Saturday, December 31, 2011

Auld Lang Syne


~Happy New Year!~
Top 5 events that have happened this year. 
  1.  My brother and his fiancee were in a car crash on May 29 and my brother miraculously survived after 3 1/2 months in the hospital.
  2. They were married on October 29.
  3. I left my job at First Baptist Daycare.
  4.  I got to go to Tennessee (terrible trip) and Georgia (LOVED IT!) 
  5.  I wrote a 38 chapter fan-fiction.
Movies I saw this year in theaters

X-Men: First Class

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Pt. 2

Rise of The Planet of the Apes

Courageous

War Horse

Other movies I had seen (for the first time)

Legends of The Fall

Good Will Hunting

Invictus

The Oceans Trilogy

The Next Three Days

Saving Private Ryan

The Return of The Daughters

The Widow's Might

The League of Grateful Sons

Normandy: A Final Farewell

Best presents I've gotten

My computer

My i-pod

Best thing that has happened to me

Getting work as a mother's helper

Worst thing that has happened to me

Going to court

Best thing I've done

Write and send in my essay to the 2012 Vision Forum Catalog Contest

Monday, December 26, 2011

~ ~ Merry Christmas~ ~


Merry Christmas!!!

"Glory to God in the highest
And on earth peace to men on
whom his favor rests."
 ~Luke 2:14

(Sorry this is a little late! My computer was in full use yesterday!)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

New Page

I just added a games page to the site!

Edit: New site added to "Favorite sites"


A great site about this incredible actress!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

"No Greater Love Than This"

For the 2012 Vision Forum Catalog Story Contest we were given two covers this time to choose what we wanted to base the essay on.

I had been waiting for a long time to receive the 2012 catalog and enter the essay contest. So finally I sat down last night and wrote my entry! The cover I chose to base my entry on is Option A.

I hope you like it!

~ ~ ~
April 15, 1922, New York City

10th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Titanic

Fifteen year old Charlotte Elizabeth Grayson and her guardian Emily Sanderson walked by the newsboys stand and stopped and read the front page article. She felt tears come to her eyes and her hands trembled slightly as she picked up the newspaper. The front page picture was of the mighty ship that so many naïve people believed to be unsinkable.

Why? Why would anyone want to remember that night!

She had spent ten years, ten long years trying to forget the night that she lost the ones she loved the most.

She had spent ten years asking God why she lived and so many others die.

She had spent ten long years running away from her past…

April 15, 1912, The TITANIC

"Charlotte, wake up! Charlotte!"

The small, blonde haired, five year old opened her sleepy eyes, to see her older brother, Daniel who was ten standing over her. He looked terrified.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

"Charlotte, listen to me," he said in a choked voice, "The ship…the ship has hit a iceberg and it's…it's going to sink soon. You have to get off this ship, right now."

"What?" said Charlotte, trying to understand.

"Please, just do what I say," begged Daniel as he brought her dress and coat out, "Get dressed now."

"Where's Father?" Charlotte asked as Daniel helped her put her dress over her nightgown.

"He's downstairs helping people get off the ship," said Daniel, "That's why we have to leave now." He put on her boots and helped her with her coat.

"Take my hand and don't let go."

Charlotte took his hand and together they walked out the door of their compartment and made their way to the front of the ship.

It was complete chaos. Women and children were crying while men ran to and fro all over the ship. Charlotte tried looking for her father, but the mayhem was too much. She kept a tight hold of Daniel's hand until they reached the starboard side where the lifeboats were.

"Daniel, Charlotte!"

Both of them turned and to their relief saw their father running toward them.

"I'm so glad you both are here," he said as he pulled them close.

"Father, do we have to get off the ship?" asked Charlotte.

"Yes, you and your brother are leaving on the next lifeboat. Don't be afraid," he said as he stroked Charlotte's cheek.

"What about you?" asked Daniel, "Aren't you coming?

A look of painful sadness came into Father's eyes, "I have to stay here. I need to."

"No!" said Charlotte as she threw her arms around him, "If you're staying then I'm staying!"

"My darling," he said soothingly, "You must go."

"No, I'm not leaving without you," Charlotte said as she began to cry.

"It's alright," Daniel said as he took her hand, "I'll be with you."

"The next lifeboat is up!" shouted a sailor.

"You two are getting on this one," Father said as he took their hands.

Men were passing out lifejackets to the women and children who could wear them. Father took two for his children and started helping Charlotte with her hers.

"I'm sorry, there are no more jackets ma'am," said the sailor to a young woman who had been behind the Grayson family.

"What…what do you mean?" she asked, "Can't I go on without one?"

"No I'm sorry," said the sailor.

The young women started to cry and began to look around, desperate for help.

"You can have mine," said Daniel as he took his off.

"What?" said the women, "I can't…you and your sister are going together…I can't."

"No, take it," said Daniel as he handed it to her, "Just watch out for my sister."

This was too much for Charlotte. First her father and now her brother? She was going alone, among all these strangers? What if Father and Daniel drowned? What happen to her? Mother was already dead, she had no one to go to if her father and brother died.

