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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August is Over

By On August 31, 2016

Because when I mentioned stopping them, public outcry (aka like four people) drove me to believe that some of you guys actually do enjoy them. So now I'm tweaking things a little and including some new categories in the wrap-up, just because I was getting tired of the old categories.*

So anyways. Enough said. ON WITH THE SHOW.

*disclaimer: categories are subject to the whims of a very sporadic blogger and may change at any time

favorite blog posts

Camp NaNo Recap (aka the Month of Insanity and no Sleep) YES I KNOW. EVERYONE AND THEIR NEIGHBOR'S COUSIN DID A CAMP NANO POST. But of aaaaallll of them, this one was my favorite. So you should go read it. XD

How To Be Discerning in the Books We Read An awesome post about what discernment is, why we need it, and how to apply it to our lives. 

Writers (and Star Wars) Because writing + Star Wars = awesome. You can't go wrong. 

The Thing About Butterflies Ok this post is like super insightful and you just need in your life. Trust me on this. XD

night at b&n: why barnes and noble would be the best place to hide if you decided to stay in a public building for a night The title of this post speaks for itself. What are you still doing here? GO. READ. (actually wait finish reading this first XP)

One Step at a Time A super profound post about trusting God with your life. 

Preparing for the Future This post title is pretty self explanatory. XD But you definitely need to go read this one. (Plus, it's from my sister's blog. Don't worry, she's much nicer than me. You can go ahead and stalk. :P)

blog happenings

Weeelll mostly just BUTTONS! (actually I think this was last month but I don't think I mentioned it) I have a new buttons page with like five different buttons because variety. GO AND STEAL A BUTTON, MINIONS. Also go stalk the blogs page to find some other cool blogs. (maybe your own :D) 

Other than that, I hit 15,000 PAGEVIEWS AAAAAHHHHH I'M SO EXCITED. 

Ahem. Anyways. *folds hands on lap to remain dignified* 

I now have 46 email followers and 66 Google Friend Connect followers bringing me to a total of 112 followers. HUZZAH.  :) 

But other than the boring stats and the buttons there's nothing much going on with the blog so moving forwards. XD

ramblings of the month

Just in case you missed one of my posts and wanted to get caught up. :) (Plus everyone else does it so XP) Click on the picture to head over to one of my posts! 



writing update 

GUUUUUUUUYYYYYSSSSS I FINISHED THE RAVEN PROJECT!!!!!! The first draft is 92, 251 words. And yes, you can all read it. When I am done editing out all the plot holes for 23 years. :P

But as I was nearing the end of it, I realized that I'm going to need a sequel. XD So yup, now I've got that on my plate. I'm not really worrying about that right now though, because I still need to collect my thoughts and try not to flop down dead now that book one is done. XP Not sure when I'm starting up edits yet, I kinda want to do NaNoWriMo this year so maybe after that? But nothing's set in stone yet. :)

So the other thing I'm really working on is a dystopian idea I've had for a while but am just now really developing and starting to write. (read in: I probably should have planned more but I jumped in and cranked out the first 25k. XD)

I'm playing around with split POV (three main characters) for this one, and I'm really enjoying it so far. Although working out all the kinks is much trickier than with a one POV novel. I'm trying to finish this one by November (because like I said I'm interested in doing NaNoWriMo), and I'm doing really well actually because it's probably only going to be around 65-70k. So basically I'm already almost a third of the way done, yay. I'll probably get a page up soon for this idea, so you can look for that. :D

Aaannddd that's all for today, folks. YES I KNOOOWWW you're thinking "Um 'scuse me but what about BOOKS?" Weelllll I sort of didn't read like... hardly at all this month. XP So yeah in case you were wondering. (which we all know you were so you may as well 'fess up. XD)

BUT ANYHOW HOW DID YOUR MONTHS GO? And since I seemed to read a pitiful amount this month, what did you read? What are you writing? TELL ME AAAALLLLLL. XD


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Despite the Fear

By On August 25, 2016
(Originally posted on Light of the Son as a guest post.)

