Author Archives: Emma

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Homeschooling and Fresh Starts

Hello everyone!  I know, long time no post.  I went on a two week RV trip that was AWESOME (more info on that here) and have recently just been getting ready for the new school year.  There are a lot of changes happening in my life this school year, the biggest of which being that I am starting high school and, for the first time ever, being homeschooled.  Homeschooling is something a lot of people don’t know very much about, and when I tell people that homeschooling is my plan for high school, I usually get one of three responses:

  1. The person gets very excited because they or someone they know has had experience with homeschooling and they absolutely love it.  They tell you that it is such an adventure and you are going to have an amazing year.  Then they give you a bunch of co-op and online course recommendations and maybe even some free textbooks.
  2. The person says, “Wow!  That’s really cool!”, and you can tell that they are honestly being sincere.  They admit to not knowing much about homeschooling, but they are interested in learning more.  “So does that mean you get to do school in your pajamas?!?” Yep, that’s right my friend.
  3. This is the person who has untrue stereotypes about homeschoolers tattooed in their brain.  They say, “Oh!” and fake smile when you tell them your high school plans, but you know they are really thinking, “This girl is going to turn into an unsocial nerd who sits around at home with no concept of the real world!!”  Ok fine maybe it’s not that extreme, but it’s obvious they think it’s weird.  They might even try and “politely” voice their opinions on homeschooling.

I for one am very excited about starting homeschooling and getting a fresh start this school year.  I am going to continue blogging, but I am not going to have a set posting schedule.  The content on my blog this year might be a little different, because I really want to just be myself and share my opinions and beliefs on things.  I’m going to post when I feel inspired to do so and when I feel passionately about something, not because I feel like I have to.  Yes, there will probably still be book reviews and school advice, but I also want to start posting about what I think of homeschooling and my thoughts and beliefs about faith.  Bear in mind that my thoughts on things might be different from some of yours.  They might be exactly the same as yours.  That’s OK.  One of my pet peeves is when people share their opinion and act like they are right and everyone who doesn’t think the same as them are wrong.  That is not what I am here to do.  I am here to tell you guys what I believe so you can get to know me better and maybe think about things in a way you never have before.  I want to encourage others with Bible verses and encourage you in your faith.  So, there you have it.  My little spiel is now over.  **takes a bow**

If you know someone who would enjoy this blog, please please please let them know about it!  I love getting new readers!

Comment below topics or post ideas you want to see me write about!  Until next time, Au revoir.

YOUTUBE CHANNEL AND TRIP TO MAINE

Hey everyone!  I hope you all have read my latest book review on The Calling by Rachelle Dekker!  I am posting again today with a little announcement; Tomorrow, my family and I are leaving on a two week east coast RV trip all the way to Acadia National Park in Maine.  A lot of people have asked me and my family to send them videos of our trip experiences, and with this in mind I decided to create a YouTube channel where I can post vlogs (video blogs) of our trip!  I am so excited to be able to share our trip with all of you!  Click on the link below to watch my introduction video.  Please, please, please make sure to subscribe to my new YouTube channel to follow our trip!  To be able to subscribe, click on the YouTube icon at the bottom of the video, and then click the red subscribe button once you are on the YouTube website.  Enjoy!

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Book Review: The Calling by Rachelle Dekker

Hello!  Welcome to another book review!  The Calling by Rachelle Dekker is the second book in the Seer Series, the first of which, The Choosing, I reviewed a few weeks ago (find that review here).  You probably haven’t read the first book yet since my review about it was only posted a few weeks ago, so I’ll make sure not to totally give away how it ends.  Enjoy!

The Calling by Rachelle Dekker:

This book follows the story of Remko Brant, a character from the first book and main character of The Calling.  Remko has fled the city to escape the corrupted government, known as the Authority, and has chosen to follow Aaron.  Aaron is a man who contradicts the Authority by telling people to let go of their fear and live in peace, knowing that they are loved.  The group of people who have chosen to follow him and his ideas are called The Seers, and Remko is the unofficial leader of the group.  He leads the other Seers on missions into the city, where they try to rescue prisoners that the Authority have locked up and recruit more people to join the Seers.  But, as these galavants into the city become increasingly risky, Remko questions whether they are any good, or if The Seers should just stop fighting.  Is Aaron telling the truth?  If so, are his words worth all the Seers who have been caught or killed?  Who can be trusted?

