attach adverbs and facial expressions to every dialogue tag. {"No," she said forcefully, looking shocked.}

7. Make your characters argue. A lot.

8. Ramble.

~Stephanie

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Girls Ask Guys...

and Guys Ask Girls. Theoretically XD It ended up more like I asked all my girl friends for guy questions, and all my guy friends for girl questions. I didn't get a lot of contributions from Pandora, with the exception of Jay. {Thanks!} Anyway, here's what I've got:

First, what have guys always wanted to ask girls?

1. Why do girls do things that drive them crazy? {This has to do with the fact that I read the blog of this blogger that I hate even though it makes me want to kick a kitten through an electric fan.}
Um. Good question. In the particular instance of the blog, it's almost like an addiction, an obsession. It's like I check the blog to make sure I still hate it. I need more justification for my rage.

I think that's true about most things that drive us crazy that we do anyway. But...I'm really not sure.

2. Why do girls go to the bathroom in groups?
1) To talk about you. {Haha--no. Seriously.} But not necessarily in a creepy, gossipy way. We might be talking about how much we like you. Bathrooms are like the Girls Only Club you weren't invited to in second grade. It's where we can exchange quick fears and any developments that have happened since the last time we could talk to each other.

2) To talk about other embarrassing or awesome things of a secretive nature that have happened. We don't necessarily want the entire world to know you finally confronted that beeotch about what she said last week, but it's too great not to share with SOMEONE.

3) To share make up. I don't really do this a lot because I'm paranoid of getting some rare eye disease, but a lot of my friends do. If a massive zit just rose up on your nose and you don't have cover-up, chances are one of your friends has your back.

3. What are some pet peeves girls have about guys that you never tell us?
Hm. Well, personally I hate it when a guy compliment me on my looks TOO much. I know that seems weird, but for some idiots it's like that the only thing they can find to talk about. Guess what? If you like me because I had a good hair day and completely ignore the fact that I'm a writer, I will not date you. Ever.

4. Why do girls make their boyfriends go shopping with them?
1) Girls think it will be a bonding experience.
2) Girls like to have their boyfriends involved in their lives, and shopping seems like an intimate environment to get to know each other.
3) Girls want to get things their boyfriend will like.
4) It seems cute and domestic.
5) I don't think I would do it. I mean, I understand all the reasons above, and somewhat agree with them, but I feel like it's just sort of...cruel. And it pisses me off when I see girls hauling their boyfriends around by the arm, demanding that they choose which jeans look better. Ugh. He probably doesn't care that much, and whichever pair he picks will most likely be the wrong one. Why put him through that?

5. Are women just as confused about their emotions as guys are?
Ehhh. Yes. Well, no. We're not JUST AS confused as you guys; we understand them better than *that* ;P But yeah, a lot of times we feel depressed or upset for no good reason, and it's quite frustrating. It's like there are two sides of our brains battling: the rational part that knows nothing should be making us feel this way, and the other part that wants to go read sappy journal entries and feel depressed over them.

Which...okay, doesn't make sense.

But then there are all the times when we get pissed off and it seems confusing to you because you missed something that seems obvious to us. Like not showing up when you promised, or telling us you don't care about something that's important to us, or forgetting something that we've told you a million times. Then no, we are not confused in the least XD

6. What are the biggest pressures girls face today?
There's always the age-old pressure to look perfect, but I think now there's actually pressure from other girls to be "tough." For a long time, the pressure was for girls to be ladylike and docile, but I think the pendulum has swung the opposite way, and hard. At least for me, I feel like girls constantly look down on others for wanting a guy to protect them etc.

Girls' turn XD Thanks Jay, Sam, and Aaron for helping with our questions!

1. What's the scariest question for a guy to get?
Aaron: If fear no questions.
Jay: What are you thinking?
Sam: Can I just say something?

2. What is the biggest turn-off in a girl?
Aaron: Selfishness.
Jay: Self-involvement. Being fake.
Sam: Being a stupid slut? Also, clingy. Too much is bad, not enough is bad XD

3. Do guys really try to figure girls out?
Aaron: Sometimes.
Jay: Yes we do, but then we get frustrated and give up. We are usually surprised by the different way in which girls react to the same event as guys. Something that we thought would make you laugh made you cry, or something we thought was no big deal made you have a near meltdown over. After trying and failing we just give up and eventually become too lazy to ever try again.
Sam: More or less. I've given up on it.

4. How do you feel about girls asking guys out?
Aaron: Totally fine.
Jay: Perfectly fine, although it must be done in the right way. If a girl is going to ask a guy out, she has to come across very casual, nothing clingy, desperate or crazy. At the same time she has to make it obvious enough that even us oblivious ones can read the signs. She should also be prepared for some people to imply she’s a boy chaser if she does.
Sam: It doesn't really happen much, but I'd be okay with it.