Everyone’s afraid of something. Be it what others think of you, what your future holds, or even how you’re going to do on chemistry finals, fear is always there to take a hold of you. It’s ready to wrap you in its vise before you can think twice.

That brings up a good question, though. Is it okay to be afraid?

And I would say, absolutely. Think of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. He was so afraid and anxious that he sweated drops of blood. If our perfect and sinless Savior was afraid, then I think it’s safe to say that being afraid is okay.

But as Christians, what’s not okay is when we let our fear control our actions. What’s not okay is when our fear becomes so strong and powerful that we can’t summon the courage to do what God wants us to do.  What’s not okay is when our fear becomes more influential in our life than God.

When Jesus was in the garden the night He was crucified, sure He was afraid! I think we’d all agree that we would be afraid also if we were in that situation. But the point is: He trusted in His Father so much, that He was able to overcome His fear and accomplish God’s will.

And that’s a beautiful picture of what we as Christians should do when we’re afraid. We can take our cares to God, trusting in Him always. Drawing strength from Him.

Even if you’re still afraid, that’s where you find the courage to step up and do what God’s calling you to do.

The point isn’t sucking it up and being brave. Because God might not always take away your fear. The point is trusting in God despite your fear, and stepping out in faith that He will use you how He wants. 

And that’s when God can use you. When you’re so in tune with His will, that your fear takes a backseat. Sure, you might still be afraid, but when you’re confident that God has a plan through it all, your fear suddenly doesn’t seem to matter very much anymore.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is, even when you face fear, you can always cling to faith. And you can choose to act in that faith according to His will, despite the fear.

~ Jonathan

Friday, August 19, 2016

Navigating Early: Exploration, Autism, and Coming-of-Age (also pi)

By On August 19, 2016
WE HAVE A BOOK REVIEW FOR TODAY. Yes I know I haven’t done a book review in like a gazillion years BUT I INTEND TO CHANGE THAT. Because when I started this blog I intended for there to be book reviews pretty often. Evidently I kinda dropped the ball on that. XP So I’m attempting to do at least one book review every month from now on.

So. Anyways. On to the review. 

plot summary: 

At the end of World War 2, Jack Baker, a land-locked Kansas boy, is suddenly uprooted after his mother's death and placed in a boy's boarding school in Maine. There, Jack encounters Early Auden, the strangest of boys, who reads the number pi as a story and collects clippings about the sightings of a great black bear in the nearby mountains.

Newcomer Jack feels lost yet can't help being drawn to Early, who won't believe what everyone accepts to be the truth about The Great Appalachian Bear, Timber Rattlesnakes, and the legendary school hero known as The Fish, who never returned from the war. When the boys find themselves unexpectedly alone at school, they embark on a quest on the Appalachian Trail in search of the great black bear.

But what they are searching for is sometimes different from what they find. They will meet truly strange characters, each of whom figures into the pi story Early weaves as they travel, while discovering things they never realized about themselves and others in their lives.

my thoughts: 

Oh. My. Goodness. Guys. This book was amaaaazing. GAH. Literally one of the most well-written books I've ever read. Everything was woven together so perfectly to create a moving story with a valuable message. 

So basically Early is autistic. (at least I think he is I don't remember if it was explicitly stated though) He reads the numbers in pi as the story of a young man. Jack is the main character, but through the book, Early tells Jack the story of Pi. Many of the chapters are from Pi's point of view. Evidently (I don't know if this is historical fact or if the author added this) some really smart guy discovers that the number pi will end after a certain number of digits. Early is adamant that this isn't the case, because if the digits end, then the story of Pi will end. (I KNOW THAT SOUNDS CONFUSING THIS IS HARD TO EXPLAIN OK.) 

