Saturday, December 26, 2009

December 26

So, it's the day after Christmas. Mine was a beautiful one. I stayed home, and I talked with my family. I recieved beautiful presents wrapped in love, and I gave a some myself. Jesus Christ is born, and the hype is slowing down. Christmas candy is on sale, and the radio station that was playing Christmas music is now playing "positive, encouraging, and uplifting" music to "lift you out of the post-Christmas blues". Why is that? Because we're all sad that Christmas is over? That there's nothing to look forward too? That there's no more presents?! Well, get out of your Christmas blues by yourself, is what I say! Why be sad? Jesus is born! Our Savior is here! He's still alive, and he came and made it possible to live forever with the Creator of the Universe in paradise! Come ON!
Not only that, but its almost a new year! Yeah, yeah, sounds cliche, but I think nothing says fresh start like a new year on the calendar. New stuff to do, new stuff to use, a fresh start to look at things differently. I know what I'll be doing differently this year! How about you? Get up! Go outside! Christmas is every single day! We can celebrate the birth of Jesus every day! It doesn't have to come wrapped in shiny paper! "JOY to the world, the Lord is come! Let Earth recieve her King!..." It doesn't say anywhere in any Christmas carol that the joy stops on December 25. Happy Day After Christmas, everyone.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I just finished a marvelous book. It completely took me by surprise; I wasn't expecting anything. That's probably what made it so great. I tend to be disappointed by honor books, but this isn't one and is fantastic! The book is Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast. Honour is a plain young woman who has the ironic nickname of Beauty and two knock-out sisters. She and her family are forced to leave their comfortable city life for the country, but they are together, so all are content. The forest they live near is supposedly enchanted, but Beauty's father discovers just how enchanted it is. He makes an unfortunate mistake, the penalty for which is death, but Beauty intervenes and sacrifices her life with her family for the life of her father. A Beast lives in a beautifully mysterious, and Beauty goes to him to pay her father's debt. The Beast is a true gentleman, though he is never described, and Beauty lives comfortably, waited on by charmed servants. Her life, however, is never completely whole without her family. And after several months with Beast, she is allowed to return home temporarily, and everything changes.
Truly, the story isn't written for children, though it could have been; it was refreshing change from the books filled with profanity and unnecessarily thorough descriptions written in for the shock factor. Also refreshing was the character of Beauty herself. She is a strong woman who, for once, plays the heroine and isn't pretty. Not only that, but her feelings for Beast are so wonderfully gradual. The book is beautifully written, and connections (which I love) are made throughout the story back to the familiar tale everyone thinks they already know. This is not just another fairy tale with a twist; its a classic fairy tale in itself.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A List

In the spirit of Relyn's post, I was inspired to write my own list. These are things I'm thankful for. And not just oh-that's-nice-life-is-good thankful, but true, deep, heartfelt thanks. Strangely, I made a list already, just a couple of days ago in Algebra II. Hm...what got me thinking about that then, I wonder? :) Who knows. Here we go...
  • I can actually take a class like Algebra II, and I'm not completely confused yet.
  • No one is out to kill me.
  • My parents love me.
  • The Creator of the universe loves me. (This is more than true, deep, heartfelt thanks. Seriously. This is part of my soul.)
  • I have my own space to sit back and relax.
  • There are options in my future; it's not set in stone like others'.
  • My family and myself are healthy and in good spirits.

Okay, now for some oh-isn't-that-nice thanks.

  • My school has less than 500 people in it.
  • I can sit in a house decorated with lights just because, not because I need them to see.
  • The ball team is currently undefeated.
  • I played a song on the piano for jazz band. Without stopping and squinting at the notes.
  • A penny was lying heads-up in front of my locker this morning. I put it in my shoe.
  • I don't have blisters from the penny in my shoe.
  • It's almost Friday.

That's not all, but that's the basics. Excuse me, please, while I go give my mother and father (and even my repetitively-Christmas-caroling brother) a big hug.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


I was just thinking...surprise! I thought about how our society is so color-oriented. Our living rooms have color schemes, our bedrooms have their own decorating palette. But its not just in our houses. Clothing. Oh, clothing. I love clothes and putting outfits together as much as the next teenage girl, but I realized how much we wear jeans. Magazines, fashion experts, and department stores describe jeans as being a "wardrobe staple", but they're blue. Our colorful society thinks of a rough blue cloth as being normal. We wear jeans with every single color in the spectrum! Oh, sure, there's lots of different colored jeans out there now. We got pink and orange and zebra-striped and holey jeans. But they were originally a burlap-y color, invented by a man out in the West for the hard workers out there. Somehow, they evolved into blue jeans. I just find it strange that when our living rooms wear blue and black and orange together, it's odd, but when we wear them on ourselves, we're styling a staple.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Great Quote

I recently heard the neatest quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. He was speaking to a group of high-school students six months before he was assasinated. I think it echoes something I've been thinking about lately.