My thoughts:

As I mentioned in my review of The Choosing, these books are dystopian novels.  The Calling is a typical sequel to any dystopian series; in the first book the characters realize the problem and rebel against it, and the second book usually consists of the continued rebellion, fighting, some betrayal, and almost victory.  This pretty much sums up what happens in The Choosing and The Calling.  The plot line is basically the same as any other book of this genre, but that Biblical twist I mentioned in my first review is present in book two as well.  Characters struggle internally with what they believe to be true and have a hard time “letting go of their fear” as Aaron instructs them to do.  This Biblical allusion aligns with what the Bible says in Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” Though this book followed closely to a classic dystopian story, it was nice to have a new element to keep it fresh.

Like the first book, The Calling is written in a few different perspectives- mostly from the perspective of Remko, but also from the perspectives of Carrington Hale (the main character in The Choosing) and Damien Gold, the new Authority president.  There was some mystery in this book that kept me hooked on the story, as well as some enjoyable action scenes.

I would give this book 3 and a half out of five stars.  Out of the two books in this series, I definitely liked the first book better.  In The Choosing, there was a lot more variation to the events of the story, whereas with The Calling it seemed like the characters kept doing the same thing over and over again.  There was plenty of action, but it was just repeated a lot.  As for things to be aware of while reading this book, the only comment I would make is that there is some violence, the extent of which being description of dead bodies and fights involving gunshot wounds.

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Book Review: The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker

Hello everybody!  I hope you are having a wonderful summer, and Happy Fourth of July to all of you.  One thing that I like to do during summer when I don’t have any school or homework is read a lot of books.  I recently found a new series of books at the library that I had never heard of before.  Book one, The Choosing, and book two, The Calling, by Rachelle Dekker.  I decided to give them a try and tell you guys what I thought about them.  After reading through my past book review, I realized that I outlined the entire story without leaving anything out for you guys to read for yourselves.  So, my reviews are going to be a little different now, more reviewing and less summarizing (also, I started a summary of this book and it got to be three notebook pages long and I hadn’t finished it yet…….).  So, without further ado, let’s get on into it!

The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker:

This book is about a girl named Carrington Hale who lives in a world about 250 years from now, where the way of life is completely different from today.  The government consists of The Authority, a group of men who pretty much dictate everything.  They institute The Choosing ceremony, where every girl who is 16 goes to be chosen by a man for his wife.  If a girl does not get chosen, she becomes a Lint, someone who spends the rest of her life working, and is considered worthless.  This is what happens to Carrington.  She is devastated, and basically disowned by her family and the community.  She goes to work as a Lint, but soon discovers a man named Aaron who tells her that life could be different, she is not worthless, and her Father loves her.  Carrington wonders, could this be true?  Should she follow this radical man and go against the only values she has ever known?  When she realizes the corruption of the Authority and their twisted ways, can she find the light amidst all the darkness?

My thoughts:

This is a dystopian novel, but it has a surprising Biblical twist.  The character of Aaron that I mentioned above is a Jesus figure, a man who comes along with radical beliefs and is happy to share them with anyone who wants a new way of life.  The Authority hates Aaron, and those who follow him are persecuted, almost always killed.  Characters struggle to know if they should follow Aaron and risk their lives, or continue living under The Authority’s rule where everything seems to be safe.  I really liked the addition of this Biblical twist because it made the book less of the typical and generic dystopian novel and more of an interesting read.

The Choosing is written from multiple perspectives, the majority of the book being from Carrington’s perspective, but also from the perspective of the antagonist (who will remain unnamed until you read the book, ha ha) and Remko, an Authority security guard.  I liked reading each character’s perspective and getting to know more than one character more deeply by reading about their emotions and how they personally deal with circumstances.

Overall I think I would give this book four out of five stars.  This was one of those books where it took me a little while to get into it, but when I did, I enjoyed it.  There is nothing whatsoever that I would call inappropriate in this book.  Just as a heads up, there is a little bit of violence (description of dead bodies, some description of murder, and mild description of a girl being tortured), but I think anyone in middle school or above should have no trouble reading it at all.  For those who have read The Hunger Games or Divergent, this is lighter violence than either of those.

Tell me what you think in the comments!  Are you going to read this book?  In a few days I will be posting a review on the sequel to The Choosing, The Calling, so stay tuned for that!

 

20 Facts About Me

Hey everyone!  The school year is over (at least for me….. high school!  Yay!), and that means my Do Hard Things project is over!(read more about that here.)  For those who didn’t know, I created this blog for a two year school project, and since the project is now over………………………………I’m going to continue writing!                                                                                                               *cues loud and energetic cheering*                                                                                                                                                 I want to kick off summer with a post that is a little more laid back than usual- 20 Facts About Me, so all of y’all can get to know me a little better.  Here we go.