5. Girls can tell when another girl is pretty. Why can't guys tell when another guy is hot? Or can you?
Aaron: Not really, no.
Jay: Guys can tell but we’re afraid to do it. Most of it comes from a straight guy’s fear of being called gay, or of our own insecurity. But yes we can tell, and it usually makes us jealous.
Sam: Absolutely. I'm really good at it. All the time. At work, I'll talk to my friend Josh, point out hot chicks, and be like "Dude, would you?" And then I'll go talk to the female waitresses and be like "Dude. Red shirt, table 4, (*it's a guy*) would you hit that?"

6. Which is more important, the eyes or the smile?
Aaron: Smile usually makes the eyes prettier. So smile.
Jay: I really want to say both, but if I had to pick I’d say the smile.
Sam: Smile.

7. Does girls' crying freak you out?
Aaron: Nope.
Jay: The crying of girls in general, yes. We don’t process our own emotions well and so the honest expression of whichever emotion has lead to the crying freaks us out. However if the crying girl is our girlfriend, then we instinctively go into “I need to fix the problem” mode which isn’t what you needed in the first place. Likely all you wanted was someone to listen and sympathize. And if it’s fake crying just to make a scene or get your way just….don’t.
Sam: No, but screaming does.

8. Does acne bother you?
Aaron: Not really.
Jay: Everybody would be happier without it, but no.
Sam: Massive amounts, yes. Otherwise, Idgaf.

9. Is skinny better?
Aaron: Yes, as long as she's not a stick figure.
Jay: This is really getting into ‘eye of the beholder’ territory, but generally no. Someone who is healthy and who is somewhat secure with how they look is attractive. Personally, a girl’s fitness is more attractive than whether she’s ‘skinny’ or not.
Sam: Very loaded question. Fat is bad. That's what I'll say. I don't find fat chicks attractive. i know some great ones, but they're not...hot.

10. How do you feel when a girl tells you "nothing" is wrong?
Aaron: That's girl-code for "something's really wrong."
Jay: Relieved and anxious. Relieved because it means we might not have to put forth the effort to have a serious talk with you. Anxious because any guy with a little bit of sense or experience knows you’re lying. We don’t know what’s actually wrong, if it’s with you, us, the relationship, or something else, but we know something is. We’re also afraid to press you to tell us more and so we don’t, and you probably resent us for it. Honestly, we’d rather you just tell us. What’s the point of saying ‘nothing’?
Sam: Same as when question #1.

11. Are you now scared stiff after answering all of these questions?
Aaron: See Answer #1.
Jay: Nope, this was fun. Great idea Stephanie!
Sam: Um, no?

~Stephanie

Friday, November 18, 2011

{ember and coal}

“I hate it when you say that,” Ember said, trying to force down her anger. Coal’s eyebrows elevated in an amused smirk.

“Say what?”

“‘I see.’” Ember pressed her arms closely to her sides, palms touching her bare thighs. It was a good way to gage her self-control. The warmer her palms got, the more she knew she was failing to control her temper. “It makes me feel like you’re not listening, or don’t care enough to think of a reply.”

Coal’s blue eyes laughed, but it seemed cruel now. “Sometimes I don’t care enough to think of a reply,” he admitted. The truth of the words fell like stones into Ember’s heart, like coals. But it quenched her anger immediately. She suddenly felt very cool, very distant. The emotion had run its course and broken through the other side. Now she could think.

“I know you don’t,” she said slowly, looking directly at him. He would not look at her. “That’s why I always ask if you want to talk… But you usually imply that you do. Otherwise, believe me, I would stop talking.” The edge was creeping back into her voice. Coal looked at her then, trying to read her eyes. They were still deceptively, disconcertingly blue.

“I meant that I don’t always care specifically about what was said.” His eyes had finally taken on a slightly wary cast, which was as daunted as Coal ever became. “Not that I don’t care about us talking at all.”

Ember’s breath came out in a short, frustrated gust, her eyes tingeing purple for the first time. “Coal, talking takes two people. You give some, I give some. That’s the way it works.”

Coal’s eyes narrowed slightly. “I agree, which implies that neither of us has to care all the time. However, the real problem is, I think, that you care too much and I don’t care enough.”

There is no doubt, Ember thought, nostrils flaring in an effort to channel her vivid frustration. “You’re right. Neither of us has to care all the time. That would be unrealistic and exhausting. But I think it’s more the latter.” Green seeped unexpectedly into Ember’s eyes. “I try to make conversation,” she said, a husky tone threatening in her voice. She swallowed hard and shook off that desperate feeling she so despised. “but it’s never interesting enough.”

Coal snickered and looked away, giving his shoulders a quick roll to relax them. “It usually is, Ember,” he said. “Or I wouldn’t keep talking.”

In a flash Ember’s spine snapped straight, her eyes flashed bright and red and her features took on a fierce tilt. “What about me, Coal?” Her voice was stronger, louder now. Coal looked at her, his face momentarily betraying his surprise. “Do you think I enjoy making conversation that amuses you and getting nothing in return?”