"If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streest like Beethoven composed music. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, 'Here lived a street sweeper who swept their job well!'"
I've been contemplating the different ways I sweep my street. Do I do it well? Is it enough? Is this one little thing honestly going to impact my future?
No matter what my life turns out to be, I will know that my street will be swept well.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


So, several things are going through my mind right now. And I'll share them with you.
  • My original oratory speech (I posted about it awhile back) was relatively successful. Granted, I didn't make it to the finals, or even the semifinals. Okay, I didn't make it past the first round, but it was meaningful to me nonetheless. I'm hoping I can have it completely memorized by the next tournament. Hopefully.
  • Picture day is tomorrow. Hmph. I look back now on too many years of pictures. I wasn't really into the whole ordeal in elementary school; that was my mom's thing. She was the one who did my hair and picked out the outfit. Ah, the days where it wasn't my responsibilty for how I presented myself. I wish I could go back sometimes.
  • Some of my favorite words. I know, I know, kind of odd after those two things, but it's something I've been thinking about.

- vivacious

- tea

- cumpleanos (Okay, this is Spanish, but it's a delicious word anyway.)

- light

- carousel

- ridiculous

- fabacious (It means bean-like. I never use it, but that's not the point.)

- indignant

- clarinet

- zinger

- eight

- melancholy

- indelible

- majesty

And with that, I shall bid farewell.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I went to a concert last night. It wasn't huge, it wasn't small. At first my head told me, "Take pictures! Record it! You'll want to look back on this!" But I told my head to be quiet and make room for the music. Oh, the music. I just sat there and closed my eyes to take in the music. It was worth it. The singers had such a gift. We are told that whenever two or three people gather, God's presence is there. He was there. It was one of those times where you just know God is smiling and singing, too. I sang along. Music is to me what God's voice sounds like. I can't wait to be at His concerts.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Simply Gorgeous

Some things just take my breath away.

Nature astounds me.

The stories behind each picture are a mystery.

I love the idea of capturing a moment.

P.S. I'm still mastering the art of posting pictures. Google Images isn't the best place to find quality, I've learned.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Oratory? Definitely. Original?...Ugh.

I love Do Hard Things. It's on my top five books list. I never get tired of reading it, and it has a place located very close to my heart. So, when I figured that I'd do an original oratory speech about it for debate, I thought, "This will be so simple! I'll just use stuff from the book yet make it my own!" No, Elyse, that's plagairism. I knew that. Silly me. So, now what do I do? Well, what ended up happening was me sitting myself down at Word with Do Hard Things in hand, and just typing. It was very negative, with no hope. "Teenagers are going to be the demise of the world!!!" was basically the unintended message. So I started over. It sounds more hopeful, and I think that its much more "me". I really think this speech could have effects beyond the competition room. I want to inspire people with what I say. Please pray that I can use the soil I've been given to be fruitful. So many opportunities present themselves in debate. This is one of them.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tennis Lessons

My tennis season is over. It makes me sad; it felt so good to just get out there and concentrate on nothing but a little yellow ball. But so many great things came out of it. I learned a lot, like...

  • You learn a lot about people when you're in a small space together.
  • Never read in a stick-shift car.
  • Kindle a friendship where you both laugh at the exact same things.
  • Dry your spandex before you wear them.
  • Ok, try to avoid spandex in general.:)
  • It's okay to swing and miss least it's going somewhere.
  • Move your feet.
  • Shake hands when the game is over.
  • Love all.
  • Laugh when you mess up.
  • Know that the next match is still going to be there.
  • Focus.
  • Country music is beautiful and annoying at the same time.
  • Sometimes love is bad and lines are good.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Epic of Gilgamesh