1.  Were you named after anyone?                                                                                                                  No.  I do have an ancestor on my mom’s side named Emma, but the reason I was named Emma was just because my parents liked the name.

2.  Do you like your handwriting?                                                                                                                     Ummm….I guess.  It’s not terrible.

3. What is your favorite lunch meat?                                                                                                            Turkey.

4.  Do you still have your tonsils?                                                                                                            Yes.

5.  Would you bungee jump?                                                                                                                     Not for fun, but if I would win a million dollars to do it then of course.

6.  What is your favorite ice cream flavor?                                                                                                  MINT OREO

7.  Red or Pink?                                                                                                                                            Pink, because why not.

8.  What was the last thing you ate?                                                                                                      Hummus.

9.  If you were a crayon, what color would you be?                                                                                    Either a mint green or a baby blue.

10.  Mountain hideaway or beach house?                                                                                            Beach house, for sure.

11.  Hair color?                                                                                                                                              Dark brown.

12.  Last movie you watched?                                                                                                                           School Of Rock.

13.  What color shirt are you wearing?                                                                                                It’s like grayish-blackish.

14.  Favorite dessert?                                                                                                                                           Usually anything with chocolate, but I do love me my fruit pies too.

15.  What book are you reading right now?                                                                                                     The Calling by Rachelle Dekker.  It is the second book in the series- should I do a review about it?

16.  What’s your favorite vegetable?                                                                                                       Green beans.

17.  What is your middle name?                                                                                                               Grace.

18.  Do you have any pets?                                                                                                                    Sadly not at the moment.

19.  Where were you three hours ago?                                                                                                        The pool.

                                                                                                        

20.  What are your hobbies?                                                                                                              Dancing, reading, blogging……..

Thanks for reading!  Comment below some of your answers to the questions above, and any post ideas you want to see me write!

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Too Much Togetherness

NOTE: If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog to receive an email every time I post something new!  

Hey everyone!  Summer is approaching quickly, and with summer comes a lot of time at home with your family.  You can do a lot of fun things with your family, but sometimes after spending so much time together things can get a little out of hand.  During the year when you go to school every day, you aren’t with your family 24/7.  When summer comes around, even if you aren’t with them every second of every day, you still spend a lot more time with them.  Being together so much can cause siblings to get on your nerves, arguing, and other ways of provoking and annoying.  When this happens, how can you honor God with your actions?  Here are some Bible verses to read for when you are fed up and need a breather:

Exodus 20:12                                                                                                                                                           “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land of the Lord.”                                              In the summer months you are spending more time with your parents as well as your siblings.  As you can tell by this verse, parental respect is very important to God!  We are all sinful, and we all sometimes get into arguments with our parents.  The next time this happens to you, remember this verse and be respectful, even if you are disagreeing with your parents.

Romans 12:5                                                                                                                                                           “So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.”                        When interacting with your family, remember that all of them are part of the body of Christ, all made in God’s image and loved by Him.  Treat them how God would love to see someone treat one of His children.

1 Corinthians 13:7                                                                                                                                                “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”                              We all love our families, and even though we love them we still sin by being rude, unkind, or annoying towards other family members.  In this verse it says that love endures all things.  Maybe your little brother is annoying you by kicking the back of your seat in the car, or running around the house yelling.  Maybe your older sister is making fun of you or bossing you around.  Instead of getting mad an yelling or telling your parents about it, ask them kindly to stop, and pray and ask God to give you patience and respect.

I hope these verses encouraged you!  Any time you get into an argument with a family member, look back at these verses and handle it respectfully.

What are you looking forward to this summer?  Comment below!

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How To Be Well Prepared For Tests

Hey guys!  I thought I would do another school related post today, since I haven’t done one in a while.  Taking tests at school is something we all have to do, whether we like it or not.  I don’t know about you, but a lot of the time I want to get good grades on my tests, but I don’t want to have to do extra work to prepare for them.  Sound familiar?  Unfortunately, we can’t just magically ace all our tests (wouldn’t that be amazing), we have to be confident in the material and show that we’ve learned something.  But what if you’re nervous that there will be something on the test you aren’t prepared for?  You want to study, but you don’t know where to start?  Here are some ideas to get you going:

1.  Ask Questions.                                                                                                                                                    If you are unsure how to do that math problem, or you don’t know what phenotype means in science class (a personal question I have), your teacher is there for you to ask them questions.  They won’t think you’re dumb if you ask them something, they will only think better of you for having the integrity and courage to do so.  If you don’t feel comfortable asking in front of the whole class, ask the teacher personally before you leave.  Chances are you won’t do well on the test if you have unanswered questions beforehand.

