Wednesday, May 30, 2012

{excuse me while I rant/FREAK OUT about fruits basket}

These are the exact thoughts that went through my mind when I finished episode 15(A New School Term) of Fruits Basket:
http://download.minitokyo.net/Akito.Sohma.287669.jpg
"AHHHHHH AKITO HE"S SO DARN CREEPY AHH HOW DID HE GET TO BE HEAD OF THE FAMILY IF HE'S SO ALL-LOVING FREAKKYYY. HE IS THE WEIRDEST CREEPIESST VILLIAN I HAVE EXPERIENCED IN THE RECENT FUTURE. HIS ZODIAC ANIMAL WOULD PROBABLY BE A RAVEN OR LIZARD(or snake if it weren't already taken)."

Like I already know the role he plays in the zodiac(thanks Youtube spoilers) but SERIOUSLY! He makes my skin CRAWL. All the prior mentions/flashbacks of Akito have been leading up to this episode. I was going to mention that Akito is one of the most intriguing antagonists(if he even is one) that I've ever seen.

The flashbacks show that Akito is very young, only a bit older than Yuki. You can even hear his puny lil voice. But it only sunk in this episode that Akito is actually that young. Like, I thought he was a really old man using sorcery or something to make himself look young. When he's actually that young.  He was still a kid when he did all those terrible things.

Darn two-dimensional anime episode making me tear up.

Like he's so sick and freaky. He reminds me a lot of Ender's Game's Peter Wiggin. Except even more twisted and mysterious, since Peter was big and violent, and Akito's source of power and authority isn't obvious.

He's like the poster child for "101 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Give Your Kids Everything They Want". Just think about it. EVERYONE IN HIS ENTIRE LIFE/FAMILY HAS DONE EXACTLY WHAT HE SAID AND GIVEN HIM EXACTLY WHAT HE WANTED SINCE THE DAY HE WAS BORN.
This is kind of his theme song...I really like it, and I learned to play it on the piano. It's so evilll...Before the episode, I was like....."This song reminds me of falling snow." and now I"m like "IT REMINDS ME OF HIS CREEPY LIZARD EYES OH GOSH".

 Like he's so messed up it's horrifying. I sure hope he gets a satisfyingly squishy/crunchy comeuppance. But considering the tagline for the story is "A Fairy Tale For the Rejected" I don't think so.

It's amazing the power this show has through all it's sickeningly cheesy parts. One Youtube commenter put it like this "One minute you're laughing your head off, the next you're crying buckets." Who thought a story about people who change into animals could be so profound...

Maybe I should do short reviews of each episode as I watch them.

Let's see...I've loved most of the episodes so far. I don't really care about "Here Comes Kagura", "Everybody Loves Chocolate", or "White Day". They all have their funny parts, and a bunch of them have really cheesy "lessons"/aka parts where the characters stare at each other while the theme music plays in the background.

"Don't Cry, For the Snow Will Surely Melt" was as predicted from the title, heartbreaking. It's really your first glimpse into Akito's pathetic/sick/nasty existence.

It's really hard to pick a favorite from the others...I didn't like "Invincible Friendship" that much but it was SO HILARIOUS SHIGURE OMW.  The other funny one was "A Solitary New Year". The first part of it consists of Shigure running away from his editor XD.

The two I watched today were:

Episode 13: "A New School Term Starts". Both the one of the funniest and the saddest I've seen so far.  A bazillion stars. This is the first episode that moved me all that much. And I'm proud to be the same zodiac as Hatsuharu. The timing for the Akito part, the music, everything...it was amazing.

Episode 14: "The Adult's Episode - Ayame's a Messed Up Snake!"-Holy crap. The title speaks for itself. I was looking forward to Ayame so much....and seriously, holy crap.

I was choke-laughing-DYING throughout most of it. Ayame is SUCH a butt trumpet. Poor Yuki.



This is a new obsession of mine, but I still need a wholesome book obsession!
And for those of you shaking your heads at me...
1. Don't knock it til you try it.
2. HEY. It could be worse. I could be a Brony.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Anime, Fruits Basket, and Crushes on Fictional Characters

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/fruitsbasket.jpg
from left to right: Kyo, Shigure(top), Tohru(holding cat), and Yuki.

I recently started watching my first anime EVER, Fruits Basket(フルーツバスケット Furūtsu Basuketto?).

Here is the summary:

 After the death of her mother, young Tohru Honda has been secretly living on her own in a tent. Her life changes forever when she stumbles upon the secret of the Sohma family, whose land she has been living on. They are afflicted by a Hereditary Curse that changes some members of the family into animals of the Eastern Zodiac when they are hugged by someone of the opposite sex that is not also a Zodiac member.

Now living with three of the Sohma family, every day is an adventure for sweet Tohru, as she gets to know all of the very different family members better, in both common and bizarre situations. But, the Sohma family curse is certainly no laughing matter...it also holds horrible cruelty and heartbreak. Despite this, the members of the Sohma family find a new peace thanks to the presence of Tohru.Hailed as one of the best shojo series out there, during its five years in-print (2004-2009) it was the best-selling shojo manga series in America, and often the second best-selling manga series period.