His eyes were still. Ember could see his mind turning the question over. She felt a tingle of pure anger. “Don’t you dare treat me like one of your assignments, Coal Blazings.” He blinked and raised his eyebrows, looking both shocked and slightly menacing. “I’m not someone you can spy on, someone to find angles around, someone to placate or fool into minding you.”

Coal opened his mouth, then shut it, studying her with a new intensity that Ember hadn’t seen before. She did not like it. The look was candidly uncomfortable, and Coal was never uncomfortable. “I don’t…I don’t think you enjoy getting nothing in return,” he began slowly. “But conversations don’t have to be balanced that way. My mind doesn’t work that way.”

“In the short run, no, conversations needn’t be balanced,” Ember said. “There will be days when I don’t feel like talking, and you’ll have to carry me, and vice versa. But in the long run, yes. Yes, conversations should be more or less balanced, Coal.”

“You’re using my name a lot.” The proud smirk was back. Ember wanted to slap it off with a flaming palm.

“I’m trying to keep your attention!” Ember exploded, palms bursting into flame. Coal flinched back in shock. “You’re like a child,” she shouted. “Coal! Coal! Listen to me, Coal! Pay attention, Coal! This way, Coal!”

Coal’s brows lowered in a formidable frown. His eyes would surely have been red were it not for his years of spy training. In a flash, he reached out and stuck his shielded fingertips onto Ember’s palms, cooling them to uselessness. She glared up at him with fiery eyes and clenched teeth. “I don’t want to fight!” he said forcefully. “Ember, I don’t want to do this.”

“Well, I am sorry,” she said venomously. “But we’ve got to.”

“Why?” Coal shouted. Ember flinched in surprise, stepping back with one foot. Coal threw up his hands, his eyes focusing so hard into hers that she felt her cheeks grow hot. “Why, Ember? Ember, why do we have to do this? Ember?”

“Because.” Ember’s voice dropped unexpectedly. “It’s the only way you’ll really talk to me.”

“That’s not true.”

“It is true, Co—” She stopped herself, squeezing her eyes shut, folding her arms across her chest.
“Often I don’t say much because it’s not necessary.” The edge stayed firmly planted in Coal’s aggressive speech. “You know what I mean. I shouldn’t have to waste words only to make my sentences longer.”

“It’s not wasting words,” Ember said, emotionally drained once again. She looked at him with wide, teal eyes. “I don’t always know what you mean. That’s why we’re here. When you reply, ‘I see’ to everything I say… How does that convey anything but disinterest?”

A growling sort of sigh escaped Coal’s lips. “I do not reply ‘I see’ to everything. That is a gross overstatement. I say what I mean with as few words as possible.” He frowned. “How can you be angry at me for that? Sparktresses are far worse. You never say what you mean, in few words or not.”

“I am right now,” Ember said. “Saying what I mean.” She roughly twisted a lock of hair in her fist. “That’s also different. Sparktresses…we at least convey some emotion, whether or not it’s the emotion we’re truly feeling.”

Coal’s eyes shifted to the sky and then down. “So it’s not meaning you’re upset about,” he said. “It’s feelings.” It wasn’t a question. It was a statement; a statement wringing with poorly disguised contempt. Ember felt the terrible coldness clutch her stomach again, soaking up all the emotion with a cold, clammy squeeze.

“You’re supposed to love me, Coal,” she said softly. “And yes, I have always considered love to be a feeling.”

“Well, I haven’t,” Coal said coldly, looking straight into her green eyes. “Love is a choice; it’s a decision. Feelings come and go. If you love someone, it’s not a feeling; it’s something a bit more stable than that.”

“Although not so stable that it merits full responses apparently.”

“Love is stable. Perhaps what we have is not love.”

If Ember hadn’t been numb, that would have hurt. As it was, the statement ripped through her soul without any pain. At least not then. The rawness of a shredded heart would come to her later.

“Perhaps you are right,” she said, her voice restored for a moment. Her eyes shifted back to a calm blue. “Goodnight, Coal. Goodbye, Coal.”

“Goodbye, Ember.”

And they parted ways.

{And then she started asking him Gender Specific Questions..

Oh wait, no, that was YOU! Hint. Comment. Email: thereasonintherhyme@gmail.com}

~Stephanie

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Forgiveness Part III

{Guys. You're going to have to ask questions for Gender Specific Questions to be answered :P I know you're busy, God knows I am too, but there will be no answers if there are no questions XD Anything and everything is game. If you don't want to comment them, go for it, or you can email me at thereasonintherhyme@gmail.com}

In church, we've been doing a study on the Lord's Prayer.

"Our Father, who's in Heaven, may your name be holy.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us today our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Don't lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.
Amen."

We've been taking that one line at a time for several weeks now, and a couple of weeks ago we hit

"Forgives us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

It would seem that I've already covered both pieces of that statement, forgiving others and accepting God's forgiveness. But there's one little word in there that hit me like a ton of bricks that Sunday:

"As"

I had always interpreted the sentence as "Forgive us our trespasses WHILE we forgive those who trespass against us." I thought of "as" as in "I'm going to scream like a chicken AS I wave my arms at the same time."