It's been so long, my friends. I apologize. But here I am with so many ideas! Tennis is in full swing, marching band is, well, marching in (pardon the pun), and I love history! Through some mysterious circumstance, I didn't take history last year...a mistake I regret. I love it! I knew I always loved it, but I just needed to be reminded. History may have passed, but the evidence it existed is fascinating.
We've been learning about ancient Mesopotamia, and their crazy religion. The Epic of Gilgamesh, for example, is considered to be the first book. The stories were Biblical! The Flood, Job, Creation...all of it, with different character names and some twists in the stories that weren't so Biblical. But I got to share with my class the story of Job as the Bible tells it. It was so cool.
Then, another cool thing hit me. One Sunday morning in youth, we were talking about Jonah. Our youth pastor showed us a map from Nineveh to Jonah's destination for running away. The trip would have taken a year in that time period! With all the commercial stops and drop I was thinking he was just taking a quick jaunt across the Mediterranean, when Jonah is running from his life. And lo and behold, what do we learn that week in history? That of the story of Nineveh.
I love connections. It's when you realize that you've heard this somewhere before, that this was in a book you were reading, that that poster was on the wall in your kindergarten classroom, that you get excited. I made the connection, and I was like, "I LOVE this! Tell me more, tell me more!" How neat-o is God?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

And One More Thing For Today...

This video gave me chills. Loved the song already, but this is so cool. I wish I could sing with abandon like those kids. It doesn't matter what people are thinking; you love the music. Enjoy!

Unphotographable Moments

Relyn's blog occasionally has posts about what she calls "unphotographable moments", times when you see something that is touching in a small way; things that a picture couldn't do justice to. I saw one today.
Have you ever been to a festival or fair where a tractor pulls a miniature "train" around the grounds? Children love them, especially the Thomas the Train fanatics. Well, I went to an event with one of those crawling about the yard. I happened to look at just the right time. Three boys, all around ten or eleven, were sitting in the last three cars. Of course they didn't fit, but I'm telling you - those boys were having the time of their lives in that train. Almost identical - arms crossed over their chests, heads leaned back, legs sticking out of the car, smiles on their faces - yet so different.
I just wanted to share with you the little things. I simply thought this was unphotographable. A picture couldn't capture joy.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Small Things That Make Me Happy

  • waking up and stretching
  • using a new sponge doing the dishes
  • white dresses
  • buying a soda during lunch
  • charades
  • sunsets
  • getting my homework done at school
  • taking a shower with a fancy soap
  • watching home videos
  • the school supplies aisle at Walmart
  • eating soup on a rainy day
  • old photographs
  • being hugged
  • saying something really clever
  • being there when the ball team wins
  • watching Pride and Predjudice with Mom
  • staying at a hotel
  • standing on a balcony
  • going to camp
  • singing when everyone else is outside
  • seeing my dog, Sundae, with her deflated volleyball

What makes you happy?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

ESPN Can Mean Something

Just so you know, I am NOT a sports fan. Nor am I a fan of ESPN magazine. But recently, some of their articles have been striking chords with me. It started when my youth pastor showed us the cover of ESPN with Zac Sunderland, a 17-year-old who became the youngest person to circumnavigate the world. Solo. His whole inspiration was Do Hard Things, the idea of the Rebelution! And now, today, ESPN surprised me once again with two great articles my dad read. One is about Colt McCoy, the quarterback for the Longhorns. (Hook 'em, Horns.) He is, essentially, superhuman to most people. He is truly amazing. Check out just one article here. And last but not least, my favorite article. In the very back of the magazine, no less. Did you know that there are children who cannot be in the sun or fluorescent lights for more than a minute, or they contract cancerous tumors? There are. It is amazing, fascinating, and sad. But these kids got to be with their favorite baseball players for the first and last time. Since the kids basically can't go outside in the sun, they do all outdoor activities at night. Therefore, some of the top Yankee baseball players went to play with 12 kids on their home field at three o' clock in the morning. Wow. It just blows my mind. I can't even do the story justice. Google it. It's amazing. And thanks to ESPN. I'm proud of you.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Grease is the Word...

Sorry, it's been awhile...nice to be back! Well, school has started, tennis has begun (yay!), and I have seen what is probably one of the most popular movies of all time. Grease. And I have to admit, I was slightly disappointed. Slightly. Don't get me wrong, it was cute. Is it on my list of favorites? Nope. In my opinion, the best parts were the songs, which shouldn't really be a surprise to anyone. :) They're so catchy! As I listened, I found myself thinking, "Wow, I didn't know this is from Grease!" As for everything else, it was just okay. Alright, scratch that. I LOVED Olivia Newton John's clothes. So simple and cute. I wish that it would be considered normal to wear clothes like that now. *sigh* But, anyway, the whole thing really didn't have a storyline. All I saw was how life was for a "normal" teenager in the fifties. I don't even think it was close to accurate, except for the greased hair itself. I really don't know. This movie made me want to research a little bit more about the actual fifties, not the fifties in the movies. Altogether, it was not what I had expected it to be. My life does not feel more complete after having (finally?) watching the infamous Grease.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Great Ones