 Previously, I purposefully stayed away from anime and manga, but since many of my friends were into it, I picked up a few things. The difference between anime and manga is anime=TV shows and movies and manga=graphic novels. There are different genres of anime and manga, including shojo(which includes Fruits Basket and Sailor Moon, and marketed to teen girls) and shonen(marketed to teen boys). 

Technically this wasn't my first anime or manga EVER, as I have watched Hayao Miyazaki's "adaption" of Howl's Moving Castle and LOVED it, and read the manga adaptions of the Maximum Ride novels. But since those were both adaptions of a Western novel I don't think they really counted.

~~~~

There are several reasons which I have stayed clear of manga/anime until now.

The first is that I just never had any interest in graphic novels/TV shows in general, preferring to read books with things like fonts and plots and character development and things left to the imagination. This is still true, as Fruits Basket has joined Dance Moms and The Clone Wars as the only shows I watch. And I have still never read any graphic novel that was not an adaption of a real novel.

The second is that shojo and other manga and anime, usually as a rule, incorporates many supernatural and paranormal elements, such as witchcraft, ghosts, demons, etc. Fruits Basket has had an extremely light dose of it so far, but still. I am not afraid of those things, because I subscribe to a greater power, but no need to invite it in any closer than it already is, y'know?

The third reason is this. While I don't doubt the shojo Japanese style as a worthwhile art form, I have never really felt comfortable with the way it chases perfection and ideal of the human body. Almost every person drawn in that style is slender, flawless, and unrealistically gorgeous. The guys are beautiful(and somwhat weirdly feminine) in a way that very few real guys have any chance of measuring up to. This isn't a really concrete reason to dislike something, but it was still enough. 

~~~~
http://images.wikia.com/fruits-basket/images/5/5b/Ayame_Sohma.jpg 
Ayame Sohma. And yes, he's a guy. See what I mean?

Now on to Fruits Basket.

I adore this anime series. It is blindingly humorous, sweet, fluffy, and addicting. It is easy to see why it has become such a seller.  It is rather hard to describe, but I think any girl would be interested in it even if she wasn't interested in manga/anime or the zodiac.

I have to give credit to TLF's amazing DuchessSatineKenobi for pushing it on to me. XD I was interested because I was looking up music videos for Chicago's  "When You're Good To Mama" because my dance studio's performing company had an adorable dance to it. And there was a fan video of Ayame Sohma to that song. I saw the description and I was like "Fruits Basket? Isn't that the anime Satine keeps talking about?" There was some funny stuff in that video, so I checked it out. And never looked back :P

And in case you were wondering, I go for the English dub all the way. No subtitles for me!

The characters are all extremely lovable, and there's something just inherently cool about the Sohmas. There are only a couple introduced every episode, and since they're so queer in contrast to ordinary people, they just have that "superhuman cool" allure. When Momiji blinked those adorable brown eyes and said "I'm Momiji Sohma. What's the matter, Yuki, you look like a girl!" I'm sure everybody gave their computers high fives and was like "heck yeah" XD

The characters and situations are like a warm, happy dream or memory, swirling their way up from my gut and taking up residence in my heart, where I smile just at remembering.  And there are some genuinely funny parts at least one in every episode. I look forward to every episode. Often, watching and then reminiscing about episodes is the highlight of my day.

I do have to say some things about it though XD.

The characters, for the most part, are completely flawless. And by that, I mean there isn't anything wrong with them. Which means there IS something wrong with them! Perfect characters are fun,  but they're not realistic! I love the characters, but like, they're perfect! Which is weird!

...
This is confusing, so I'll detail it. The main character, Tohru, is cheerful, hardworking, optimistic, patient, and wise. No faults whatsoever(except an inability to stand up for herself, which isn't really a fault because it's an extreme version of selflessness.)

The second main character, Yuki, is reserved, strong n' silent, a great martial artist, quiet, kind, and polite. His only fault(not really a fault, just a device to make the audience love him more) is his shyness. And his inability to get along with Kyo.

Kyo is the only faulty MC in Fruits Basket, and he's so obviously faulty it's like the producers put him there so no one could accuse them of having cliched characters("Look! Our characters are NOT all perfect! Look at Kyo! It's like we removed the faults from all the other characters and stuffed them into Kyo!")
He has, to put it lightly , anger management and jealousy issues and a major lack of filter between brain and mouth.

Like I said earlier, a lot of the love for the characters comes from their adorable gorgeous appearances. If the characters were drawn plainly or realistically, people wouldn't love them half as much. I guess that's normal in the manga/anime world. It wouldn't count for a bucket of  squid in the book world, just sayin,


http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/2/21294/560798-momijisohma_large.jpg
 Momiji Sohma

Another issue is the plotting. Or lack thereof. Fruits Basket reminds me a lot of fanfiction. In which not a lot happens, but the plots are contrived and manipulated to put characters in either deliciously awkward or what if? situations. I've heard the plot picks up after a while, but seriously. 