2.  Do The Homework.                                                                                                                                          This one seems pretty obvious and straightforward, but its the pure truth: if you don’t do the homework the teacher gives you, how will you know everything you need to know?  Teachers do not give homework to torture the students- it is a way for you to learn more and get more practice doing the material.

3.  Repetition Is A Good Way To Stick Things In Your Brain.                                                                       Flashcards or something of the sort are very helpful for me when it comes to tests.  When I need to know vocabulary words, I make digital flashcards on Quizlet, a free app that is SO helpful for studying.  You can take mini tests, match the word and definition in a matching game, or use the flashcards they make for you.  Also having someone like your mom or dad quiz you is great practice.

4.  Don’t Procrastinate Or Cram Five Minutes Before Class.                                                                       I have done this before, and believe me, you may remember a few of the things you crammed in your brain two minutes prior to the test, but being well prepared the night before will produce much better results.  Don’t wait until the day of the test to go over the review or ask others for their notes.  Study the night before, get some good sleep, and be ready and prepared when you arrive at school.

I hope these tips can be helpful for you in the future.  Comment below some of your strategies for doing your best on tests!

 

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A Note On Changing The World

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Hello readers.  If you didn’t know already, I started this blog for a school project.  The point of the project was to go outside of your comfort zone and go against the stereotypical expectations adults have for teenagers.  I decided to start a blog because, while it was a whole new experience, it was also manageable.  I have learned so many things through this project; How to set up a blog, more ways to use the internet, how hard it is sometimes to come up with things to write about.  I have loved writing, but when I first started this project I had a much bigger mountain I thought I could climb.

My original idea was to have this blog, write on it, and eventually sell some handmade school supplies off of this blog to raise money for kids in Africa who weren’t getting a good school education.  Looking back I have no idea what I was thinking.  I still love the idea, but that whole project is pretty much the equivalent of two projects.  I soon saw that I was not going to be able to handle having a business on the internet, so I thought, “Ok, maybe I can still do something to serve the kids in Africa, and then write about my experiences on my blog.”  I then contacted some leaders at my church about anything I could do to serve.  Long story short they emailed me back with some great ideas, but the ideas were much bigger picture ideas that could not be completed in the amount of time I had to complete my project.

So, I came up with Plan C, my final project that I have successfully completed: I met with a children’s ministry leader at my church, who gave me a way to serve in children’s ministry.  Since Easter was coming up, my church did an Easter egg hunt for the kids.  They needed me to package invitations with some goodies for families to give friends, inviting them to the egg hunt.  This was a very manageable yet still important way for me to be able to serve God in a hands on way.

Let me tell you something.  This project was meant to be hard.  I had an idea for a hard project, but guess what?  It was TOO HARD.  So, I set a more achievable goal for myself and completed it.  Now, my original goal might be one that someone else is able to accomplish, and that’s ok.  You see, that’s the thing with changing the world.  God has given each one of us certain abilities and passions that we can use to serve Him.  The phrase “CHANGING THE WORLD” may seem big and scary, but it can be misleading.  God doesn’t want you yourself to convert everyone in the world to Christianity or stop child hunger forever, because He knows that one human is not capable of that.  He wants you to use the gifts He has given you to fulfill the plans He has already set for you.

I want to encourage you with this:  There are so many ways you can serve God by using your gifts.  For me that is posting on my blog and doing small tasks to help children’s ministry.  It will be different for every person, because God gave each one of us unique gifts.  A simple way to start is to contact someone at your church with questions and ideas for ways you can serve.  It does not need to be a big thing, because sometimes small things are the most important.  You may not feel like you are “changing the world”, but you can know that God can use you to do amazing things even if they seem small.

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Sharing Easter Joy

NOTE:  Read my Easter post from last year here.  If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog to receive email updates whenever I post something new!

Hey everyone!  I’m on spring break right now, and for the first time this year it’s actually starting to feel like spring!  Isn’t it funny how the weather affects your mood?  Sometimes when it’s cold and rainy outside I actually feel dreary, dismal, and tired.  When it is warm and sunny outside (but not too hot!), like today, I feel joyful and happy.  Isn’t spring a fitting time for Easter?

