“Take some more tea…”

“Take some more tea,” the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
“I’ve had nothing yet,” Alice replied in an offended tone, “so I can’t take more.”
“You mean you can’t take less,” said the Hatter: “it’s very easy to take more than nothing.”
“Nobody asked your opinion,” said Alice.”

-Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland


About three years ago, my church was blessed with an organist with the voice of an angel (we’ve always had great music for the 8 and 10 o’clock Masses). She’s directed our choir and taught us a lot. About three weeks ago, she announced that she would be leaving to attend grad school. In Oklahoma.

We’ll ignore the fact that I cried for the entirety of the last choir practice and focus on the subject of today’s blog post: we had a tea party to celebrate her next step in life.

The conversation bounced from The Conjuring (something none of us had seen, but stemmed from my fear of clowns and circuses somehow) to Pride and Prejudice to Little Women to gluten-free allergies to a salad recipe I never received to “Rana, let’s hear you sing” to me sounding like a frog with asthma. Of course.

I have a rare disease. I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s where I can sing until someone asks me to (which I pretty much never do because I’ve always had a fear of singing in front of people).

Anyway, tea parties. If you’ve never been to one or thrown one, you need to fix that. Right now. Make time. Make tea. Make scones. Do what you need to do to have a tea party. You won’t regret it.

And, as a side note, Ms. Carrie is gluten-intolerant, so it was fun finding recipes that are, well, gluten-free!

The menu consisted of:

Everything was sugar-free except for the shortbread and the only sugar in the strawberry pretzel salad was honey. It was all gluten-free as well except for the shortbread.

Pictures:

"Take Some More Tea..."

I bought this at World Market. If you can, pick it up! It is //so// yummy (best way to drink it is with warm milk). My only problem is that it’s sweetened with Splenda.

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Half & Half on the left, sugar, tea bar, and all the way to the right is a cranberry juice cocktail with Perrier!

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Plastic forks because we’re classy like that. Also because the real forks were in the dishwasher. And fingers because, well, I didn’t take this picture. 😛

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My advice: take any opportunity to can to have a tea party. 😉

Ms. Carrie, it’s been a pleasure getting to know you this past year and a half as one of your choir students. Thank you for your time and witty remarks and sharing your lovely voice. We’re going to miss you and I’m going to try my best not to bawl this Sunday since it’s your last with us. May God bless you. ❤

Love,

Rana

How to be Successful

If you live on the planet Earth, you are going to get asked (if you haven’t been asked already), “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?” or “What’s your major?” or “What’s your career going to be when you graduate?”

No matter what the phraseology, these questions all point to one overarching question: How are you going to make yourself successful?

Write your own definition of success.Most of these people mean financially. My dad is one of those people.

And that’s not a bad thing.

We do need money. Without it, we can’t really do a lot.

But, at the same time, it’s only money. You’re going to die one day and it will mean nothing.

My philosophy is that you should earn enough to be self-supportive and self-sufficient; but, at the same time, don’t make money your first priority because it’s a means to an end. The end is to be happy, right? That’s what we all want.

So.

How to be successful:

Step #1) Define “success.”

Please don’t let other people do this for you. Let that happen and you’ll be miserable. Understand that you will let people down by choosing your own path; but if they leave you because of it, they weren’t meant to stick around. Having your own definition of success is going to help you see the people you’re meant to be with it and it’s going to help you, ultimately, be where you need to be to end up happy.

Your definition of success is going to be your end goal.

Pray for a clear path. Pray for good counsel. We’ve got a good God. He will get where you need to be (a place that will bring you more happiness than if you left it to yourself alone) if you conform your will to His.

Once you know what you consider to be success, then move on to…

Step #2) Find your means to the endIf you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Identify your end goal, then find out a way to get there.

Keep in mind that you may have to do unpleasant jobs (working at the local grocery store instead of owning a bakery) on the way; but keep your goal in mind and it won’t be so difficult. 🙂

Plan it out.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Step #3) Don’t Quit

Every failure is an opportunity to learn to do the task better in the future. You are only a failure if you decide there is nothing to learn or give up.

And if you don’t have your life figured out at 18, whatever.

Society says to x, y, and z by age w. No. You’re not a loser for not conforming to standards not meant for everyone. I feel that it’s ridiculously stupid and moronic to have one standard and hold everyone to it.

As Einstein said, “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life thinking it’s stupid.”

Be who you want whether it’s a fish, zebra, wildebeest, monkey, horse, cow, or elephant.

Be your own definition of successful.

Love,

Rana

The Boss’ Daughter

That’s me, by the way. Hi. *waves*

Daughter o’ the boss. My dad owns two jobs.

Being the daughter of someone who owns two businesses has its pros and cons. Last Saturday, the cons kind of kicked in.

