That remarkable photo from the Grotto at Notre Dame

Advent is coming to a close and we are, once again, drawing toward the anniversary of the first coming of Christ. Lately, I’ve been thinking about what I can do to grow in my faith since it’s felt stagnant. Maybe you have too. Here’s a short list of things I’ve been trying to do to climb out of this spiritual rut:

  1. Slow down. Back when I was competing in speech + debate, I always had people tell me to  s l o w   d o w n. Slow down and think about what you’re saying instead of checking off your list of prayers. I’ve also purchased a recording of the Rosary off iTunes. It’s got music and two or three different speakers, which helps me to be more mindful.
  2. Read. A good friend gave me a copy of the Diary of Saint Faustina last night and I really look forward to reading it! Annotating is a good way to be present when reading too because you’re focused on what to underline or highlight next.
  3. Be present. My mind always kind of been somewhere else. I zone out while doing chores or whatever. But lately, I’ve been trying to stop and say a quick prayer of offering to Our Lady and ask her to use this time and inconvenience for peace or family or whatever is on my mind.
  4. Pray more novenas. It’s a website. Go check it out. Daily novenas that take maybe a minute or two delivered to your email every day. No excuses of “I forgot” or “it takes too much time”. 😉

I wanted to share those four suggestions and the following article. We have not been forgotten or abandoned. God is with us.

Merry Christmas to you + yours!

Love,

Rana || xoxo

 

(Part 1 of 3)  I posted something 8 days ago on my Facebook page that has kept me busy with correspondence all week. It’s been shared and re-shared (update: thousands and thousands of ti…

Source: That remarkable photo from the Grotto at Notre Dame

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I Don’t Support Komen for the Cure & Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Either

Hello, lovely!

You probably don’t know this about me, but I was named after an aunt who died three months before I was born of breast cancer. I know a few people who have struggled with cancer. So this blog post is written, not to not show respect to those fighting this battle, but instead to inform you as to why I won’t support Komen for the Cure and urge you to not support them either.

Below is a list of highlights from different sources and, instead of rewriting it all, I decided to make a list.

Essentially what this article (and many others) says is:

 
> Only about 20% of donations goes to “research” (and not even all of that goes to research).
 
> Only 11% of total revenue goes to researching to find a cure.
 
> $171,635,612.16 spent in advertisement.
 
> “…over half their money toward promoting awareness and screening, for early detection of breast cancer. It’s not curing breast cancer to be aware that you could get it, nor is finding out that you have cancer and treating it in the early stages in hopes of entering into remission. That’s not a cure. Yet that is Komen’s largest promoted focus.” – Source
 
> Komen for the Cure’s largest sponsors are the organizations that profit from cancer through radiation and chemotherapy.
 
>At the 1998 Food and Drug Administration hearings, the Komen Foundation was the only national breast cancer group to endorse the AstraZeneca cancer treatment drug tamoxifen as a prevention device for healthy but high-risk women, despite vehement opposition by most other breast cancer groups because of its links to uterine cancer.” – Source
 
> They spend nearly a million dollars annually suing companies that use the word “cure” in their charity endeavors.(They threatened to shut down a small lung cancer organization for the use of the word “cure” in their name.) They’re essentially bullies.
 
> They pay to put their label on a bunch of stuff (like KFC buckets of fried chicken, cupcakes, perfumes that actually cause cancer, etc. – Regarding the cupcakes and KFC buckets, sugar causes cancer. So they put their label on it. Sounds counterproductive to me.).
 
> They heavily support Planned Parenthood (which distributes birth control pills which can increase the risk of getting breast cancer) and also kills people. So they support an organization that harms life and causes cancer – both of which they claim to be opposed to.
 
> In the end, for every dollar you spend donating to Komen for the Cure, only about a dime actually goes to research which could help develop a cure for cancer. Or it could not. And a so-called non-profit organization that is supposed to find a cure for cancer, is actually counterproductive and hasn’t shown that they value human life.
 
Those are the highlights.
So will you still support Komen for the Cure or has this information changed your perspective on this organization?
God bless and stay strong!
Rana
P.S.
You might want to check up on some alternatives to supporting KftC. A quick Google search brought me here.

A Tribute to the Real Heroes

(If this is only semi-incoherent, it’s because my thoughts are sort of jumbled and I have so much to say, but not the talent to say it. I wish I could pay adequate tribute to my hero, but hopefully the message comes through clear.)

Heroes don’t wear capes. They don’t hide behind pieces of metal. They don’t wield magical hammers. They don’t have all the answers. They’re not fearless. They’re often not sexy-beasts-of-muscle. They don’t fight villains.

They fight people making the wrong choices – choices that can affect the world in a negative way.