"Daniel no! You said you would go with me! Don't leave me!"

"Charlotte," said Daniel as he pulled her close, "Listen I may not be going with you, but Jesus is. He's right here watching us and he'll make sure you're alright."

"What if I never see you again?" she asked through her tears.

"We'll always be with you," said Father, "Remember what Jesus told his disciples. Greater love hath no man than this. That a man lays down his life for his friends. That also means a father laying down his life for his children and brother for his sister."

Charlotte understood. At least she thought she did. She wrapped her arms around her father.

"I love you," she whispered.

"I love you, darling," he said, "You are so loved. So so loved."

Charlotte let go of her father and look over at Daniel. He pulled her close to him.

"Be safe Charlotte, be strong, and don't ever be afraid. Jesus is always with you."

She let go of her brother and took the lady's hand.

"I'll take care of her," the lady said, "I'll make sure she's alright. Thank you so much."

"No, thank you," said Father as he shook her hand, "Please be safe."

The passengers boarded the lifeboat. Charlotte sat down on the lady's lap. She looked up and saw her father and her brother waving to her.

Dear Jesus…please…please don't let them die. Please keep them safe.

The lifeboat landed in the water and began to float away. Charlotte laid her head against the lady's shoulder.

She closed her eyes and thought of Daniel and her father.

She never saw them again.

Present day

"Was I worth it?" asked Charlotte.

"What?" Emily asked.

"Was my life of so much more importance that they should have died for me?"

Emily put her arm around her and led her over to the park bench.

"I have asked myself that so many times since you brother gave his lifejacket to me that night. I have tried to make my life of some worth by keeping my promise to raise you and never have I had more joy."

"What can I do?" Charlotte asked, "How can I honor what they died for."

"By remembering," said Emily, "Remember how your father and brother died. They both laid down their lives so you could live to tell of their remarkable sacrifice. Honor all those who died, by never forgetting. Jesus Christ laid down his life for all people, all mankind. Has he been forgotten?"

"No," said Charlotte, "No he hasn't."

Charlotte looked down at the newspaper. She had remembered the screams and the tears. She had remembered the looks of fear and pain and loss. Yet, she remembered the courage and the honor and the love.

She remembered her father and Daniel. She remembered their love. All that love for her. They lived, they loved and they died, so she could live and love.

There really was no greater love.

"I will always remember," she said.


Thursday, November 24, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving!
~ ~ ~
And on the subject of thanks I would like to say that last night (which was my 21st b-day!) my family and I watched the movie Soul Surfer and it was amazing! I highly suggest it!
Annasophia Robb as Bethany Hamilton and Dennis Quaid as Tom Hamilton

Bethany Hamilton and Annasophia Robb
 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Coming soon...

I'm going to be writing another Narnia story very soon : )

It's about a king, the queen he loved very much, and a young girl who longs to be loved by him.



Friday, November 4, 2011

Yahhh!

As you can see I have seriously revamped my site. I was finally able to add pages and I also (after a lot of stress and toil) managed to get my own playlist at playlist.com which is featured down below! It has taken me forever to do that!

Totally loving the new look : )

Edit: Thanks to the fabulous new pages application, my playlist has its own page. So check it out and enjoy : )



Sunday, October 30, 2011

Writing: Two Sides to Every Page


I am happy to say that as of last week, I finished my second fan-fiction : ) Naturally one would assume I would be ecstatic that I finally finished a 38 chapter story that took well over ten months to write and I was.

My writing journey began back in...November of 2006. Xanga had been quite popular for a while and I finally decided to get an account. By that time though, Facebook was beginning to take over the internet, but I wanted to write, not connect with people. Little did I know that Xanga and my love of Narnia would do both.

Almost a year before, Disney's The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe had come out and I once again fell in love with the world of Narnia. We bought it when it came out on DVD and I was watching the end of the movie where the grown-up kings and queens were about to head back to the wardrobe when I had this sudden idea, "I'm going to write a story about Edmund." And thus began my first entrance into the world of fan-fiction and writing with my story "The Beloved and The Just: A Narnian Love Story"

I had only gotten Xanga for the pure reason of posting my story online. If people read or not made no difference to me. I was writing for the passion not the glory. And I loved it. I loved studying and researching the books, developing the characters, watching movies for inspiration in my writing, all of it. In a couple of months though, people were beginning to head to my site to read my little fan-fiction.

I actually met my best friend because of my site and my story and we've been friends for almost 5 years now. My site was becoming very popular, my story was generally well accepted and people liked it so I kept on writing. Not to say there weren't a few purists that were less than thrilled by what I was doing, but I was able to smooth even that over and not give up on what I loved.

After 8 months I had finally finished and I was so happy. My first finished story and I swore I would never write another fan-fiction again! Almost a year later I created my account at fanfiction.net and put my story there with the intent of keeping it safe in case our computer crashed and my files were lost.