I’m 17 and a half. I’ve worked inconsistently in our small grocery store for about 7 years. Now, I’m working 4 days a week, putting in between 16 and 20 hours (it’s like having a real job without the commitment – that aspect is nice) for below the minimum wage – which I’m pretty cool with. I mean, I can skip a day here and there if I want without being fired – heck, I //can’t// get fired! 😛

But, you know, I’m still getting paid.

Oh, and the cashiers can’t be jerks to me. 😉

There are cons though and let me list them out for you because I have “nothing” to do on a Wednesday afternoon and I wanted to write a blog post and it’s always easier to complain:

>>> I’m 17. People can start working at 16. They start at the register. I’m just now being able to run it because, since I was 10, I was fronting, stocking, cleaning, wrapping and doing whatever needed to be done. But a manager freaked out because I was running the register and made me look like an idiot in front of the customers by saying, “she’s just trying to help.”

Yeah.

Because I’m the boss’ daughter, I’m incompetent and the only reason I’m working is because I have special privileges. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have the ability to do a thing. Uh huh.

And, not to pat myself on the back or anything (and those of you who know me know that I don’t make myself out to be anything better than I am – I’m the flipping definition of humility and modesty *polishes nails and requests a manservant to bring me my sippy cup*), but I’m one of the most hard working and efficient people in that store.

>>> I’m not taken seriously. I’m just cute and do a good job and am the extra body. Just have her check dates. Because helping tray and wrap produce is beyond my mental and physical capacity. *rolls eyes*

>>> Learning anything new means that I have the potential to do your job better than you can do it yourself. So giveIn what language does homeschooled translate to ignorant? her a lollipop and keep her quiet.

>>> She’s home schooled. Don’t talk to her about anything important. One of the cashiers literally asked me if I thought boys were cute. Dude.

I learn at home (and currently have more common sense and common knowledge than you do). That doesn’t mean I’m blind.

And it doesn’t mean I’m ignorant. I know what getting high means; I know you snort cocaine; I know what sex is; I can appreciate physical appearances.

Don’t call me “innocent” if you don’t know who I am or what goes on in my head.

I’m aware but that doesn’t mean I do everything I’m aware of (because I’m not an idiot and can think for myself, thank you very much).

Don’t objectify me.

>>> She’s the extra body. Give her the unpleasant jobs.

>>> She’s the boss’ daughter. He likes to see her work hard. Give her the job I didn’t want to do.

>>> She’s the boss’ daughter. Don’t give her anything that would make me look like a jerk.

>>> She’s the boss’ daughter. “Could you help me with this?”

*groans*

On behalf of all offspring of business owners, I beg the rest of you to treat us like everyone else. Be nice; be patient; we want to learn what you do because it feels so limiting to know only this much for 7 years; we are the boss’ children and we are human too.

We are the boss’ children and we have feelings too.

EDIT: Not //all// the people I work with are idiots. 🙂 I get along with them for the most part. But some (okay, one or two) just can’t get past the fact that homeschoolers don’t always conform to the stereotypes. I like the people I work with (most of the time – we all have off-days. 😉 ).

God bless!

Rana

“Only a real friend…”

“…would accept your obsession of fictional characters and still put up with you.”

I saw this on Pinterest today and realized…

I strongly disagree with that statement.

I don’t consider myself a great friend. I used to. But things and people change and that’s okay. I think one of the reasons I don’t consider myself a great friend is because of quotes like this. Every day we read or hear about something a wonderful friend has done, how someone else was a wonderful friend, or see “you know you have a best friend if…” or even “we’re not best friends until we blow something up together.”

Stupid, I know. Superficial, I know.

But this is how society determines what a “good friend” is.

I’m pretty sure I don’t meet a lot of those qualifications.

I don’t like to hang out with very many people. I don’t like to obsess over anything really (if I do, the list is quite short and I only obsess until someone else obsesses and then I lose interest). I don’t like staying out late. I don’t even like "Only a true friend..."being up late with other people (there are always exceptions, but for the most part…). I have a borderline psychotic dislike for eating with people even if I really enjoy the food and company (the sound of people chewing makes me want to scratch my ears off, run away, crawl into a padded cell, and blast the loudest music I can find). I like to be up late alone.

I don’t like discussing my problems with anyone my age (I’m a pretty private person) or mostly anyone for that matter (there are, like, 1 – 2 people. Maybe.).

But, according to social media and society, a good/best friend does all these things! They love hanging out with their besties, obsessing over a t.v. show/book/cute guy/whatever. They like staying up until 3:00 a.m. texting their BFF. They like talking into the wee hours of the morning during sleep overs.

I’ll be honest: I used to like all this. I used to be a “normal” friend, right? Like I said: people and things change.

I like mature conversations, deep thoughts, and raw and honest opinions with people older than me. I like to talk to older people because they know more and usually don’t mind me asking a million questions and often like imparting their golden wisdom to the young.