They are normal human beings until they decide they want more. They’re normal until they realize that the future is in every individual’s hands. They’re just like us. But they choose selflessness. They choose possible death because life is nothing without the freedoms they fight for.

October 7, 1917 – October 14, 2014.

My great-grandfather died the other night. I’d only met him a few times since he lived up north and I down in the south, but have been quite fond of him. I remember the telephone calls, the couple of weeks we spent up in New Hampshire cabins with him several years ago, lunch at

Young’s, his cat (Pudder), and the way he would end his calls with, “God bless each and all of you.”

Lt. Col. Charles E. McLean was a World War II and Korean veteran. But I knew him as Grampy Mac, the great-grandfather who fought for my country. Who fought for me before I was born. Who would say, “Semper Fidelis” which means “always faithful” in Latin. He would tell the hour by military time. He asked me on the phone once, “What time would it be at thirteen hundred hours?”

I think we all owe that man so much more than we could ever give. He was an active member of society up until his death. He was proud of his service to our country and when he spoke, he commanded the room. Mac Mclean was very opinionated (and he had a right to those opinions, mind you – he risked his life for ours), stood by his values, and contributed to a society that has nearly forgotten that WWII even happened.

At 97, he still hadn’t lost his sense of humor. At lunch last year, he would say, “I should be dead. But, hey, the Good Lord’s kept me here for some reason.” Or something along those lines. 😉

One of the things I admire about him is his absolute selflessness. Even though he suffered from Alzheimer’s (which was the cause of his death), he continuously gave himself to the community. He’d allow college students to board with him, met with members of society on Tuesdays for lunch (and would invite people he’d just met to attend with him), and didn’t mind sharing his history, knowledge, faith, or opinions.

Now, I’d like to share a story with you. It’s one of my favorites. And this actually happened!

In Mac’s words, “From the nearby village appeared an elder carrying a basket of apples. His tall stove like top hat defined his status. I bowed gratefully, accepted the fruit, and he returned to the village.

A young man then appeared saying, “Me Jap, Me Jap,” I started to walk downstream with him walking next to me about 20 yards away. We had covered about a quarter of a mile when a hail of bullets, with the Doppler effect of tumbling ammo surrounding us, came our way. I concluded they were not leaning on their weapons. Thank goodness their aim was very poor.” It was a North Korean Rifle Company of about 150 men.

As I began walking directly to them, the firing ceased, I picked out the commanding officer, walked up to him, came to attention saluted and shook his hand. I then reached into my uniform and withdrew ten packs of cigarettes, ten Hershey bars and began distributing them to the Commanding officer and the soldiers. Amid big smiles and a relaxed situation, I then again, saluted, shook hands, and continued on my way expecting at any moment to be fired upon, shot in the back and be killed. They didn’t shoot nor did they follow. I continued to walk and eventually met up with and joined some South Korean troops and safety.”

My great-grandpa was pretty darn cool. ^_^ And to make him even more admirable, he won’t have a funeral. He’ll be having a celebration of life ceremony (?) instead. Doesn’t get more selfless than that.

Please, if you’d like to know more about him, click here and here. Our soldiers deserve so much more than we give them. I pray for their safety and peace of mind. May God bless them and their families.

R.I.P., Grampy Mac. ❤ Thank you for setting such a positive example in a world that disrespects most the ones who deserve the most respect. Thank you for your decision to protect the greatest country in the world. Thank you for fighting the enemies of justice, morality, and basic goodness.

Semper fi.

Rana

Liebster Award!

I’ve been nominated for it! Which was a lovely surprise!

A big things to Tara for the nomination! It made my day. ^_^

So now, I guess this is what I have to do:

Thank and link back to the person who nominated you
List 11 facts about yourself
Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you
Nominate 9 bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers (you can’t nominate the blogger who nominated you)
Ask them 11 questions
Let them know about the nomination

Well, obviously since my parents have set restrictions on my internet communication abilities, I’ll just do what I can and hope y’all don’t hate me for it. 😛

Le 11 Facts

1) I’m the kind of person who likes pulp in their orange juice.

2) I second-guess everything. I’m serious. I’m rarely every sure of anything or anyone because I doubt. If I was a dude, my name’d be Thomas.

3) You’d probably never know if I hated you in real life because I’m polite. I’m more honest over the internet with some people, but irl, I’m known for smiling all the time and being way too sweet.

4) I’m really not very funny. My humor consists of uncalled for remarks, knowing random things, and facial expressions.