But I don't think that's what this "as" means.

I think the statement might be more like "Forgive us our trespasses IN THE SAME WAY we forgive those who trespass against us."

And holy hellfire, is that ever a scarier interpretation. By praying this, I'm asking God to give me forgiveness in the grudging, sometimes-never-complete way I forgive everyone else? Oh jeez.

I know we're supposed to love our neighbors as ourselves, and I know we're supposed to forgive people. However, when you put those two ideas together in "forgive us AS we forgive others," it's a whole 'nother level of intensity, a 'nother level of commitment.

Now, I don't think God necessarily looks at the way we forgive others and gives us the same treatment. I mean, if he did that, we'd all be screwed. God does say that if we don't forgive our brother or whatever, he won't forgive us.

But then, the whole point of Grace is that it's NOT FAIR. God shows us merciful forgiveness all the time. Because Jesus took all our crap on himself, when God looks at us he just sees Jesus's perfection, not all our shortcomings.

God definitely forgives us in a way that we will never be able to forgive others. So I don't think that we're all going to Hell because we still haven't let go of Suzy stealing those crayons in kindergarten. {Although really, it might be just about time to let that one go.}

I think the point is to make us examine ourselves. The point is to give us something to strive for. We should live trying to forgive others in the way that God forgives us. We should live hoping that one day we'll be able to pray the Lord's Prayer with all sincerity. We should live so that the line "forgive us as we forgive others" doesn't scare the hell out of us.

Or wait. Maybe that's the idea XD

~Stephanie

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Awkward Moments...

The awkward moment when you ask people to ask questions and they don't ;P {Comment or email questions you've always wanted to ask girls/guys. Email: thereasonintherhyme@gmail.com}

The awkward moment when your teacher starts playing the tin whistle out her nose.

The awkward moment when your slacker friend encourages you to do schoolwork and saves your butt.

The awkward moment when an insult comes out better than you intended.

The awkward moment when you walk into the house bellowing Linkin Park and you have company.

The awkward moment when your sister starts eating bottom-of-the-bag Cheez-It crumbs with a gravy ladle.

The awkward moment when a ladybug flies into your bra when you're tutoring a seven-year-old.


The awkward moment when you have to explain an innuendo to your parents.

The awkward moment when you have to give your shirt to your younger sister because your boobs aren't big enough for it.

The awkward moment when you see a picture of the prom queen in the paper and go, "Hey, I know her! But I thought prom queens were always seniors..." before remembering that you ARE a senior.

~Stephanie

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"I have this word stuck in my head..."

Words That Have Been Stuck in My Head Recently

Subterfuge
Disparagingly
Recalcitrant
Venerated
Predicament
Entrepreneurship

~Stephanie

Monday, November 14, 2011

Book Review: Across the Universe


Title: Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Stars: 4
Less-Than-500-Word Review in Short: In an imaginative and original story, “Across the Universe” calls to the reader’s attention the very real issues of morality and choice we threaten to face today.
Back-of-the-Book: “Amy is a cryogenically frozen passenger aboard the spaceship Godspeed. She’s left her boyfriend, friends—and planet—to join her parents as a member of Project Arc Ship.
Amy and her parents believe they will wake on a new planet, Centauri-Earth, three hundred years in the future. But fifty years before Godspeed’s scheduled landing, cryo chamber 42 is mysteriously unplugged, and Amy is violently woken from her frozen slumber.
Someone tried to murder her.
Now, Amy is caught inside a tiny world where nothing makes sense. Godspeed’s 2,312 passengers have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader. Elder, Eldest’s rebellious teenaged heir, is both fascinated with Amy and eager to discover whether he has what it takes to lead.
Amy desperately wants to trust Elder. But should she put her faith in a boy who has never seen life outside the ship? All Amy knows is that she and Elder must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets before whoever woke her tries to kill her again.”

I Say: Despite the many futuristic books out there, much of “Across the Universe” is fresh. (Although it still reminds me of a less-catchy “Giver”-“Uglies series” hybrid.) There are several shocking twists, but Revis keeps a neat plotline.

I loved the beginning. Chapter one silenced my fears that the characters might be shallow. I loved Amy and I thought Revis was doing a great job conveying her personality and situation.

Then the book shifted to Elder’s point of view and into the present tense. The story is told from first person, alternating between Amy and Elder. After the first chapter it’s all in present tense. There’s nothing wrong with present tense; a lot of people find it easier to connect with. Personally I just don’t like it. I also didn’t “feel” Elder the way I had Amy, and the futuristic slang was silly and too frequent. However, the plot remained interesting and I was eager for the mystery the cover sleeve promised.

As the story continued, I liked it more, although Revis’s futuristic lingo never caught on. The story was charged with issues like the power of choice, what true leadership is, and whether we SHOULD do something just because we CAN. In a world where technology is rapidly rising, these are concerns we need to address.