Put Yuki in a dress? Check.
Have Momiji and Hatori come and freak out Yuki &Co in front of the whole school? Check.
Have an episode where Tohru's normal friends come visit the Sohma house and accidentally transform them a crap ton of times and they have to try and hide it? (For the record, this episode contains two of the funniest Shigure scenes EVER).

Check.

I mean, they're funny and entertaining fluff. Like cotton candy and Maximum Ride. There's nothing harmful about them and there is pro-social content(Girls could all take a lesson from the optimistic, patient, loving, compassionate, and hard-working Tohru, for example.) They do have technical "lessons" for each episode, but they're usually at Level 1 in Life Lessons( ie. "Friendship is good!" "People do have good qualities!" "Envy is bad!") I think(or hope) that we're all past the point when we have to learn those things.

~~~~~~

And now, a little something on fictional crushes.

http://img1.ak.crunchyroll.com/i/spire2/05282008/8/a/6/4/8a6427e55efd50_full.jpg






http://images.wikia.com/fruitsbasket/images/2/25/Yuki_01.jpg 









Kyo Sôma: One of these days, I'll make you say you're sorry!
Yuki Sôma: [looking bored] I'm sorry.
Kyo Sôma:  ARGH! That's not what I meant! Don't you have any shame?
Yuki Sôma: [still looking bored] Yes, I'm ashamed to be seen with you, shouting in public.
Kyo Sôma: Oh that's it! We're taking this outside!
Yuki Sôma: [still looking bored] We ARE outside, you stupid cat. 


This, yall, is Yuki Sohma. He is pretty much everything anybody could want in a guy ever. He's cute, kind, polite, reserved, selfless, sensitive (in a masculine way), intelligent,  and witty. He's undefeated in martial arts, and a natural leader.

In the story, he is literally called "Prince Charming"(or just Prince Yuki) and has a literal Prince Yuki Fan Club of squeally fangirls who annoy both Tohru and Yuki. Girls fall over their feet for him. 

If I were a character, I would definitely be in the Prince Yuki Fan Club. But I don't really have that much of a crush on him.(It's more like whenever those big, disproportionally purple eyes fill with tears or look longingly at something, I'm like "NOO YUKI PLZ DON"T CRY I"M GOING TO CRY! LET ME WRAP YOU IN A BLANKET AND HUG YOOUUU".)

Fictional crushes are a fun way to spend your time, but you can set yourself up for a lot of disappointment, cause there's no one on earth capable of measuring up to them because they came from someone's mind. You're just going to be disappointed by the guys you meet in real life XD.

 Sort of a tragedy really XD

I hope you check out Fruits Basket soon! I'm going to watch the next episode now. The preview looks really strange and awesome.

You can watch Fruits Basket free, legal, and straight from the source at funmation.com(or google fruits basket).


My current desktop wallpaper:.

 
http://www.wallpaperbang.com/wallpaper/fruits-basket-wallpaper-3.jpg

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

GAM competition recap(long post alert! Skip to the end to find out how I did)


Marching uniforms from this year. We have matching white knockoff Vans too. WE WERE SO ADORABLE. Our uniforms are always the most adorable. :)


I got back from GAM, my Girl Scout nautical competition yesterday. If you've read my past couple posts, you'll know that GAM has been a major hill/turning point/stumbling block in my faith. I've been in charge of getting my troop ready, and it's been really hard.

At GAM, they have a test in International Nautical Code Flags, Compass Points and Relative Bearings, timed knot tying, advanced knot tying, Weather and Tides, Emergency Preparedness, Rules of the Road(nautical right of way), a song/sea shanty competition, and swimming races. They also have a judged Sailing for form, rowing for form, canoeing for form, and kayaking for form. Another event is Message to Garcia, where a message is sent between semaphore(flag signaling), morse code, and carried by a canoe. The last event is marching, with a random command section and a pre-choreographed performance.

So as you can see, there's a lot of work to be done each year. Usually our troop doesn't prepare and just crams on everything the night before. I really wanted to change it this year, so I took charge. But it was an uphill battle just trying to get everything together, encouraging people to study, people's schedules were clashing. I prayed and read my Bible and tried to trust God everyday, and it didn't seem to get any easier. I was frustrated and confused because I was trying to understand God's plan but couldn't. I tried to trust God but kept falling back into the old pattern of worry.

The final rank/points are as follows:

14 troops participated this year.


Catboat 0-60.9 Brigantine 180-224.9
Sloop 61-109.9 Clipper 225 or higher
Schooner 110-179.9 Golden Clipper  Most points

They also give Top Ship(first place) awards to the troop with the most points in each event.

Our troop usually gets high Schooner or low Brigantine, and somewhere around the middle in the final ranks. Our official goal this year was to get Clipper, but I, as the leader, never mentioned it. Last year we got 180.65, making Brigantine by a fraction of a point. In order to get Clipper, we had to improve by over forty points, which seemed like an impossible goal to me. I didn't want  to raise our hopes to have them dashed. My highest hope was that maybe we'd make a decent improvement and be on a step up to maybe get Clipper in a future year.
Semaphore practice from last year. You can see the another' troop's campsite in the back.