For instance, someone was joking and said that someone else was drunk on wine and the response was, “It’d take a lot more than that, honey.” I, not thinking, blurted out, “You would know.” *facepalm*

As for knowing random things, someone asked how one would hide a body (this was with the youth at my parish) and I was like, “OH YEAH, YOU BURY THE BODY SIX FEET UNDER AND THREE FEET ABOVE THAT YOU BURY A DOG. THEN WHEN THE POLICE’S DOGS GO SNIFFING, THEY’LL DIG OF THE DOG AND JUST KEEP LOOKING.” Way to make an impression on the young people of the church, Rana. Although, I did learn that that’s why one girl is friends with me. *shrug* Because I know how to hide a body. *cue the song They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love*

5) I am thinking about setting up a little crochet shop during the summer. I think it’ll be a crochet-on-demand type thing. If anyone’s interested. *shrug*

6) I don’t like following school rules. Yeah, I’m homeschooled, but I do it online so the English lesson will ask me to choose which person was right on a certain issue and I’ll be all like, “Actually, neither and here’s why.”

7) RED is my favorite music band. Skillet, Sent By Ravens, Thousand Foot Krutch – other favs. 😉

8) I just made cinnamon roll scones – SUGAR-FREE, LOW-CARB, AND GLUTEN-FREE, PEOPLE. They’re amazing.

9) I talk a lot, but rarely say anything because I don’t like people I know knowing a lot about me.

10) I have privacy issues. People infringe on my personal space, possessions, or anything else of mine, I will freak out internally.

11) I don’t freak out very easily. I rarely scream. Especially if kids get hurt, I’m just all like, “unless they’re going to the ER, they’re fine. And even then, they should be fine.” I know, I know. I’m a heartless beast.

Le 11 Questions I Must Answer

1. Do you like to take distorted pictures of yourself?

…Yeah? I normally don’t like pictures of myself, so I mess them up as much as possible. I feel like it captures the “real me.” It’s kind of sad.

2. How would you describe yourself?

In a few words? A paragraph? A novel? An auto-biography? I’ll try to keep it short. 😛 I doubt myself a lot, but am strong in what I believe. I like people, but don’t trust them easily. But when it comes to fooling me, it’s quite easy. I swear I’m blonde at the roots. Someone told me cranberries were vegetables and someone joined in and I believed them. -_- In my defense, however, I was exhausted. *cough* I’m always exhausted. *cough*

3. What’s your best joke?

Me. I am my best joke. But if you want one to tell others… the first one that comes to mind is, “The best steak joke is a medium well done.” I didn’t make it up. I’m not funny/smart enough. 😛

4. If you had to change your name, what name would you pick?

Oh, gosh. Uhm… Ariadne? Maybe? Possibly? If I was a guy, I’d choose Icarus. I think that’s a flipping epic name.

5. Do you collect clothes tags?

Nope. I’m a pack rat, but I try not to keep things that I won’t look back on fondly later on in life. Or things that I can’t remember a lesson from. Know what I mean, jelly bean?

6. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

That answer would vary depending on the mood you caught me in. Right now, you caught me at cinnamon rolls/cinnamon roll scones. I have a sweet tooth. 😛

7. Choose one: Famous, rich, or attractive

What? Oooo. As in, which would I want in a man? Which would I want for myself? If the first: I’m not into guys. (I’m not into girls either! I think I’m non-sexual.) But I’d probably go for attractive (with the right personality, beliefs, etc.). If the second… Either famous or attractive. I have a lot I want to say for people to hear, but I’m afraid it’d change me and I don’t want that.

8. Do you have a favorite letter?

I like them all if they’re in the right font. ^_^

9. Chocolate or peanut butter?

O___________________O Why are they separated?

10. Would you be chosen to act as Snow White or the wicked step mother?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I have no idea. If the director of the play knew me, probably the wicked step mother. If we were just acquaintances, Snow White. Though I’d need a wig. 😛

11. Which is your favorite hair color: pink, blue, or green?

I think it depends on the person it’s on. 😉

Questions for my nominees to answer:

1) What nationality are you?

2) Do you believe the ends justify the means?

3) Do you work well under pressure or snap?

4) What’s your favorite music genre/band?

5) Batman or Superman?

6) Do you like to bake?

7) Would you rather burn to a crispy chip of a human person or get skinned alive?

8) Honestly, how many friends do you have? Not acquaintances, but honest-to-goodness-friends.

9) What was/is your best subject in school?

10) Do you do your own thinking or allow others to just give you the information?

11) What’s your favorite ink color?

My nominees (is that the correct terminology?) in alphabetical order:

1) Lisa of God’s Daughter 4 Ever

2) Mirriam of Wishful Thinking

3) Sara of Sara Delacroix

4) Una of Petticoats and Muckboots

And that about wraps it up!

Just a side note: my laptop went kaput last week. I’m getting it repaired. When I get it back, I’ll write up a post on what a touring author I ran into on Friday had to say about publishing and writing in general. 😉 I’d never heard of him before, but his name was Greg Gutfield and he wrote Not Cool.

God bless!