The thing that bothered me was a small piece of the ending. It’s subtle but disturbing, and almost feels like Revis undoes everything she’s been pushing for the entire book.

I Liked:
- Moral issues
- Surprising twists
- Well-planned

I Didn’t Like:
- Forced slang
- Disconcerting ending

Audience: This book has distinctly PG-13 moments (sexuality). Reader discretion advised ;)

“Across the Universe” is definitely a book for all teenagers to read. It’s fascinating and really pushes the hard questions, ones we may have to face not too far into the Future.

BY THE WAY GUYS: For the Gender Specific Questions thing, you're actually going to have to ask questions :P I know it'll be great reading the answers, but first...you gotta give us something to go on.

GIRLS: Questions you've always had about guys.
GUYS: Questions you've always had about girls.

This may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, people.

~Stephanie

Sunday, November 13, 2011

{excerpt}

The clear ringing of the Furierite bell woke the kachinas early the next morning. Ember avoided eye contact with Flare and Sparkle as they all dressed in their tight kachina clothes. The others regarded them with cool expressions as well; the news of what they’d done had not gone over well with the other kachinas either. Loyalty was placed directly after phenomenal talent in the kachinas’ list of important qualities.

“I really am sorry, Ember,” Flare repeated, putting a hand on her sparktressling’s arm. Ember flinched automatically; she did not like to be touched even when she was on speaking terms with the toucher. Flare sighed.

“I swear, it’s only that we weren’t thinking,” she said. “You know we’d never do something like this on purpose.”

“Well, we did…” Sparkle said, making an exaggerated apologetic face. “And for that we are sorry,” she added quickly with a hopeful smile.

Ember shook her head with closed eyes. “I’ll have to speak to Star Dancer at breakfast,” she mumbled. “This cannot be allowed to go un…un….” She glanced at Firefly. “Un…?”

“Uncontested?” Firefly suggested. Ember gave a nod and shrug combination, her eyebrows knotted in desperate worry.

“Do you think Coal’s already heard?” she asked.

Firefly shrugged, but she was not a spy, and her face confirmed Ember’s own suspicions. Ember covered her face with the kachina top she was about to put on. She groaned. “I swear, Flare—”

“I doubt it will bother him,” Flare said dryly. “I’m really rather surprised he hasn’t started such a rumor himself.”

Ember dropped the top with an open-mouthed look of offended horror. She reached out and slapped Flare’s arm with a heated palm. Flare cringed, scowling.

“Ember, you know how he is sometimes—”

“Flare,” Firefly began, coming between her two younger sparktresslings. “I love you, but I must admit you have the worst discretion of anyone I know.”

“What’s ‘discretion’?” Sparkle asked. Ember glared. Firefly sighed.

The kachinas went to breakfast.


~Stephanie

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Gender Specific Questions

I was in a public school gym the other day, and there was a paper on the wall that had the grading criteria for gym class. Guys had to do 56 pushups to get an A; girls only had to do 26.

My friend Riley {read "this air-contaminating earth zit named"} absolutely WENT OFF about that, talking about how sexist it was and how if this is a REAL public school then they should be forced to be unbiased and fair to all.

Personally, I agree with having different standards. Girls and guys are built differently. You shouldn't force girls to do 56 pushups to get an A just like you shouldn't expect guys to be able to interpret ambiguous emotions. We're different. GET OVER IT, RILEY.

But there are a lot more differences between girls and guys than just body build. Our minds work with astonishing diversity. There are things that girls can't HELP seeing that CAN'T pick up on. It's very weird.

So that got me thinking: Wouldn't it be great to have the opportunity to ask all the questions you've ever wondered about the opposite sex?

So that's what I'm going to attempt to do.

GUYS {all, like, three of you that read this}: Ask the questions. The good, the bad, the stupid, the weird, the awkward. In a week, I'll publish a post that answers them to the best of my ability from a girl's POV.

GIRLS: Same thing. Ask the questions, but since I'm obviously not a guy, I've asked Jay {and possibly Sam and Aaron} if they'd help us out. They said yes, and we're in business.

So go for it. Ask away. This is {possibly} the only chance like this you will ever get. If you want your questions to be anonymous, send 'em to thereasonintherhyme@gmail.com.

Looking forward to this. I have some questions of my own XD

~Stephanie

Friday, November 11, 2011

~{11.11.11.}~

November 11, 2011 at 11:11:11pm

How freaking awesome is that? Awesome enough that I'm having a party for it XD Hopefully people will show up and it'll be fun. We'll see. I love having parties, but they kind of stress me out.

What if only the people I invited because I have to show up?
What if my friends get into arguments with each other?
What if no one dances?
What if everyone thinks it's lame?
What if it IS lame?

So much could go wrong. But if it goes right, it'll be awesome.

Guys. I'm such a basket case.

~Stephanie

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Forgiveness Part II

"Forgiveness" has been a big thing with me lately, if you couldn't tell just by the title.