When Early and Jack are left alone at school through a string of events, they embark on a journey to find the Great Appalachian Bear. Their adventure ties together with Pi's in a really well-written way. (What you should get from this extremely confusing summary: you really need to read the book if you want to know what happens. XD) And there's A LOT more going on in the book (it actually has some semi-mystery element towards the end which were handled really really really well) but you'll just have to go read it. :D

Now let's the discuss the characters. Early is a whimsical boy who spends his time ostracized (for the most part) from the other boys at the school. He's a thinker, pretty smart, and extremely stubborn, which is probably his most endearing characteristic. Jack is a relatively normal kid who's Mom just died and who's Dad isn't really there for him. (Both of those elements are a major part in his character arc throughout the book.) His character arc is legit the best I can think of. And not to brag, but I've read a lot of books. XP Yes, it's that good.  

The adventure they go on may seem a bit strange at times, and it's definitely not a fast-moving book. But in the end, every single detail comes together to make for a brilliant, beautiful, and satisfying coming-of-age novel.

This book may seem like a book about boating, exploration, and math, and it is, but it's also about so much more. It's about raining and Billie Holiday and red teacups and stargazing and family and bears and hope. About brothers. It's about getting lost and finding your way home again. About healing. About letting go of the past and moving on. 

So what do you guys think? Will this one be going on your TBR pile? :D 

~ Jonathan 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Purposeful Pages: August Edition

By On August 16, 2016
HUZZAH IT'S TIME FOR PURPOSEFUL PAGES AGAIN, MY FAVORITE LINK-UP. (*cough* Also the only one I participate in with any degree of regularity but nuance. XD)  Anyhow, on to the questions and what-not.

Purposeful Pages Meme

*OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION THING* Purposeful Pages is a monthly link-up designed to unite bloggers on answering questions about life, blogging, the Bible, writing, and books. 

What you should take away from that: Obviously you need this link-up in your life and on your blog IMMEDIATELY. So here you can find the rules and how to participate on Hannah's and Amanda's blogs.

Ok so here are the questions and my answers:

What book of the Bible taught you the most this month?

I've been learning a lot from Amanda's Hebrews Bible study! But also, my Dad just started a series on Ephesians and I've already learned a lot from that too. :D
How would you react if you were in the positions of either Esther, if you’re a girl, or Daniel, if you’re a guy?
Well I can't say for sure how I would react because I've never been in a situation like that, but I hope that I would lean on God for guidance and choose to make the right decision in faith.
If you could have a book character for a sibling, who would it be, and what makes you two alike?
Well it would most definitely be somebody from The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. I think I'm probably the most like Sodapop, since he's more bouncy and playful. :D
How would your main character normally spend his or her Friday night?
Tinkering with things, most likely.
What are the top three books that you're just dying to read?

Ok so probably The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen, The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton (ok so technically a reread but it totally counts), and Brothers-in-Arms by Jack Lewis Baillot.
Can you briefly share the story behind your blog's name?
Well honestly there's not really much of a story. It's sort of a pun/spin-off of my last name. (kudos to those of you who figured that out on your own XD)
What do you consider to be your blog's 'branding', or signature? What sets your blog or social media platform apart from others?
I'd say what sets it apart is the fact that I sometimes feature humor and sometimes feature Christianity and sometimes future writing in different posts.
Who are a few of your favorite bloggers?
*points to the blogs page* Go and stalk. XD
If you could go on a road trip of your dreams, where would you go and who would you spend time with?
Hmm well I guess I would probably go camping somewhere with all of you guys. :) (And yes you would have to come even if you don't like to camp mwahaha.)
Using five words or less, tell a story.
Circumstances never defined his future.

So there you have it, month two of Purposeful Pages. What did you think? Will you be participating in the link-up? :)


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Wacky Things that Writers Google

By On August 09, 2016
TODAY WE SHALL BE DISCUSSING A VERY IMPORTANT AND SERIOUS (*cough*) PART OF WRITING. It's called 'research' and don't worry it's not as scary as it sounds. (Actually it's a writer's worst nightmare but don't tell.) The things we must know for our novels are wide, varied, and oftentimes DOWNRIGHT ODD. (We're a strange bunch, hence we have nothing to say to this accusation.) 