I added some new blogs to the list! (They are also renamed as "Simply The Best." The Tina Turner song? Get it?) Be sure to check out Afshin Ziafat. He hasn't updated since June, but his website has some really good stuff. BTW, he was the speaker at camp this year. Another great blog I recently came across is Beth Ann of A Modest Heart. Her posts are excellent! And as for Hoops and Yoyo...if you don't know them, they are the characters that appear on their own line of Hallmark cards. They are so incredibly cute, I couldn't resist putting up their blog, too! Good stuff. I love blogging!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Back to School

So, school's almost started again. And I have to admit, at first I didn't exactly like the fact that every store takes the initiative to interrupt our tranquil summers with signs not-so-subtly poking fun at students. "Back-to-School Sale! Ha ha, you little scholars. You have to go back to homework! No more fun, no more, no more, hee hee hee!...."
But, seriously, I really actually enjoy school immensely. I don't always feel like this. It's the 'ol end-of-summer blues. Sigh. *Insert depressing jazz music here* I have had a great, relaxing, memorable summer, filled with great things, like:
  • Student Life Camp.
  • A trip to St. Louis.
  • Beginning blogging. :)
  • A super fun birthday celebration with some great friends.
  • A beautiful wedding. I love to dress up. :)
  • Some time with my family.

I do love summer, but school will be great. I love the clubs, the people, the day-to-day, and I do like homework, just not always in the moment. :) So, here's to school, the stepping stone of knowledge. Another year of learning. Sounds good to me.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Do Hard Things

I figured I should let you in on a big interest of mine. It's called the Rebelution. To deny that it is part of my life is like denying that George Washington was a president. The Rebelution is defined as "a teenage rebellion against low expectations." It was started by two brothers-Alex and Brett Harris- who saw the need for a revamping of teenagers today. They wrote a book, which happens to be one of my favorites, that challenges teens to "do hard things," their motto. Doing hard things means doing things that our culture considers tough or strange for a teenager. Their book includes the picture of what our culture has taught teenagers to believe about themselves, exactly what it means to do hard things, and how teens can change our culture if they try-because we are capable of doing incredible things for God's Kingdom. I love their entire mission, and if you've never heard of them, be sure to check them out. Doing hard things has become my goal, and I believe that the message of the Rebelution is one everyone can take something out of, teen or adult. I'll try to publish more about this later.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Pictures Are Temporary!

Hey everyone! Yes, I just added those pictures as a banner. Some are fuzzy. It's just a temporary, that is until I become a bit more techologically proficient on these blog things. :) The pictures represent most of the themes from past birthday parties. They represent great times and loving family. I was inspired when I stumbled upon an old box of birthday cards. As I shuffled through them, it hit me-these people love me. They aren't just pieces of paper. They sent their love with the card. And they will always support me. It's an amazing feeling, knowing that I'm lucky enough to have so many people who will be there for me, no matter what. I broke down in thankfulness. The gratitude welled up inside me. I am so blessed.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Color in Darkness

Have you ever thought about it? Color is everywhere. Even in black holes, (though some say that neither black nor white are colors, I beg to differ) creation echoes a rainbow of beautiful colors. Some examples of my favorite color-places...
  • The mountains of California. They represent something so majestic, so powerful. Their dark, tall sides, dotted with evergreens and buzzing with life. How beautiful.
  • Trees. We overlook them often enough. The rich green of leaves in spring makes me constantly wish I had a dress that color, though I know full well that the deepness of that green could never be captured in any dye.
  • Flowers. We appreciate the beauty and splash of color they bring. Just seeing a bed of flowers in the middle of a city makes me smile.
  • The beach. The bright, sometimes blinding of turquoise waters, crystal clear and (sometimes) unpolluted by man. The sand, with it's muted colors, is still colorful, and beautiful in it's own way.

Look around you. Right now. See the spectrum God has created for us to live in and soak up.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hello, World!

Hello there! My name is Elyse, and welcome to my humble beginners' blog. (Many thanks to Relyn for being so inspirational with her beautiful blog and cyber-knowledge. Without her I would be lost!) A little bit about me...
  • I'm an avid reader.
  • I'm an avid writer.
  • I'm a not-so-avid outdoor person, although I live on several acres. However, I do enjoy creation...from the other side of a window. :)
  • My family is my rock, and I love them dearly.
  • Oh, yes, I'm a teenager in a public school.
  • My life is Christ's. I live for Him.

Thanks for stopping by! Ya'll come back now, ya hear?