When we celebrate Easter we are celebrating and remembering the day when Jesus rose from the dead.  We celebrate His power and His willingness to give His own life because He loves us so much that He wants us to be with Him eternally in heaven.  It’s a joyful celebration.  It makes us feel happy and joyful to know that Jesus loves us so much.  That got me thinking: Wouldn’t it be even more joyful if everyone around us knew the love of Jesus?

At my youth group we have recently started doing this really cool thing called PRAY-4-1.  You pick one person in your life who doesn’t know Jesus and you focus on praying for them.  I find this a very helpful way to start praying.  A lot of the time when I’m praying, I want to pray for others, but I don’t know what to say or where to start.  PRAY-4-1 is a great way to begin!  When you have picked your one person, pray that God would reveal Himself to that person and change their heart.  What better time to pray for them than Easter time?  You can ask God to fill them with the joy of Jesus’ resurrection.

Even though Easter has passed already, the joy of Easter has not.  It’s not like Jesus rose from the dead, everyone was amazed, and then the next day they acted like it never happened.  The miracle of Christ’s resurrection changed the hearts of everyone present for the rest of their lives.  It’s the same with us today!  When you pray for your person, ask God to change their heart forever with the good news of Jesus, and his eternal joy and love.

 

Psssst! Did you like this post?  Comment or email me with post ideas you want to see in the future!  Give me your input on what to write about next!

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Movie Summary and Review: God’s Not Dead

Hi everyone!  This review has some spoilers that you might want to skip if you are interested in watching this movie.  They are clearly marked, so you can just skip down to where it says the spoilers have stopped.  Enjoy!

Josh Wheaton is excited to start his freshmen year at college.  For one of his electives, he decides to take philosophy, and on his first day of taking the class, his professor (Professor Radisson) asks the entire class to write three simple words on a piece of paper: God Is Dead.  Josh is taken aback by this, for he is a strong Christian.  Professor Radisson comes around to collect the papers, and Josh does not give him one.  “I can’t,” he says, “I’m a Christian.”  Professor Radisson is obviously very against Christianity, and this act of defiance on Josh’s part angers him.  He tells Josh that if he is so sure there is a God, Josh must defend his position successfully, or lose 30% of his final grade.  Josh accepts, even though he is greatly troubled by his professors adamant atheism.  He talks to Pastor Dave about this, and Pastor Dave encourages him with a few Bible verses.

Josh starts presenting about God at the end of every philosophy class, often followed by snide and snarky comments from Professor Radisson, even leading to threats.  Martin Yin, a Chinese exchange student in Josh’s class, is awestruck at Josh’s courage to defend his faith and immediately questions him about Christianity.  He develops a strong interest in becoming a Christian and excitedly calls his father to share his discovery with him.  Mina, Professor Radisson’s girlfriend, is fed up with his passionate dislike of Christianity.  Being a Christian herself, she breaks up with him.

**SPOILERS**                                                                                                                                                           Mina’s unexpected breakup greatly upsets Radisson, and at his next philosophy class, he gets into a heated argument with Josh.  Josh angrily asks him why he hates God, and Radisson reveals that his mother, who was a Christian, died when he was 12 years old.  He can’t understand how a loving God would take someone with so much faith away from this life.  He therefore hates God.  Mina goes to a Newsboys concert that Josh and Martin are also attending.  While she is at the concert, Radisson confusedly takes a walk.  He seems to be wrestling internally with faith and atheism.  As he is crossing the street, a speeding car comes out of nowhere and hits him.  Pastor Dave comes rushing over from his car that was at the same intersection of the accident.  He quickly determines that Radisson’s ribs are crushed and he won’t live, but he asks Radisson if he is a Christian.  Radisson says he’s terrified, that it’s not time for him to die yet.  He wants to repent and become a Christian before he dies.  Pastor Dave tells him that he can do that right now.  Right before he dies, Professor Radisson gives his life to Jesus Christ.  Josh Wheaton’s defense that there is a God was not in vain.  He influenced many in his class, including Professor Radisson. **END SPOILERS**

I highly recommend watching this movie.  The above summary does not include everything that happens, because there are a number of extra side stories in the movie that were not vital to the overall plot.  Although in my opinion there were a few parts that were a little unrealistic, it does a great job of conveying how much God can change someone’s life.  It is true that sometimes our faith will be tested and people will want to know why we believe in Jesus.  It might not be so stark as is represented in this movie, but it will happen, and we need to be able to stand up for our faith and stick by what we know is true.