Basically between all of us we know everything from how to use a toaster to blow dry your hair to how to use origami ice cubes to stop the penguin apocalypse. (Ha no I totally did not make those up on the spot they are completely legit so don't question.) Plus, we network extremely well. So in other words, with this wealth of shared information, we'll most likely be ruling the world in approximately 4.3 years. You're welcome for the warning.

How long does it take to bleed to death?
Depends on whether it's your pinky bleeding or your chest.

Symptoms of cyanide poisoning
Someone else was quick to say 'Other than death?'

How to hotwire a car.
Don't get caught.

Hierarchy of a Medieval Kitchen
I literally read this as 'kitten' like twelve times before I realized what it really said.

How far can the human eye see on the ocean?
Depends on whether you're blind or have 20/20 vision.

Symptoms of hypothermia
I'm gonna go with a distinct cold feeling.

Dragon species with fur
But don't they have... scales?

Snail magic
If snails had magic they wouldn't be so easy to kill.

All the baby names
Because we can think of 496 ways for our MC's best friend to die, but not one name for him.

What are the ten most common fears?
O.O I have no clue. I'm going with 'fear of heights' and 'fear of the dark' as the two biggest though.

What are the chances of surviving a serious wolf attack without modern medicine?
Heeeyy incidentally my characters just got attacked by wolves.

How to spell *insert word*
There's always that ONE WORD. (Random note, but for the longest time mine was separate. Of course now I can spell it perfectly every time.)

What does fear smell like?

What does adrenaline smell like?

apple bread
Now I want to know if this is a thing.

what getting shot feels like

How high do birds fly?
OKAY SERIOUSLY THOUGH didn't we all want to know this as kids?

If you're moving faster than sound, can you hear yourself scream?
Try it and let me know how that goes.

How to knock someone out quickly
I'd recommend ninja moves.

how to hypnotize someone
Why would you Google this just ask me.

how to tell if you are being hypnotized
You can't. *insert evil laugh*

(Special thanks to all the folks from the One Year Adventure Novel Writing Forum for letting me use these in a post.)

What are some things that you've been researching lately? Anything strange that you've googled for the sake of novel research? :D

~ Jonathan

Monday, August 1, 2016

Is Adventure a Biblical Pursuit?

By On August 01, 2016
The world we live in is an exciting and busy place.

Every teen wants excitement. Fun.


And while these things may seem harmless, are they really a biblical pursuit?

Now don't get me wrong here. There's nothing wrong with fun and adventure in and of themselves.

But is your incessant desire for excitement and adventure distracting you from God's call for your life? Because while some of us may be called to adventures and excitement, I think it's safe to say the majority of us will lead normal, everyday lives.

Getting a job. Marrying another godly individual. Having kids.

And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

But when you spend your teenage years in a mindless pursuit of fun and adventure, it's not helping you to become an adult. It's trapping you in a cycle of immaturity and irresponsibility that will effect you for the rest of your life.

Does this mean we can never do fun and exciting things? Of course not. If I was saying that, then I would be a complete hypocrite.

My point is that when we start too become to focused on adventure and excitement, it's easy to become distracted. It's easy to lose sight of what God has planned for us.

Sometimes staying faithful in the ordinary, everyday things is the 'adventure' that God has in store for us.

When I get caught up in fun and adventure, I tend to grow more and more discontent. Because when I'm focused on adventure and excitement, it's much harder to focus on the day-to-day. I'm less productive. I'm unfulfilled.

Because the pursuit of adventure will never satisfy.

But the pursuit of God?

I think it's safe to say that He'll always satisfy. So pursue Him. Only then will you find true and lasting fulfillment. 

(And I don't have questions to go with the shorter post today so if you wish to leave a comment you're on your own. Don't worry, I have full confidence in your ability to come up with something. XD)

~ Jonathan


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