Rana

Out With the Old, In With the New

As you may have noticed, I changed the way things look around here. I’m hoping you all will enjoy it a bit. 🙂

Green is supposedly the most relaxing color for people’s eyes, so I decided, “Hey, why not give the readers’ eyes a break, right?” I mean, you use ’em all the time! Plus, you read my horrid posts! 😛

And I do get bored if things look the same for too long. xD Anyway, not only have the colors changed, but I’ve also added some new features. 🙂 I’ve always enjoyed being able to rate things and like comments — it made me feel like I had a voice.

So, whether or not you’re a regular, a random commenter, or if you’ve just tripped over some Google-glitch and landed haplessly in my blog, you may now feel free to:

  • rate posts

rate

  • rate comments/thumbs ’em up

rate_2

  • and like the comments, though I guess rating/thumbsing ’em up are essentially the same with minor differences…

rate_3

I sure hope y’all enjoy the new features! 🙂 It’s important to me that you feel comfortable and are able to feel like you’re involved. Since I can’t respond to most comments, this is the next best thing. 🙂 Love you all! ^_^

God bless!

Rana

Dear you,

My wish to you all. ❤

{wishful thinking}

It’s a new year, and a new year is a time for looking forward, and a way to look forward is to remember. Remember that you have the chance, with everything you do, to change your life. You could talk to the interesting person standing in line. You could dare to show someone your drawings, to approach that publisher about your novel. You could dare to believe that God made you to do more than sit in others shadows. Remember that everyone you meet will know something you don’t. Remember not just to change, but to grow. Remember there is so much you can do if you just get it done. Remember to try, even if you fail. Don’t settle for less. Remember to be kind and wise, and if you don’t know how to be wise, pretend you do. Remember to smile, and if you can’t, then fake it. Don’t sell yourself short…

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What stops an agent from wanting to read more of your story?

I sure needed this! I hope you all can learn something here. Writing is hard, but keep at it! 😉

God bless!
Rana

onewildword

One of the most popular events each year at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference is a workshop called SIWC Idol.  Think American Idol except for writers. Anybody who’s brave enough can submit the first page of their manuscript to be read in front of a panel of judges—four literary agents.

Author Jack Whyte, in his deep and resonant voice, reads a random selection of first pages in front of the 200 or so writers. He reads until at least two of the agents raise their hand indicating this is where they’d stop reading if they were reading the submission in their office. The agents then explain why they stopped where they did.

I was lucky enough to be one of the few submissions where a hand wasn’t raised. But what exactly stops an agent from wanting to read further?

  1. Too much description up front that’s not interwoven into the…

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Voting Time… Again

Hey, there! 😀

By popular opinion, I changed the header image of TVA. I’m not a big fan of the way it looks up there though it looked nice by itself… What say you? Keep it? Change it? Got other suggestions?

If you have a suggestion or wish to see something else, please let me know in the comments. 🙂

Let me know! 🙂

God bless!

Rana

P.S.

Here’s the older image:

cropped-cropped-va4.png

I Want Your Opinion! Pleeeeeeeeze! *grovels at your feet* Please!

Hey, there!

Okay. I’m desperate. I don’t really like how the blog looks… I want a new header. I’m not sure if I’ll keep the background.

It all just seems so… boring.

SO! I’ve come up with some sample headers. I want you to tell me which you like best, or if you like what I’ve got now, or if you like one, but would like to see more stuff happening with it. PLEASE HELP MEEEEEEEEE! Please? 🙂 (I made these with GIMP and got some fonts off of dafont.com and the butterfly images are courtesy of Hawsmont Universe.)

Option #1

Header_1

 

Option #2

header_2

 

Option #3

header_3Okay! Feedback time! 😀

 

Aaaaand, now for the background!

 

Thank you SOOOO much in advance!

God bless!

Rana

 

 

 

The 10 Stupidest Things You Can Say To A Depressed Person

This is so true. And the sad thing is, if you’re depressed and try to get help (I don’t know about professionally, but if you ask someone you know), this is pretty much all they say. With the exception of #6, I’ve heard everything on that list.

Also, concerning #7: It’s like saying, “You can’t be happy because there are people happier than you.” What kind of logic is that, hm?

God bless!
Rana

Through Purple Lenses

A friend of mine posted a link to this article on facebook.  Worth a read.  Here’s the link in case you despise my purple background and would prefer a white one (Hater. :P)  I’ve edited the mild language out.

The 10 Stupidest Things You Can Say To A Depressed Person

SEP. 20, 2013

1. “Just go outside more!”

Right, because going outside is the easiest part of any depressed person’s day, and the only thing stopping them from going for a light frolic through the local park is the fact that no one has told them how awesome it was! The thing is, a huge part of depression is not being able to navigate the world in the way you used to, and there is a good chance that they are trying desperately just to make it out to get basic food supplies if they are at a…

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