And the weird thing is, until lately I've never thought about forgiveness much. Sure, we've studied it in youth group and on mission trips, but I never felt like it applied to me. I was actually annoyed that I never had anyone big to forgive. No one had ever done anything to me. I didn't HAVE any grudges to feel release from releasing. It was sort of annoying. I used to really get into emotional jazz like that.

And now, out of the blue, the concept of forgiveness is popping up everywhere. Last Sunday my pastor's sermon was actually ON Forgiveness. He mentioned that a lot of people have trouble accepting GOD'S forgiveness for what we've done. Like, "Well, if I were God, I sure wouldn't forgive me." And we try to earn God's grace by doing good things.

So, 1) It doesn't work that way.
2) It doesn't work that way.

God will always forgive us. There is nothing we can do that would make him turn his back on us. We screw up a lot, and the natural punishment for that is Death: eternal separation from God. But because Jesus just loves us SO MUCH, he died instead, so that we don't have to. So if we accept God's forgiveness, when he looks at us he doesn't see all the sh't we've done; he sees the perfection of JESUS CHRIST.

Which is mind-blowing.

But I'll buy it. I'll accept that. God will forgive me because Jesus took the blame on my behalf. Okay. I believe it. I'm forgiven.

But DO I FORGIVE MYSELF?

*blink*

I hadn't thought about it that much until Sunday, but I knew the answer right away:

No.

Mostly I don't have trouble forgiving myself. Mostly I forgive myself too easily. {"Oh, I just ruined your project with my orange juice? That sucks. Sorry." *moves on*} And I think that's bad too. But there's one thing in particular that I do not forgive myself for:

My masochistic porn...tendencies.

{I feel like I can finally stop saying "addiction..." And that feels really good. But it's still a monumental boulder of suck in the path of my mental happiness.}

I can't forgive that, and every time I get close to forgiveness, I feel awful. The voice inside my head goes "WHAT? YOU FORGIVE YOURSELF? Well damn, it's probably only a matter of time before you decide it's okay completely."

I feel like I can't forgive myself, because I haven't changed yet. If I didn't keep an ironclad grip on myself all the freaking time, I'd go back to it. There is no question about it. So why should I forgive myself for something that I'll just do again? It's like I haven't really repented. I'm not REALLY sorry or I would change.

And that's a whole 'nother can of worms right there. How am I supposed to change something that I can't even understand? How am I supposed to change the way my mind has worked for literally 17 years? {I remember being this way when I was 2 years old. I'm not kidding.}

*sigh*

But that's not what this is about. This is about forgiveness and my lack of it towards myself.

As I was sitting in the second row during all this, feeling real great and everything, my pastor says this:

"When we don't forgive ourselves, we're presuming to be better judges than God himself."

Oh. Oh my. I'd never thought of it that way before. If we refuse to forgive ourselves, we're not only throwing God's grace in his face, but we're also saying we know better than God. "Well, God, YOU might forgive me for this, but I know better than to do that."

So, I'm slowly coming to grips with the fact that not only do I need to forgive others, I need to forgive myself. I have absolutely NO IDEA how to go about doing that, but at least I'm now sure that it needs to happen.

What about you? You don't have to comment or anything if you don't want to, but think about it. Is there something you're holding against yourself?

~Stephanie

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

{the beginning}

The red Jeolotian sun sat astride a sapphire sky. The expanse of blue stretched its greedy fingers over the world, pulling up strong, gray mountains to meet it in the north and grassy golden fields in the west. To the east the horizon was smudged with a dark blot of massive trees; to the south the land ran flat until it intercepted the high blue dome.

In the midst of the mountains and the grass and the trees and the land crouched the great golden Palace of Furier, the Palace of Fire. The delicate, gilded walls whispered power and charged the air with mystery, demanding respect and inspiring fear. Its marble turrets grew up from the hard, dry ground, flowing up into golden domes topped with fiery flags. The Palace dwelt among the scattered cottages of Furier like a proud gryffin, as ready to pounce as fly.

Everything about the Palace was large and grand and commanding, designed to dwarf anything around it. It was all beauty and wealth and power, sure to diminish the confidence of even a king. Only the Fire Lord himself could manage the magnificence of the Palace.

And perhaps Ember.


~Stephanie

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Loyalty

This post is kind of a companion post to "Forgiveness," I guess.

I came into this idea thinking that I am not a loyal person. I mean, I'm independent, selfish, and have a fear of containment. Those three things would lead one to believe that I am not an especially loyal person.

But that would be strangely inaccurate. I mean, I'm sure I've been disloyal at one point or another, but when I search my mind...I think of all the times I've actually stuck by someone, even against my personal beliefs. I think of all the times when I ought to walk away from someone for my own good, but don't.

I think this may stem from my intense hatred of broken promises. I refuse, I REFUSE to be "that person." I know what broken promises do to me, and it goes against everything I hold dear to inflict that on someone else. It's dishonorable, and y'all KNOW how I feel about honor.