Once my story was safe I began to get reviews for it. I was quite surprised; I had no intention of putting my story there for reviews, but they were coming none the less. Then I realized that Prince Caspian had come out that spring and so there was a renewed interest in Narnia and I was glad that people were enjoying it (and crying as well).

Afterwards I left the site alone for quite a while; checking in on it now and again. Then in late 2009 I went back to my site and started to reread through my story. I realized that there was some major editing that needed to be done. It looked like a disaster. So began my reconstruction and editing of my story. It was long and hard and fun. I had missed writing and I had missed Narnia, but I now had a job and was too busy to write.

I was still getting reviews for it and several people had asked for me to write an ending chapter from Edmund's POV (the story originally ended with his former wife's POV). I had planned on it, but was so desperate to get my story done, that I just decided against it.

After two years though I thought that I would finish and so I wrote the extra chapter. Suddenly that old love and fire came back inside of me. It was almost like seeing an old friend again. Letting my thoughts becoming concrete and real was incredible. Then I went and saw The Voyage of The Dawn Treader and that was the clincher for me. I wanted to go back to Narnia and I wanted to feel that freedom again. So I decided to write another story.

I had left my job that I had been working at for almost two years, leaving me free to write. I had intended to have my second story "A Love Unknown & A Grace Unseen" to be about seven or eight chapters long. After writing my first two chapters I knew that wasn't going to happen. My main character, Brielle Glozelle was the reason for that. She was originally going to be a secondary character, but as I worked on her back-story, I began to delve deeper and deeper, making her more and more the lead. Eventually the story became completely about her.

Reviews were beginning to slowly come in with the end of each chapter and I was thrilled. People loved it and begged me to keep writing. I was finally getting a taste of white it feels like to be a possible successful author and that is a downfall. I began to lose focus of writing for the love it and writing because people loved it.

Writing, especially successful writing can be a double edged sword. It's all wonderful when people say they love your story and you get a mountain load of reviews, but what happens is you become too dependent on the audience and not what got you there in the first place, passion. So when you write a chapter and no one reviews then you feel like you failed, you weren't good enough.

My title might seem a little odd, but think about it. Every page in a story has two sides (except if it's on a computer, but that's not the point). On one side the hero can tell a maid that he loves her and then in anticipation you turn the page and found out he's left her for someone else and she's heartbroken. That's a little dramatic, I know, but that's how I feel when I'm writing. My "hero" becomes the people that review, my audience and when they don't review, for whatever reason, I feel like a failure.

When I write for myself though, when I let my imagination soar and my passion run through my words, I feel freer than a bird who has been let out of his cage. I can do what I want, say what I want, and not worry about the anyone's opinion. I don't feel bound to deadlines and the anticipation of others. That's what I feel right now as I type this post.

I think most authors go through this. J.K Rowling said that when she finished "Deathly Hallows" she was afraid that people wouldn't like the end and many people might be disappointed. She shouldn't have to say that! That's almost like saying, "I'm going to let some old friends into my home that I've built and that I love, and they may not like how I raise my children or how I cook my food."

Stephanie Meyer said that the reason she started writing "Twilight" was because she wanted to write a story with no sex, drugs, drinking or language. Over time though she said that she was being pressured by her readers to put more sex into the story and so she obliged and has now allowed it into the movies. A terrible thing for someone who has so much talent and is going so far. Fans are great and it's always nice to have an audience, but I cannot be a slave to them.

I'm writing this because when I finished "A Love Unknown & A Grace Unseen" I was hoping for a lot for of reviews. Well...as of right now I only got two. They were wonderful though and I appreciate those who were gracious enough to write back. I was disappointed though, because I thought I would get all these great reviews and feedback. Then that's when I realized that I had lost focus on what my main goal was for writing the story in the first place. To simply enjoy my love of writing and not to be distracted by others.

Someone might think me selfish for saying I write only for myself, but it's my gift and it brings me happiness. So if I go down a road where I only use my gift to satisfy other people while I become worn out and anxious, then what's the point of using it?

That's why people in in the media burn-out overtime, because what they loved became what they had to do. They traded passion for glory. It was never enough, you're never good enough. You conform to society and its ways. 

What I'm getting at is we all have gifts and we all have talents. It's just how we use our talents that determine how good we are. If I use my gift for only entertainment for the masses and I'm kept in a box with rules and regulations than I've failed. If I use my gift to inspire the mind and move the heart than I've done something right.

I have had many people tell me that my stories have inspired them and that isn't a review or praise it's a still small voice telling me that my gift was well used and not wasted. When you are able to use what you have and what makes you happy and inspire those around you, then chances are the next page might be a happy ending for you and a hopeful beginning for someone else.

"I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. 
And when I run I feel His pleasure."
 ~Eric Liddell

-Ivy

Thursday, October 27, 2011

All Hail Kate The Great's Fabulous Fashion Taste!!!

Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge meets guests as she attends a private dinner at Clarence House, in aid of the charity In Kind Direct, in central London, in this hand out photo taken October 26, and released October 27, 2011.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Jolie-Pitt Family (Hollywood's most....unique of households)


In regards to my latest post about Brad Pitt, I started looking up his family and I really found myself falling in love with the Jolie-Pitt kids. They're adorable! And I do have to say I think he and Angie are doing a great job at raising their children. Maddox-10, Pax-7, Zahara-6, Shiloh-5, Vivienne-3, Knox-3


~ ~ ~


2008 HELLO! Magazine photoshoot

Introduction of Vivienne and Knox

L to R (Pax, Angie, Zahara, the twins, and Brad)
Cute! Shiloh and the twins!
Sweet sister : )
What a family.
My favorite picture : )
The twins on their 3rd birthday in July 2011. Isn't Vivienne a little lady?
Brad and Angie with Zahara and Shiloh
Daddy's Girl : ) Brad with Shiloh on his birthday.
She must get it from her mother, because he doesn't look too concerned.
An old picture of when it was just Angie and Maddox.
Angie with her girls.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Legends of The Fall: Love United Them; Passion Could Destroy Them


Ok, let me the first person to tell you, I have never been a big Brad Pitt fan. I was never into any of his movies, I never really found him attractive, and I especially loathed him when he divorced Jennifer Anniston and hooked up with Angelina Jolie.

All of those might seem like good reasons, but in all essence, I really don't know that much about the man. He isn't an actor of my generation and so I was never interested in the movies he did.

Until I got bored one afternoon and raided my brother's movie collection. I had heard of Legends of The Fall, but had never cared to see it.

One, my brother isn't the romance movie type. He likes war, westerns, and just about any genre except romance and so I thought it was just another western flick.

Two...it had Brad Pitt in it. So you can see how totally desperate I was if I chose to watch a western with Brad Pitt as the lead role.


The movie is rated R for language and (in my opinion) an unnecessary love scene. 
 Set in the Rocky Mountains of Montana in the early 1900s, this is a tale of love, betrayal, and brotherhood. After being discharged, Colonel Ludlow decides to raise his three sons in the wilds of Montana, where they can grow up away from the government and society he has learned to despise. The three brothers mature and seem to have an unbreakable bond, until Susanna enters their lives. When Samuel, the youngest of the three, returns from college he brings with him his beautiful fiancée, Susanna. The eldest son, Alfred, soon finds himself in love with his brother's fiancée, and things get worse when he discovers a growing passion between Susanna and Tristan. Colonel Ludlow's favorite son, Tristan is willful and as wild as the mountains. As the brothers set out to fight a war in Europe, suspicion and jealousy threatens to tear apart their once indestructible bond.*

Within the first ten minutes of the movie I could not move from my spot.It was heartbreaking and full of passion. The beginning was utterly gripping, this family of men was very real and moving (coming from a family with a lot of boys, I saw a lot of comparisons). It took place during my favorite time period (WWI). The characters were so relate-able. And of course, Julia Ormond as the leading female was incredible and beautiful.

I was glad it wasn't a western or some all guy flick. I found it irresistibly romantic, completely passionate, and very hopeful.

What I think was the most intriguing was that I could relate to most of the story. The death of one loved person can set off a series of painful, heartbreaking, and fearful events. Believe me, my family and I know what that is like. Some parts of the story may seem predictable, but that's also what makes it so very real and understandable.


So, we have discovered that this movie is romantic, set in an incredible time in history, has relate-able heartache, and although I wouldn't say it had a happy ending, I would more or less say it had a hopeful ending that leaves you with a content frame of mind. With all of those wonderful qualities, here comes the acid test.

Was Brad Pitt worth the watch?

(queue in Jeopardy music)

Completely and absolutely! He totally blew me away with his acting! He was able to convey Tristan Ludlow with an intense variety of human emotions. He went from playing a cocky and wild cowboy to a fearless and noble soldier. What struck me the most was his intense portrayal of Tristan as a grieving and guilt ridden brother who has lost all reason to go on in life. 

Tristan finally comes back out of his grief to start a new life with his young wife and children, only to lose his wife in a terrible accident. Then comes in anger, rage, and revenge. I couldn't help but sympathize with him. The end is unbelievable and like I said, it isn't what one would call happy, but better off calling it hopeful. 

And I may as well say it. At the age Brad Pitt was when he did this movie (30), I can't help but admit, he was pretty easy on the eyes. Especially my skeptical and doubtful eyes. I honestly think I found myself falling for him the deeper he went into his character.

So maybe I can give this man the benefit of the doubt. He's a good actor, an attractive human being, and although he has many faults, don't we all, he's seems to be a good and devoted father to his growing family. 

-Ivy

*source: IMDb

Monday, October 3, 2011

Interesting...

I was looking up assassins in the encyclopedia and I only found assassination, but I read a little information that I thought was worth sharing.