I was the one encourage/annoying everyone to practice and study, in a Hermione-like fashion. I was determined for our troop to do our best. I wasn't just encouraging it, I pulled out practice tests, made flash cards, carried about ten ropes everywhere, quizzed people randomly, worked with individuals to prepare, etc.

On Friday, only 3 out of 7 people were there to help set up our campsite, including me. It was a lot of work.  It was a very long walk from the parking lot to our sand patch on the beach. We had to set up our tent, lash stuff together, get all our food and gear arranged, dig holes for the boundary markers.
 GAM is also fun because of the camaraderie among the different troops. We never get to see other high school troops, so it's always great even though we're competing. We shared our campsite with a troop named MSS Aquila. (Our troop is called Crossroads.)

We had the opportunity to take the Emergency Preparedness paper test on Friday, and since we usually run out of time on Saturday, we took advantage of it. I made my troop go as our pizzas arrived, so when we got back they were cold. :3.

On Friday there is a traditionally an all-troop party at nine, but we decided to crash it, grab snacks, and then ditch to work on our marching routine. This is a marching routine we'd been working on for the past three weeks, but it needed a lot more cleaning up. If you have never marched before, it's really fun, really cool, and really hard.

We finished at around 10:45, and crammed for Saturday's tests until 11:30+, and slept.

Saturday was a big mash up of cramming, running from test to campsite to beach for boating, to pool, to campsite for lunch, to roll call, etc. I'd forgotten how exhausting it could be. I pushed everyone really hard. We had about twenty minutes for lunch mid way through the afternoon. One girl just conked out at the table and we had to wake her up to keep competing. Swimming was alright. We finished last in some events, and middle in others. We had a really good backstroker on our team so we won that race.

During Message to Garcia, the semaphore senders messed up on one letter, but I messed up on four. This was a huge humiliation for me because usually I'm the one nagging everyone else to study. I had reviewed my morse code flash cards all through last week and that morning :'(. So that really sucked. It was a timed event directly against other troops and the pressure was on.
Canoeing race from Sunday! I'm in the front holding my paddle ready.

Next was boating for form. Boating is definitely an advantage our troop has. We're alright at all those paper tests, but no one can beat Crossroads at boating! ;) (yet XD) We have gotten first place in Kayaking for the past four years in a row, and we accidentally saw the score sheet early so we knew we'd done it. I was in Canoeing for form and   Sailing for form. I thought we did fine on those and expected a high score.

Then knots-We had been really stressing about knots, taking pieces of rope in the car, to other events, etc. to practice. The knot test involves tying ten knots in 2min30 secs, with a time bonus if you tie them all correctly in one minute and thirty seconds. In the past, we have had two girls get perfect scores, both in different years. This year, we had three, with Jordan getting the time bonus for the first time in Crossroads history! The other girls did okay, with the lowest score being a 4/10, which isn't great but definitely not as bad as past years.
Our campsite stays pretty much the same, so this is ours from last year. You can see our troop banner, our tent, and the fence we made with bamboo poles and line.


Code flags was maybe just a little better than last year, but Compass/Relative Bearings was a nightmare. The relative bearings were mostly right but every single compass degree we got wrong. Plus, we took so long that we were up against the last 40 minutes of competition time by the time it was over, and we still had Weather/Tides, Rules of the Road, and Advanced Knots(Marlinspike) to complete.

(All tests except boating were first come first serve by any troop in any order.)

We split our group so that three people would take the remaining paper tests and Jordan and I would take the advanced knots.

At that test, there weren't even the requirements on a piece of paper. They just handed us a bag of rope and said "Go." Luckily, we remembered what we had to do and even did the extra credit splices/knots before the test time was up.

I wish we could say we stopped stressing once the majority of the tests were over. But we still had to do the Sea Shanty performance after dinner and had no choreography for it yet. Not to mention marching Sunday morning. The events had all been pushed back half an hour after swimming, but the evening events weren't, giving us less time to eat. We went to a restaurant, which seemed to give us an excruciatingly long wait time, and order time, and food bringing time. We choreographed part of the Sea Shanty in the meantime.

When we got back, many troops were already seated at the campfire. We still hadn't rehearsed full out. I told everyone to run like heck back to camp, change, and rehearse. We decided to be a little late to campfire if it meant more practice.

We quickly ran through our sea shanty once and then had to go. We missed roll call :3.
Last year's campsite with a beautiful view of the bay.


When we went up to perform, the sun had just set on the bay and the lights of the buildings in the distance reflected on the water and it was just beautiful. Ours, a troop named Horizons, and a troop named Conchilla's sea shanties were the only solemn ones. There were a lot of parodies this year--including "Down", "Spongebob", "It's Raining Men", "Under the Sea", and some Aladdin song. We had two well trained singers and some others with experience, so we sounded pretty good. Even though we had no harmony and no choreography for the verses. People told us we sounded beautiful after, and I decided to take their word for it. Then, we retired(burned) an old, holey flag in a ceremony in front of the other troops.