For example. I know this girl, and we're friends now, but in seventh grade we couldn't stand each other. {Of course, in seventh grade you can't stand anyone.} We just rubbed each other the wrong way, and completely ruined a Super Bowl party one year with a disagreement over Foozball. However, while on a church mission trip, some douchebag was being rude to her in front of my face, and I slammed him over the head with a book.

Did I suddenly decide she wasn't so bad after all? No. But she was associated with me in some form, and you never let outsiders mess with those you are associated with. {Unspoken southern rule, I think.}

Example 2: I used to be really close with this one guy; we told each other everything and identified each other as siblings. {Don't run for cover yet; this is NOT about the tragically lost unbiological brother I so love to rant about.} He made lots of promises, mostly that he'd always, ALWAYS be there for me and things of that ilk. I made the same promises. Well, things happen, as I'm sure you know, and all those promises went to absolute pot. He stopped talking to me, listening to me, helping me, essentially fell off the face of my earth.

But I cannot bring myself to break my end of the promises. Every time he needs something, I'm there. I text him occasionally to make sure he's okay. I ask about what's up in his life. He mostly tells me, but doesn't reciprocate much. If he called me at 2AM, I'd turn on my light, brew a pot of coffee and answer.

Am I any less bitter about his broken promises? No. I hold a grudge that I'm extremely ashamed of, but haven't quite shaken yet. However I will still be there for him as long as we live, because I promised to do so and I will not do to him what he has done to me.

Those two examples are very different. One of them shows me going against my personal vendetta to stand up for someone. The other shows me being a semi-doormat to someone who is not going to treat me with the same consideration. Both examples show loyalty, but different kinds. I think one of them might be dangerous, but both of them are sure confusing.

Why am I loyal? None of my other character traits match up with that, except for my inborn obsession with honor. I guess I could chalk it up to that, but is that the real reason? I could say I'm loyal because I want to do the right thing, but if that were true wouldn't I be a better person about it? Couldn't I shake the resentment that lounges around in my soul?

I mean, I can be the most loyal friend you have and still despise you, which is kind of completely TERRIFYING.

Maybe my loyalty is like a subconscious guilt-trip on the other person. Like "See how nice I'm being to you? DON'T YOU FEEL AWFUL?" Or maybe I'm just keeping score for Judgment Day and BOY, ARE YOU GONNA BURN NEXT TO ME.

I'm not sure. Either I'm passive-aggressively evil, or I'm actually just that nice.

*sigh* I'm confusing. God bless my future husband.

~Stephanie

Monday, November 7, 2011

Book Review: The Magicians

Title: The Magicians
Author: Lev Grossman
Stars: 4
Less-Than-500-Word Review in Short: Through Quentin, chase your childhood dream of magical fulfillment in this profound, nitty-gritty grown-up fantasy.

Back-of-the-Book: “Intellectually precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater escapes the boredom of his daily life by reading and re-reading a series of beloved fantasy novels set in an enchanted land called Fillory. Like everybody else, he assumes that magic isn’t real — until he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in Upstate New York.

After stumbling through a Brooklyn alley in winter, Quentin finds himself on the grounds of the idyllic Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy in late summer. There, after passing a gruesomely difficult entrance examination, he begins a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery, while also discovering the joys of college: friendship, love, sex and booze. But something is missing. Even though Quentin learns to cast spells and transform into animals, and gains power he never dreamed of, magic doesn’t bring him the happiness and adventure he thought it would.

After graduation, he and his friends embark on an aimless, hedonistic life in Manattan, struggling with the existential crises that plague pampered and idle young sorcerers. Until they make a stunning discovery that propels them on a remarkable jouney, one that promises to finally fulfill Quentin’s yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than Quentin could have imagined. His childhood dream is a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.”

I Say:
I had high hopes for this book. Halfway through, I resigned myself to the fact that it wasn’t gonna be what I anticipated. A hundred pages later, I realized it might be more. I expected “Magicians” to be predictable, fantastical and full of dark, romantic secrets.

It is none of the above. It’s “Harry Potter” meets “The Chronicles of Narnia” slapped with a big ol’ reality check. If magic were real, this is what it would be like. None of this wand action, none of this simple spells you can just spout off.

The Magicians is one of a kind. It’s bold. It’s uncomfortable. It’s mildly depressing. It’s brutally realistic. It’s the nitty-grittiest fantasy book I’ve ever read. I was completely blown away, shocked. Grossman takes the universal search for happiness and tells it like it is.

“Magicians” isn’t the story of Quentin Coldwater. It’s the story of each and every person who has wished for magic to be real. If you’re like me, you’ve, at some point, promised every greater being there is that if magic could JUST BE REAL, you’d be happy.

With “Magicians,” I vicariously achieved that wish and followed it all the freaking way to the end. And that pot of gold isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

I Liked:
- Moral
- Pacing {takes place over years}

I Didn’t Like:
- Language

Audience: DEFINITELY not a kids’ book. Honestly, it’s rated R. The language is terrible, there’s a TON of sexual material, and frankly, if you haven’t lived at least a little while, it will bore you to tears.