The word assassination comes from the word assassins or hashshashin (hemp-eaters), a band of Muslims in Persia and Asia Minor in the 1100's. They smoked a drug called hashish, which is made from the hemp plan, and killed their enemies while under its influence.
Interesting indeed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

From Vamp to Princess


Wow! Kristen Stewart as >>>Snow White<<< ? At first I was like...what? Yeah right, really bad choice, but this pic might give her the benefit of the doubt.  I think she looks quite pretty with longer darker hair. 

Now I have no idea if this is going to follow the actual fairy tale or it it's just another modern day spoof. Although, I can see some similarities between the well loved fairy tale and the hopeless wannabe (Twilight).

1. There is an apple theme going on.



2. And of course, the (supposed) Prince Charming who never does a thing, but somehow ends up with all the glory.



 Was that mean?

Anyway, I really am getting interested in this new Snow White film and good luck to Kristen! I think she'll do very well...and you are totally working those long black locks : ) 

~Ivy

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Summer Ends

I can't believe summer is over! Or well...almost over : )

I'd be lying if I would say it was a normal summer. It was almost until my brother's car accident of which he is doing much better, by the way. So much better, he's taken my car for himself! At least I gave my car up for a good reason. Now that he's better we can finally focus on the wedding, which is October 29! It's coming up so close and everything is almost done. We got our bridesmaids dresses about three weeks ago and they're beautiful! I can't wait t wear mine.

 ~ ~ ~

Of course, everyone knows that one thing that makes a great summer are great movies and I've seen quite a few this summer! Which is rare because in the last few years, summer movies have been terrible.


~ ~ ~


X-Men: First Class

I wrote a review about this movie on my previous Xanga site, but I think  it's worth writing about again : ) I really didn't know what to expect from this. I loved the first X-Men movie, the second was fairly good, but the third was terrible! Thankfully X-Men Origins: Wolverine gave the series a sense of redemption.


First Class completely blew me away though! The acting talent of James McAvoy just keeps getting better and better, I totally think he's going to be the next Christian Bale in a few years. His performance as a young, cocky, Xavier was humorous and lovable, and seeing the transition from his beginning character to a strong, compassionate leader was very well done.

I had never really cared about Magneto, because he's like the bad guy, so who really wants anything to do with him?? Well, that changed after seeing Michael Fassbender's portrayal of this very complex and confusing character...and a rather attractive one as well. 

If First Class did anything it gave a wonderful look into Eric Lehnsherr's past. Frightening, painful, hard, and vengeful. Instead of depicting Eric as an arrogant self seeking villain (which he does become later on), it focused on a man whose life has been dominated by fear and hatred and his struggle between who he is and who he can become.

I just watched the movie on DVD and it was just as good as when I saw it in theaters. It is definitely my favorite summer movie of 2011.

~ ~ ~


Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Yes, I cannot believe it has all ended. An entire decade of my life has been spent in anticipation of seeing every Harry Potter movie every summer or Thanksgiving holiday. I have practically grown up with Dan, Rupert, and Emma, and now that they've grown up and Harry Potter's life story has now been completely told, it almost seems to hard to say goodbye to all of it.

I've read all the books and so of course I knew how it was all going to end. The movie portrayed it in such a beautiful and yet, almost simple way. Harry is one of the best literary heroes of my generation, as well as Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, Severus Snape, Neville, Ginny, Luna, the Weasley family, Lily and James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and so many many more!



The most extraordinary character development is without a doubt, Severus Snape. He was truly the most unlikely and greatest hero (aside from Harry) in the entire series. His unconditional love for Lily Potter from the time he was a little boy and even after she married his school enemy, James Potter, was incredible. Eventually that love for Lily sprung into a love for her son...the boy he believed that should have been his son.

Now, the movie world of Harry Potter is done. Harry, Ron, and Hermione have all grown up, but a decade of my life will always be remembered with growing up with Harry Potter. My insatiable crush on Daniel Radcliffe, wanting to look and dress like Emma Watson, raiding fansites looking for any information on upcoming movies, and of course, the neverending countdown to when they movies premiered.

Something I can't wait to tell my kids about : )

~ ~ ~


Rise of The Planet of The Apes

This was...a surprise. I was familiar with the original Planet of The Apes movies with Charlton Heston, but always written them off as crazy, sci-fi, movies that promoted evolution. This movie on the other hand was not the case. Aside from the fact that James Franco was in it, this was a great watch.

In spite of the tagline on top of the poster, I didn't see a hint of evolutionary promotion at all. Or at least the traditional theory of man evolving from apes wasn't in there. The lead monkey Caesar, was so endearing that I almost saw him as a child and not as a chimpanzee.

Near the middle of the movie, Caesar is taken away from his happy home with his 'adopted scientist father' who has raised him since he was a baby, and is sent to a science center. He is placed in what I would call, a monkey daycare from hell. There are some rather frightening scenes of him getting attacked by the alpha male of the center and he is so confused by all of it. I really began to feel awful for him. 

Then comes his rise from the new boy on the block to the alpha male that was not done in fighting, but in complete...negotiation. The end of the movie is wide open for a sequel and I hope, if they do make it, it's just as good as the first.