They day had gone so fast I couldn't believe GAM was almost  over. We went back, tiredly practiced marching a couple times, and slept.

Sunday morning felt weird because there was nothing to cram for. I woke up at 5 AM feeling listless and stressed out. I wasn't sure how well we did on Saturday, but I did know it was pretty much too late to change anything. I didn't dare to hope. I realized I had barely talked to God on Saturday and felt bad, so I prayed for God's plan to come to fruition. I remembered that he only had our bests in mind. And that he cared more about my personal growth than my comfort, any award or rank or ego stroke.
I busted out my sandy ipod and listened to "Blessed Be Your Name" and "Your Love Never Fails", my theme songs for the past couple months. I had to eventually wake everyone up cause they wouldn't wake up on their  own.


. We had to wait for the marching leader to get back from prom before we could really practice, but we ran through it a couple of times. Flag Ceremony was at 7:30, and boating started at 8.
Our troop owned the two boating races. coming in first at both rowing and canoeing with a good lead. While we were waiting for the mystery race to begin, I convinced the others to go change into our matching marching uniforms and shoes so that as soon as Jordan and I were done, we could run over and maybe have some time to practice our march before it was time.

It was God's grace that we were in the first heat of the fun race(gives us more time to run and change). The theme this year was the first annual Hunger GAMs.
....

Yeah. This was what we had to do. Each pair had to run to the "Cornucopia" (aka a wall) and grab a card with our heat number and district(troop) name on it. Then we had to run to a pile of oars, canoe paddles, and kayak paddles, and randomly grab a pair of equipment without knowing what boat we were taking later.  Then we had to go to a knot board and tie three random knots. After that, we had to decode a three letter message made out of code flags and answer three Girl Scout trivia questions. Our "stylist" would then give us an envelope with a boat name in it, and we had to pick it and use whatever paddles/oars we grabbed to somehow get it in the bay, around the buoy, and back.

We chose to grab canoe paddles, and by God's provision, we were given a canoe to use. We're both best at canoeing so that was a plus. We came in so far first it wasn't even funny ;D. By the time the other tributes were getting out of their gate, we were already coming around the buoy and on our way back.
Don't mean to sound stuck up...I'm so unused to winning any sort of contest it was totally awesome :D



Here's our marching video. Hee hee. Guess which one's me XD.

Marching is one of my favorite events at GAM. We get to dress up in ADORABLE uniforms, march, and watch all the other troops march! We were called up near the end, and were kind of nervous. We did well, with a couple notable mishaps at the random portion. Our routine went excellently! We accidentally practiced a couple things wrong and had to change them at the last minute, so considering, we did splendidly!

Then...what we'd all been waiting for. The awards. They interspersed the First Place awards with the Overall awards. We tied for first place in Kayaking for form with a couple other troops. Which we expected, but were also excited about. Right after that, I was surprised when Jordan and I pulled the first place in Canoeing for Form!

We weren't expecting any more first places after that, since they didn't give one for boating races, but we screamed and squealed when they called us up first for Weather and Tides! The ten-minute, notoriously difficult paper test that we squeezed into the end of the day cause we cared about it so little! They barely even studied for it and the questions are crazy hard! It was so out of the blue, it could only be God's doing.

Lauren whispered to me "If we get Clipper, it'll be the best year ever. I think I'll faint."

The Overall awards are listed by rank, in order from lowest to greatest. We bit our nails all througout the Sloops and Schooners. When the got to listing Brigantine, we waited to hear our name...but we didn't!
"Oh my gosh"
"Holy crap"
They were calling REALLY GOOD troops up. Mariner troops that studied ALL YEAR LONG for this.
And they hadn't called us up yet! Did they forget? Could we really have beat those troops?

When she announced that they were moving on to the Clippers, we were near speechless with excitement. "We got Clipper oh my gosh we got clipper!!!!!!!!!!" everyone whispered.  "Shhh..."
We all sat on the edge of our seats...waiting to hear her announce the name of the first Clipper.

And it wasn't us.

When they finally called our name, the second to bottom Clipper, I went up to get the award.

"You guys did really well this year!"
I mumbled thanks, and half cried/half stumbled my way back to my seat. Our throats were worn out from screaming.

We ended up getting third place overall. Of fourteen troops.

It still hasn't really sunken in and made sense yet. There are troops that like I said, study all year. They have mandatory GAM meetings that you have to attend or else they bar you from going. They make you sign contracts. They literally step on their freshmen.

We have none of that. Our studying consisted of me-assisted cramming and the past two months of prep meetings that half the people attended.

And we beat them! 8DDDD (at least for one year...all the other troops were shocked. We're like..freaks of nature.)