~Stephanie

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Keep Your Fork

Psycho Babbling Basher posted this little story a while, and I loved it. Thought I'd share with you guys.

There was a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. As she was getting her things in order, she contacted her pastor and had him come to her house to discuss her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in. The woman also requested to be buried with her favorite Bible. Everything was in order and the pastor was preparing to leave when the woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.

"There's one more thing," she said excitedly.

"What's that?" came the pastor's reply.

"This is very important," the woman continued. "I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand."

The pastor stood looking at the woman, not knowing quite what to say.

"That surprises you, doesn't it?" the woman asked.

"Well, to be honest, I'm puzzled by the request," said the pastor.

The woman explained. "In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, 'Keep your fork'.

"It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming...like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance! So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder 'What's with the fork?'. Then I want you to tell them: "Keep your fork....the best is yet to come."

The pastor's eyes welled up with joyful tears as he hugged the woman goodbye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death, but he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of Heaven than he did. She KNEW that something better was coming.

At the funeral people walked by the woman's casket and saw the pretty dress she was wearing and her favorite Bible and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the pastor heard the question "What's with the fork?" And over and over he smiled.

During his message, the pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. The pastor told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. He was right.

So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you that the best is yet to come!

~Stephanie

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dance

Youtube can be a horrible place, full of time-sucking stupidity and inappropriate, soul-damaging content.

But it can also be a great place to find dances.

About a month ago, while Listening to New Music, I got sidetracked and found this great user named katieshmatee, who uploads dances choreographed by Kate Jablonski {I assume it's the user herself}. The dances are all performed by kids in normal dance classes, albeit probably at a pretty prestigious studio.

The choreography is great, and I absolutely fell in LOVE with some of the dances. You definitely don't have to be a dancer to appreciate these pieces of art :D




Hope you like them as much as I do!

~Stephanie

Friday, November 4, 2011

Forgiveness

{This post had three titles. It was originally "Grudges," then changed to "Broken Promises" before staying on "Forgiveness."}

I always thought I was really good about not holding grudges. I forgive, even if I don't forget.

Then I got to thinking about it the other day, and I wonder why the hell I ever thought that. I do hold grudges. I'm terrible about it. What have I been thinking my whole life?

It came to my attention when talking to Sam. I told him about something he'd said about a year ago, and how much it hurt me and pissed me off. We talked about it and it was okay; I felt a ton better. It had been bothering me for, like, ten months. He said that whole concept was completely foreign to him. I didn't understand. What concept? Grudges, he said.

"It's not a grudge," I said. "It's just something that's been bothering me, but I didn't wanna bring it up because I didn't wanna seem petty."

He told me that was kind of the definition of a grudge.

While I'm not sure I agree with that, it's definitely at least a LITTLE true.

Then today I got to thinking about another friend, and how it's totally obvious he is never going to follow through with something he promised to do. And that bothers me a LOT. Honestly, the promise he made doesn't matter as much to me anymore, and it probably wouldn't really work out if he kept it. But for some reason, it still makes me really angry that he's going to break it.

I recently read my Fire Fairy stories, and it reminded me of how another girl friend acted years ago. And I got mad about it again. I'd probably bring it up to her if we talked.

Armed with all these and several other instances of grudgery, I began to do my favorite thing: analyze. Are there specific things that bother me more than others? What about them bothers me? Are there patterns to my grudges?

One factor was immediately apparent: broken promises. Broken promises hurt me and make me angrier than almost any other personal offense. If you insult me, I might be mad, but I'll get over it. However if you swear on your guinea pig's grave that you'll always be there for me and then aren't, I will likely never view you the same way again. Ever.

It almost doesn't matter what the promise is. Promises to read a book, promises to visit me, promises to call me, promises to love me, promises to research for a debate, promises to ask your parents something...

Now, not all of those are grudge-worthy, but more of them are than is probably healthy.

Why do broken promises bother me so much? For one thing, they always make me feel like a fool. Like a fool for trusting you in the first place, like a fool for wanting it to be true. They inhibit my ability to trust you in the future, which is inconvenient at best, and relationship-hindering at worst.

As Christians, we're called to forgive. I've always struggled over what that actually means/entails. I'm pretty sure forgetting isn't required, so what is real forgiveness? I think it means that you no longer feel that the person owes you, and you have given up the desire to judge them.

So have I done that with all those people? No, not all of them. I'm not even sure how to go about it. Even if I told them that I'm upset, I don't think we'd get anywhere. They would make useless excuses and pathetic apologies and I would end up staying angry.

But in the end, I guess forgiveness isn't about the other person at all. Forgiveness takes place in your own heart, in your own mind. Only you can forgive someone, and only you can know if you really have.

Which kind of sucks, because that means at this point the only person I can blame is myself XD I hate it when I write myself into a corner like this...

Do you hold grudges? What is especially difficult for you to forgive?

~Stephanie