I don’t like commitment. I don’t like committing to being friends with a bunch of people because those people then expect certain things of you and I don’t have the time, energy, or care-capacity a lot of the time.

Brutal and heathenistic. I know.

Like I said: there are always exceptions and I don’t like to limit myself to generalizations.

"Only a real friend..."

So what’s a good friend outside of societal norms (essentially, having a flipping blast whenever you’re with your besties, agreeing in every instance, and being soulmates forever)?

A good friend is someone who is there when you need someone. I can be that.

A good friend is someone who cares enough to ask “what’s wrong” when they sense that something is off. I can do that.

A good friend is someone who loves you enough to will your good above their own. I do that.

A good friend is someone who will take risks to do the right thing, to uphold their own conscience, above what their friend thinks. I’ve done that.

A good friend understands when their friend does something against the grain of that friendship to do what they believe is right. I can do that.

A good friend is honest. I like to think I am.

A good friend will have the courage to tell you if what you’re doing is something they believe is wrong. I need to work on that.

So really, maybe I’m not such a terrible friend. Just because I don’t like to hang out a lot doesn’t mean that I won’t be there for you when you need it. And just because I tolerate obsessions and sit quietly while listening to everyone else freak out about the season finale of that one show doesn’t mean I don’t care about you.

It means I don’t buy into the superficial checklist of a good friend and I am strong enough to be myself.

Myself

/my’self/

pronoun

1. cynical, skeptical, quiet, judgmental, brutally honest, apathetic toward a lot of stuff, enjoys tearing other peoples’ pleasures apart, doesn’t care about anyone’s opinions, has a difficult time showing affection

2. inwardly excited, sweet, helpful, accepting, obnoxious, enjoys terrible puns, passionate about life, enjoys making people happy, cares way too much about everyone’s opinions, loves hugs and committing random acts of kindness

3. basically a contradiction

God bless!

Love,

your friend,

Rana

P.S.

I just did a coconut + honey mask on my hair, then showered, and rinsed with apple cider vinegar. My hair is the mane of a unicorn. [/inserts picture from over a year ago because, while her hair is the bomb diggity now, her face is not/]

"A real friend..."

Check out those ghostie cheek bones!

"A real friend..."

Words to the graduated…

My brother graduated yesterday, summa cum laude.

He was the valedictorian, gave the speech, and spoke on patriotism (and what we can do to be more patriotic, I think). This is a passion of his and I urge you to check out a group he founded: Society of 1776.

But I’d like to focus on something that, were I to graduate the valedictorian, I think I’d talk about (but who knows where I’ll be a year from now?).

Last year, after four years of fruitless competition in my speech and debate league, I finally broke to regionals. I was finally going to the next level. But I didn’t do well there and it felt like my first year. Everyone was better than me. And, after the tournament, after seeing all the people around me doing so much better, I was feeling like crap. But a sweet kid (who graduated that year) told me that my worth was not defined by my failure – or my success. (But, you know, I’m happy I did better this year with a 4th place and 6th place in debate, and semi-final ranking in my speech at all three tournaments.)

I think this applies to literally everything.

We are priceless by no achievement of ours. Nothing we do or don’t do can change how much we’re worth.

The queen of England, the president of the U.S., the emperor of China – none of these people are worth more than a child dying of starvation and disease in the streets of India.

Someone, though, way back when, thought it would be a good idea to measure someone by success, what they’ve been through, whether or not they have a piece of paper on their wall saying they went to college, the number of 0’s on their paycheck, the number of “friends” they have, what brand of mascara they use, and, and, and…

Guys, it’s a lie.

You are not defined by any of these things. And your worth is not measured by them either.You are not defined by your failure - or success.

Don’t let anyone rank you according to these lists because your position on it will fall so far short of who you are. And you are amazing.

Know who you are before you go out into the world. If you don’t know who you are, people will tell you and it won’t be correct. I know the importance of this – I realized it when I started homeschooling after five years of public then private school. I wanted to be like everyone else. But I wasn’t.

And now I realize that’s because I’m better than that.

I realize now that those kids in school were so petty and I deserved more than running across the field to grab a forgotten lunch box (that probably wasn’t mine) to make people like me; I deserved more than judging myself based on the way I looked; I was more than where I did or didn’t shop; I was more than the shows I watched or the music I listened to (or was allowed to watch/listen to).

And so are you.

Take a step back, look at yourself objectively, and understand this truth please.

If everyone was okay with being themselves, this world would be a much better and honest place.

“Don’t be afraid to not like what everyone else pretends to love.” (Emma Watson said that, I think.)

You’re not defined by and your worth is not measured by your failures or your success. When we can get past that illusion, we can start living to be happy, to love, to glorify God.

This is my hope and prayer for you all.

Love,

Rana