This year's semaphore sender practice!

The past couple months, I've written and prayed about GAM in my Bible. Prayed at youth group. Prayed with my online friends. Before and after every meeting, I prayed lying literally face down on my bedroom floor, begging God to show me his will. And he did.

I learned so much. About being dependent on other people, being a leader. Holding my temper and working hard.  Dealing with annoying people and conflicts with friends and motivating others and myself. Being determined even when I felt like collapsing or panicking and screaming at the top of my lungs. Trusting God through everything.

Praise and glory be to God. His love really is unfailing! :D


Even though I walk
Through the valley
of the shadow of death

Your perfect love is casting out fear
and even when I'm caught
in the middle
of the storms of this life

I won't turn back I know you are near


And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me

And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

Oh no you never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no you never let go
Through every high and every low
Oh no you never let go
Lord you never let go of me.






Friday, May 18, 2012

leaving for GAM(girl scout competition) in 15




It seems like my whole last two months have been leading up to this...I'm WAY more excited than nervous...but still. I've prayed and planned and prepared and stressed....

For a better description of what GAM is, skip back a year and check out my post around this time. (the title of the post is "is slowly squeezing the life out of me day by day" or something like that.

In other news, I realized I had my two-year blogoversary two weeks ago, and I didn't even notice.

This passage from Job describes how I've been feeling lately:
Job 23 8-13


I go east, but God is not there.
    I go west, but I cannot find him.
I do not see him in the north, for he is hidden.
    I look to the south, but he is concealed.
10 “But he knows where I am going.
    And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.
11 For I have stayed on God’s paths;
    I have followed his ways and not turned aside.
12 I have not departed from his commands,
    but have treasured his words more than daily food.
13 But once he has made his decision, who can change his mind?
    Whatever he wants to do, he does.
14 So he will do to me whatever he has planned.
    He controls my destiny.


I'll post descriptions and pictures when I get back.



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It's my birthday tomorrow! :D



image
I think I'm going to go out to eat with my dad and shopping with my mom, and a combo bday/mother's day bbq on Sunday. But that's all! XD

What I would LIKE for my birthday:

-All the GAM girls to get their acts together and the rank of Clipper
-BACK WALKOVER
-MIDDLE SPLITS D:<

image
ASDFLJKL Ender's Game movie blog is having an open Q/A session! :D

Just got back from ballet...all the classes are getting their costumes. I just got to sit around.



Tuesday, May 8, 2012

for these and all thy mercies, God's holy name be praised

The past two weeks have been an uphill battle. I've been confused, lonely, and depressed. I prayed and prayed and read my bible and I thought I did everything "right". And still nothing got better, nothing got easier, and I still felt like God was a million miles away.

My past couple posts have given you some insight into my head. It was really hard, but I'd finally decided to just work on trusting God, staying faithful, and taking it one day at a time. Which is much harder than it sounds. I felt just so frustrated with God and life.

One truth that really helped me was the fact that: I could be doing everything right, but there is time between sowing seeds and reaping what you sow. I guess that's where I was.

Because on Monday, it all began to come together.

To really understand the transformation that happened, you need to understand the specific hurdles I was facing and asking God to remove.

All of these were in relation to a Girl Scout competition(GAM) I'm working on prepping my troop for. Usually we're not too serious about it, but it's changing this year. There's a specific point bracket we're trying to get to, but most importantly, I really want to do well. This involves tons of planning, studying, performances, costumes, etc.

Here are some of the hurdles:

Rae's situation: Rae is one of my best friends, who I've known for many years. She's just as motivated, dedicated, and smart as I am, and is my perfect helper in motivating, planning curriculum, teaching our troop, and keeping us on track.

She is also extremely busy, and on our first GAM meeting two months ago, I was devastated to learn that she wouldn't be able to attend the main days(Saturday and Sunday) of the competition because of Academic Decathalon on Saturday and a dance competition on either saturday or sunday or both.

A couple weeks ago, she said there was a change in her situation, and I was hopeful, but dashed again because she revealed that her dance competition was on Sunday. With Decathalon on Saturday, that cleanly blocked her out of attending both days. (instead of possibly being able to come on Sunday.) I was so crushed and so frustrated with God. I prayed for things to get just a bit easier, but they seemed to be getting worse.

Well, yesterday, she told me that her decathalon ended at 2:30PM! With many events after that time, including the song performance which I was worried about, she's now able to come and help out!

Morse Code, Studying, and Rebecca:
Two people are needed to send and receive morse Code for an event. I am one. The only other person attending who had done morse code was Lauren. So I assigned her to it. She sent me several emails saying she would not, WOULD NOT do Morse Code. Lauren is like mah BFFL, but she is also very very stubborn. We argued about it for a while, and I was on the verge of panic. The other girls were struggling with basic events! Adding another event to their schedule WHEN we had someone who knew Morse Code just sitting around, was just crazy! I sent her another email pulling out all the stops, begging her to do it, but in the end it was God who changed her heart and finally she agreed to do it!

Rebecca is also one of my oldest friends, but very different. She's homeschooled too, and loves to doodle and play video games and spazz and surf the internet WAY more than she likes to study. She has ADHD and doesn't concentrate well when she doesn't put her mind to it. I was really worried about her.

And she actually studied! I quizzed her on a bunch of material, and she actually knew it!!! It doesn't sound big but it's big if you know Rebecca.

School of the Crew(Marching)
I was really worried about marching, because we had to choreograph our creative program and I thought everyone else had so little initiative I'd have to do it on top of everything else.

But the first thing Natalie said when she picked me up was "I choreographed the school of the crew!"  We worked it through in the meeting and it was great! Only half of the girls were there, but it was a start!

I just got back from a GAM meeting. There are 14 troops going including us, and over 200 girls!

We're just getting started! There's so much to do! But I finally feel like God's actually on my side. God goes before me and with me into each day! He cares about me.

Keep praying for me! Pray that we learn all the stuff, and there's still a TON of scheduling to work out(we NEED to get the early knot tying slot or else Nat will have to leave for Prom and will recieve a zero to hurt our score)

Glory to God forever!

Monday, May 7, 2012

When life is hard





"When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

"These nine qualities are an expansion of the Great Commandment and portray a beautiful description of Jesus Christ....How, then, does the Holy Spirit produce these nine fruit in your life? Does he create them instantly? Will you wake up one day and suddenly be filled with these characteristics fully developed? No. Fruit always matures and ripens slowly.

This next sentence is one of the most important spiritual truths by allowing you to experience circumstances in which you're temped to express the exact opposite quality! Character development always involves a choice, and temptation provides that opportunity.

For instance, God teaches us love  by putting some unlovely people around us. It takes no character to love people who are lovely and loving to you.

God teaches us real joy in the midst of sorrow, when we turn to him. Happiness depends on external circumstances, but joy is based on your relationship to God.

God develops real peace within us, not by making things go the way we planned, but by allowing times of chaos and confusion. Anyone can be peaceful watching a beautiful sunset or relaxing on vacation. We learn real peace by choosing to trust God in circumstances in which we are tempted to be worried or be afraid. 

Likewise, patience is developed in circumstances in which we're forced to wait and are tempted to be angry or have a short fuse. 

God uses the opposite situation of each fruit to allow us a choice. You can't claim to be good if you've never been tempted to be bad. You can't claim to be faithful if you've never had the opportunity to be unfaithful. Integrity is built by defeating the temptation to be dishonest; humility grows when we refuse to be prideful; and endurance develops every time you reject the temptation to give up. Every time you defeat a temptation, you become more like Jesus!"

-The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren

Rick Warren is my church's pastor and Totally Awesome. I got so inspired by this passage today. I've been going through a really tough time and needed this to remind me that God is trying t build my character. And it's so true!

It's easy to feel close to God when everything is sailing and things are just workin out my way like mechanics falling into place. But all of a sudden everything get's messed up and I wonder what I did wrong. 



What's worse than one big disaster is one of those several-month-long stretches in which life seems pointless, nothing is easy, and everything is one big long uphill battle. I've been going through one of those stretches, and I was riding my bike feeling sorry for myself when the thought popped into my head: I didn't have to go through this. God could have fixed this easily, by having this person show up when they were supposed to, have this person do this, have this scheduling conflict worked out...
But he chose not to. God could have fixed this really easily, but he didn't! Why not?

Sometimes I  deliberately try to figure out God's plan, but it's impossible. 

Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb,[c] so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.

Ecclesiastes 11:5

I know I'm going to be really challenged this evening. I've been dreading this evening all month, but I know I shouldn't dread it because God has planned it all out ahead of time. He goes before me and with me into each day.

{le sigh}
Only one and a half more real weeks of school left....



Friday, May 4, 2012

May the Fourth be With You!

I know I never post about Star Wars anymore, oh well.


First 50 to buy something Her Universe off of Hottopic.com get a free Her Universe tote. :P

jedibusiness:

Too soon.