~ ~ ~
I find it humorous that I saw the end of a movie series and two prequels to movie series. It has been a great movie summer! Lets just pray the next year will be the same if even better : )

-Ivy

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Suffice to say, my family and I survived Hurricane Irene! It started on Friday with just wind and rain, but early Saturday morning we lost power. Thankfully by about 9 in the morning it turned back on! It was an incredibly long and boring day. The wind and the rain was unbelievable and so so loud.

Then at about 7 o' clock the power went out. It wasn't that bad, but it got really hot. I had a hard time trying to sleep that night, because I like the comfort and the feeling of blankets and comforters, but because it was so hot I couldn't keep them on all the time. At about 9:30 this morning the electricity came back on!

It has been such a beautiful day. So bright and warm and sunny : ) I'm very thankful that we came through it with no trouble at all!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Great Dismal Swamp Fire

The GDS fire has finally hit our neck of the woods and smoke is everywhere! It smells like there are a thousand campfires being lit.
I know that's not a very good picture, but believe me, the whole nieghborhood is covered in smoke.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Victoria & Albert: A (real) Love Story


 Yesterday I decided to watch The Young Victoria and I had totally forgotten how wonderful that movie was! Emily Blunt was so beautiful and she looked like she was pulled out of the pages of royal history. Rupert Friend was very charming and dashing as his role of Prince Albert. His soft spoken nature was such a healing and soothing balm compared to the harshness and the loudness of the rest of the male cast.


Albert & Victoria have always been my favorite royal couples (followed by Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip, and Crown Prince Frederik & Crown Princess Mary of Denmark). Their rather unique love story is definitely novel and script worthy.


 In 2001 the BBC made a mini-series about the couple simple entitled Victoria & Albert and as much as I enjoy The Young Victoria, this mini-series is incredibly beautiful and well done. Their version of Albert is very different from Rupert Friend's interpretation. Albert in this is somewhat feisty and short tempered. He is by no means in love with Victoria at all and marries her out of duty. His sense of morality is incredible though. He utterly refuses to read Lord Byron because of the poet's extravagant personal life.

After a certain incident where he sees a married member of parliament with a long time mistress in the palace, he urges Victoria to have her removed. When she refuses and asks why he tells her that his mother's life was all but destroyed because of his father's philandering behavior.

Albert completely turned the monarchy around with his moral, Christian, and upright decisions about marriage, family (he was the father of nine children), social class, work, education and much more.With time and patience his no nonsense, but congenial public behavior eventually endeared himself to the British people and even to Parliament.
 ~ ~ ~
Unlike The Young Victoria where Albert is seen as a romantic hero, when I watched the mini-series, I didn't see anything particularly romantic about Prince Albert. He didn't sweep Victoria off her feet or shower her with flowers and jewels. Instead her counseled her, protected her, and eventually loved her more than anyone else in the world.

Webster's definition of romance: To forge and tell fictitious stories; to deal in extravagant stories.

Basically romance in it's entirety is...a lie; and yet for years and years, people have succumbed to the lie that romance is an important aspect of love. Society today has an unrealistic view of romance and what love should be.

Now Prince Albert was not what one would have called romantic; at least by today's standards he wouldn't be. He was shy, quiet, and kept to himself. Being a German, he was disliked by many members of the British Parliament.
  His marriage to Victoria was practically arranged, but it was she who made the final decision in who her consort was to be. He was not quickly accepted by Parliament and it seems they did everything in their power to demean him in anyway possible.
  In his own words he says of his marriage to Queen of England.
"I am very happy and contented; but the difficulty in filling my place with the proper dignity is that I am only the husband, not the master in the house." 
He was also intensely moral and would not condone any immoral behavior in the palace.

Victoria & Albert's marriage was not easy at first. With the constant demands on Victoria as Queen and Albert leaving everything he knew and loved in Germany to come to England and be treated like a complete outsider can make for a stressful beginning. Victoria was absolutely convinced that she had made the right decision though.

After her wedding night she wrote: 
I NEVER, NEVER spent such an evening!!! MY DEAREST DEAREST DEAR Albert ... his excessive love & affection gave me feelings of heavenly love & happiness I never could have hoped to have felt before! He clasped me in his arms, & we kissed each other again & again! His beauty, his sweetness & gentleness – really how can I ever be thankful enough to have such a Husband! ... to be called by names of tenderness, I have never yet heard used to me before – was bliss beyond belief! Oh! This was the happiest day of my life!
I think she's made her point.

Monday, July 18, 2011

One Step Farther

 Jasmine Baucham has just written on her site that she's finished her new novel. I'm really excited for her and I can't wait to see what it's about.

  I'm also happy in the fact that yesterday I just finished my first piece of fiction! "A Moment With You," is definitely not a novel, but hey, it's a start in the right direction. It's about a trip to Georgia that I took in May, the events that happened and the people that I met...
 The first person to read it was my best friend and she said she loved it and that it was very beautiful, and she's a pretty hard critic, so I'm was relieved that she enjoyed it.

  I never ever thought that I would be able to right my own story. To some people it might seem stupid, but I've been writing fan-fiction since I was sixteen and to finally break away from the fan-fic mode and slowly step into my independent work is an incredible feeling. In many ways I owe all of this to quitting my job. If I still had a job, I wouldn't have time to write and I would have never had gone to Georgia at all! Time will reveal...

I probably won't become a world famous author like J.K Rowling or Stephanie Meyer, but many people have told me that my Narnia fan-fictions have really inspired them, that they have made them laugh and cry. So, if I can invoke such emotions in fan-fiction, then why not in regular fiction? How exciting to finally be able to find myself! And hopefully help other people find themselves as well.

-Ivy

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Joshua's Homecoming Post

I've always been a great supporter of Vision Forum and reading Doug's Blog is always an enjoyable read. It seems Doug has passed on his gift of writing to his son Joshua.

I found this humorous post on Joshua Phillip's site : )


As many of you know John Horn and I recently were in Europe where we were studying history and the Providence of God through Rome, France, England and Scotland.
"...When people spoke of my Bonnie land I didn't know what they meant, but then I took to travel and I roamed far and wide and now when I sing of my native land I sing with love and pride!"
After 33 days of travel and adventure I have finally returned to San Antone, my home territory, more grateful than ever for the state and country in which I live!  The flight home this afternoon was one of very mixed emotions for me. On the one hand I am so excited to be returning to this greatest of states and to once again be joining in the battles of life here. On the other hand I am dearly missing the home of my heart and imagination, Scotland, as well as the journey which I was part of for the last month. Truly, that journey through Europe is still fresh on my mind and heart, and I have no intention of letting it move to the back of my mind. From May 26th, when I last stood in my home, to today it has been one of the most incredible journeys of a lifetime. Tonight I will once again put foot in my room. But it's important to catalogue the things of life as well.

From these United States to Europe. From living in airports for three days to Roman dinners. From the Coliseum to Pompeii. From Rome to the Overnight train through Switzerland. From the Arch Di Triumph to Notre Dame Cathedral to the Eiffel Tower. From American tourists in Paris to largest American Reenactment division in Normandy on June 6th. From the beautiful Norman countryside to wonderfully grouchy ol' Brittish customs agents. From Les Miserables to the British Museum to Fish and chip shops. From Glasgow to Iona. From climbing the crags and cliffs of death during a rising tide to on a whim belting out "Flower of Scotland" at the highest point of Iona. From the Wallace Monument to Edinburgh. From Stirling Castle to playing "I hea seen the Hielands" with Sam on the green. From the Sir Walter Scott Monument to late night excursions. From late "Alba Gu Bragh" parties to making new friends with a "broad scot" in the local McDonalds at midnight. From the very last book store visits to running to make our plane, very late and very overweight with book purchases.

Today as I look back on the last month I want to consider the things I learned and experienced. If you were to ask what my very favorite part of the last month is, it would certainly be hard to specify one particular point. But as I think about it now, of all of the Europe we visited I would have to say that the two places I loved the most and learned the most from are Normandy and Iona in Scotland. They are now two of my favorite spots on earth, after the South which I love even more. Both these places are spots which I have studied for the last year, yet in both Normandy and Iona I learned more in the three days we spent in each place than I had ever dreamt of learning before.

To visit Normandy on the actual anniversary of D-Day (June 6) and to stand with the dozens of veterans who had returned to the battles of their youth. To be part of the hundreds of reenactors gathered to honor the men who died. To sing songs with old men who had been little boys in the villages during the liberation. To storm the bridges and fields of the same countryside that was stormed 66 years ago. To stand before Omaha beach and witness the iron warriors weep at the graves of their brothers and friends. Though it seems cliche to sum it up in a word, it truly was incredible.

My brother Justice, and two of our best friends Samuel Turley, John Horn and I were in 101st Airborne gear with the other reenactors. At one point I heard one veteran point to our group of men and boys in 101st and say "That's just how I looked this day, 66 years ago..." Justice and John are sixteen, I turned eighteen in mid May, and Sam had just turned twenty on the 31st. Its a strange thing to think that you're the same age that these old heroes were when they hit the beaches and fields. But it was true. Theres no way to study history as well as it is to live it out, we saw this first hand in Normandy.


As I sit here remembering, I also think of sweet Iona. Iona in the Northwest of Scotland. Iona, two miles by one mile in size. Iona, the home of the first explorers to Scotland, possibly the descendants of Gathelus. Iona, the haven of the Druids. But in the 5th century it became the manger bed of Christianity in Scotland, and then in Europe, when a man by the name of Columba cleaned the island of Druidism and began the spread of the unvarnished Gospel in the North. Over time it became a type of holy spot for Christians, far away from the Luke warm-waterings down of the Gospel. On Iona would be buried between 47 and 60 kings representing at least four different nations. These kings wished to be buried on Iona to identify with its great legacy of Christianity and Heroism.