Dooku: "Commander Sobeck, you've been avoiding my transmissions."
Sobeck: "My deepest respect. I was hoping to surprise you with good news."
Dooku: "Good news would indeed be a surprise."
Count Dooku and Osi Sobeck[src]







Harrar's pilot: "Jaina Solo is destroyed. It appears Charat Kraal rammed her."
Harrar: "You must be mistaken."
Harrar's Pilot: "I think not. I witnessed the two images merge. There was energy released. Both images are gone."
Harrar: "Well?"
Harrar's pilot: "You...are correct. Jaina Solo is not where I thought she was. Not in the minefield at all. She is in the vicinity of the worldship."
Harrar: "And Charat Kraal?"
Harrar's pilot: "Still dead."
Harrar and his pilot discussing Charat Kraal's demise[src]



gunsandposes:

Luke: I don’t know. I feel like…Yoda: Feel like what?Luke: Like we’re being watched.Yoda: Away put your weapon. I mean you no harm.

"It was one of those incredibly bright, beautiful days when you know something's just got to go wrong."
Lando Calrissian, recounting his first encounter with Darth Vader on Bespin[src]
You're not unique — you are alone. As you choose to be."
Aayla Secura, to Aurra Sing[src]
I miss Star Wars...maybe I should pick up one of the books or watch a movie again. ;)

 
My favorite scene ever.
This is my favorite Han Solo moment from the movies.
Bring it all back. XD

Tycho Celchu: If you'd been in Wedge's position would you have saved him or gone for the globe?
Winter: No question at all. The mission dictated that I go for the globe. Wedge knew the risks.
Tycho Celchu: I'm beginning to see where you got the name. Agent Winter, you've got ice water running in your viens.
Winter: That's what they say, flyboy. It just took you a little longer than the rest to figure it out.
Return of the Jedi 















There you go. An instant squadron for you to reconfigure as the honor guard of the manifestation of a Yuuzhan Vong goddess. This means that the very first thing you get is bureaucratic personal matters to deal with. I’ll see if I can round up an Ewok pilot candidate to throw your way just to make things more difficult. You’ll be my age in no time.
-Wedge Antilles, to Jaina Solo
 The book this quote is from might be the most totally awesome SW book of all time.



Luke Skywalker: [holding up a sledge hammer] Behold the favorite weapon of Jedi before the invention of the lightsaber.  
Tahiri Veila: You're kidding.  
Luke Skywalker: Of course I'm kidding. C'mon. The Jedi sledge-hammer?
 
I MISS THE DAYS WHEN I READ ONLY STAR WARS ASDFJKL:

“His last word,” Anakin said. “It took a lot out of him to say even that. He really wanted me to know something. I think Yag’Dhul may be in danger.”
Corran’s eyes narrowed, reflecting a sudden, plunging-stomach suspicion. “Anakin, where is this jump taking us?”
“You said Coreward,” Anakin replied innocenetly.
“Tell me we aren’t going to pop out in the Yag’Dhul system.”
“We aren’t going to pop out in the Yag’Dhul system,” Anakin told him.
“Good,” Corran said, relieved.
“We’re going to come out really near it, though.” Anakin added.
“Why you—” Corran held back a series of specifically Corellian words that he really wanted to use. But Tahiri was only fourteen. Would he make it through Valin’s and Jysella’s teenage years without turning to the dark side? Probably not.
 


zom3
Han: You aren't going all meditative Jedi on me again, are you?
Jacen: No, I'm all pirate. I pillage, therefore I am.
Han: That's the spirit.

JACEN!



ramblesofawesomeness:

NOOOOOOOOO!


Han Solo: I do, or didn't you get that part about the bounty on your [Jacen's] head?
Talon Karrde: Jealous, Solo?
Han Solo: How's that?
Talon Karrde: Well, your son is pulling down easily three times what you were worth.
Han Solo: Inflation. In Imperial credits it works out about the same.
 
jedibusiness:

socalwussbag:

3PO is a jerk. 

I totally blame TLF for screwing up Star Wars for me. XD I don't think of Tahiri Tahiri, I think of the Tahiri who blogs and dances and Skypes with me and Jedi~Chick. Every time I see a picture of Mara I think of JC-who must have used every single picture of Mara ever as her profile pic as one point. And of course Ahsoka Tano reminds me of the one and only Ahsoka_Tano. XD And of course "Leia" and "Winter" reminds me of the most epic sister duo to conquer the internet together, TLF founders/mods/epic people Ley and Winty.

I love you Star Wars!

-Amaranthine


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

how have I been doing you ask?



 
rhythmicgymnastic:

Elizaveta Nazarenkova


This is a rhythmic gymnast, not a dancer. It's still not fair though.
This week has been kind of emotionally/spiritually hard, but I think I'm coming out of it. Some days are good days, and some days are just kinda blehh, you know?

I've been really stressed about preparing girls for GAM, so much that I got stress stomach cramps on Monday during the meeting. There really isn't anything to be stressed about, I'm just grappling with it. Only two more weeks, I'll let you know how it turns out. It's been an uphill battle all the way. I feel like I'm trying to do everything right, but things seem to get progressively worse. Like my ride to the meeting totally ditched me and I had to bike there myself, causing myself to be 10 minutes late. And like in a movie, it started to rain...XD

Like, I try to see God's plan for everything, but I just don't have that ability right now.

I've been compensating by watching Dance Moms reruns, reading my Bible, watching my pastor's sermons online, and searching tumblr for gifs.

I'm also going to have a meeting in half an hour with one of my neighbors who works at city hall, since I want to intern there in the summer...super nervous..eep.


Stay crispy,
Amaranthine