Much can be said of Iona, but it would fill pages here. We spent three days and two nights on the island. Several of us stayed in tents on the mountain side. It was a memory never to be forgotten. While on Iona we read of Columba and visited the island bookshop. We saw the life of a dear friend spared from the jaws of death. We prayed for the Legacy of our children. We climbed the tallest mountain and spied out the whole island from it's top. We sang the songs of Scotland, heroism, exploration and manhood from the Abbey. We made plans and plots for the future and walked together as friends.

As I walk away from these two wonderful memories, Normandy and Iona, I can't but help feel incredibly blessed. Blessed and thankful, both to my heavenly father and to my earthly father. I am now thinking about everything else there is to learn about these two place! There is more than I can ever hope to fully understand. But the research will continue, the reading press forward and my thoughts will always be grateful for this opportunity. In this journey of a lifetime we solidified friendships, traveled fast, learned faster and were able to see the providence of God over and over throughout history. From this journey I walk away not simply thankful for the legacy of the men who died before us, but also realizing that we need to leave a legacy as well. And I thank God for my home-land, truly I hae seen the highlands and I hae seen the low', but I will sing of my native land wherever I may go!

Praise God for the legacy of history he has given us! It truly is history that teaches us to hope!
~Joshua Titus Phillips

Addendum: There are four more spots which now come to mind as I consider the great points of the trip: The Protestant Cemetery in Rome where R.M. Ballantyne is buried. The Sir Walter Scott monument in Edinburgh, Scotland. The William Wallace monument in Stirling. And our visit to London's Queen's Theatre where we watched the "immortal" performance of Les Miserables. But I will have to write on these another time...

Afterword:
From Europe, the Phillips family arrived in the Atlanta airport only to split in preparation for the next leg of the trip: half the family heading home, and the rest of us (Dad, Jep, Lib and Me) flying directly to the Denver homeschool conference without even setting foot outside the airport in between jaunts. (Oh, and did I mention that our flight was cancelled and we once again spent the night in the airport? But it was great fun anyways...)  We arrived in Colorado had a wonderful and very profitable time with the folks from CHEC (Christian Home Educators of Colorado) and on Sunday heard a wonderful message from Dr. Sproul on Mathew 6.
The next day we headed directly to CHEF's homeschool conference in Missouri. The conference had a fantastic line up of speakers including my father, Vodie Bauchom, Bill Potter, Samuel Turley, Herb Titus and John Dwyer. On Tuesday Dad gave a fantastic message on the Christian Life of Stonewall Jackson. Then Wednesday night Dad and Mr. Potter gave a  slam-dunk joint message on the Legacy of D-Day and the Providence of God. While in Missouri we stopped off at the home of Dan Ford, bibliophile, where we filmed several clips on the legacy of Liberty and Property in American History.

Finally we headed to South Carolina where we were honored to be part of a special multigenerational celebration and 13th birthday of Harrison Weir, a good friend and fellow traveler. While there we were reunited with several of the friends who we had traveled through Europe with. It was a wonderful and joyous occasion with great friends, great music and good times all around. Today, June 28, thirty-three days after we departed our home in Texas, thirty-three days since we last had our beloved Tex-Mex food, we once again boarded a plane to head south. To head home. To sleep in our own beds. To raid our own pantries. And to remember the stories of our grand, grand adventure!

He's a good writer.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Congratulations to the Beckhams!

Congratulations to David and Victoria Beckham on the birth of their daughter, Harper Seven Beckham!

Harper Seven – a daughter for Victoria and David Beckham

 
Victoria Beckham has given birth to a baby girl – the first daughter for the former Spice Girl and her footballer husband David.

The baby, named Harper Seven, was delivered on Sunday at Cedars Sinai hospital in Los Angeles.
In a statement on his Facebook page, former England captain Beckham said: "I am so proud and excited to announce the birth of our daughter Harper Seven Beckham.
"She weighed a healthy 7lbs 10oz and arrived at 7.55 this morning, here in LA. Victoria is doing really well and her brothers are delighted to have a baby sister xx."

The Beckhams, who married in 1999, already have three boys - Brooklyn, 11, Romeo, eight, and Cruz, five.
Their spokesman, Simon Oliveira, announced the happy news on Twitter.
"David & Victoria Beckham are delighted to announce the birth of their daughter," he wrote.
In another posting, he added: "Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz are excited to welcome their new baby sister to the family."

Friends of the couple were quick to send their congratulations.
A delighted Mel B, who is expecting her third child later this year, expressed her excitement on Twitter, writing: "congrats!!! Yipeee another spice baby is born, damn it wish it was me this AM cos I feel like I'm about to POP!"
Former Spice Girl Emma Bunton also tweeted: "Big kiss to @victoriabeckham can't wait to meet your gorgeous little girl!"

Before the baby's name was confirmed, stylist Sally Lyndley alluded to a possible name for the newborn, writing: "congratulations on gorgeous baby Beverly!!! X." While Brooklyn was named after the place where he was conceived, this appeared to suggest the pair – who live in Beverly Hills – had once again opted to name a child after a location close to their hearts.

-Guardian


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