Effort + Prayer = Success

Hello, love!

I’m pleased to let you all know that my new year started off just phenomenally. My birthday is January 6 and I love that day, honestly. It looks rather whimsical on paper; plus, I’m able to start off the new year with a new age. Unfortunately, I dislike celebrating my birthday. And just birthdays in general.

Which is part of the reason I decided to spend the 17th anniversary of my existence on this planet in South Carolina at a speech and debate tournament. What a nerd, right? It was a really nice day. People I didn’t expect to know or care, did and showed it. My club surprised me with a cookie cake and sang “Happy Birthday.”

(Kids, I still don’t know what to do while people sing that without being a jerk or looking like an idiot. Sorry to disappoint. If you’ve figured this out, you must understand life. Please share your secrets.)

This year, I decided that I’m going to take more risks, set more goals, and put forth the effort to excel. A few months ago, I was afraid to write a speech and perform it. What if I didn’t break (move on to the next level)? What if it wasn’t funny (like it’s supposed to be)? What if people hated it?

Well, I made it to Regionals with my speech, received many laughs, and was ranked number one in my room a couple of times. In debate, I placed 6th at the tournament (I believe there were 56ish students doing the same style as me). And heck, it took me long enough to get 6th. I’ve been debating for about 5 years now (?). I think the difference is simply that, before, I didn’t put in enough effort. This year, I did. And it feels good.

All of this said, the credit goes to God. I was praying like crazy to move on and I did. Lesson learned: effort and prayer pay off. 😉

(I would share pictures, but the ones I’m in make me look like I’m just a bus ride, two skips, and a hop away from Zombieville. Which I kind of was/am. And you would be too if you had to get up early, go to bed late, give a speech twice, and debate 4 times in one day. 😉 )

Hopefully, the rest of this year will go just as well.

I hope your 2015 has fared as nicely as (if not better than) mine has thus far.

God bless!

Rana

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Regionals in Georgia

Quick update: My computer, which I just got back, wasn’t fixed fully. So it needs to go back to the shop. Yay. Second, I had a total BLAST up in Savannah, GA for the Regionals NCFCA speech and debate tournament. I’m pumped for next year. 😉 Below are some pix and following that is a link to watch an amazing speech. 🙂

Let me just say really quick that NCFCA is an amazing organization. Look into it. I’m so blessed and honored to have been able to compete with all of these amazing people. What’s awesome is that all of these kids do it to glorify God. And they’re not preachy about it. Furthermore, they’re all kids in suits and, no matter how professional they act in the rounds, they’re still kids and it shows outside of the rounds. It’s fantastic.

If you look up the word “awkward” in the dictionary, this picture will show up.

My face. It’s just screaming one word: help.

My bestie and I made it! A 6.5 hour ride with a 6 year old with all three of us in the back seat is no easy feat. But we made it.

So much awesome in one photo. Oh, look! There’s me too!

Yeah, “help” is definitely the word my face is screaming…

Awww! We make debate look fun AND easy! This was my worst round though. :/

And the after-party. Wow, the crazy is showing on my face. And my friend’s. And my other friend’s.

That is the sanest picture after the tournament.

M’k. Let me just say something here. NCFCA is amazing. The tall guy behind me performed (with Tristin who is not in the picture but made it to Nationals in LD debate) the BEST duo I’ve ever seen. Ever. He also looks like a chaperon. Because heaven knows we all need one.

And with that, I’ll conclude with a link to watch the best duo I’ve ever seen! 😀 It’s also going to NATIONALS!!! They totally deserve it. 😀

God bless!

Rana

The NCFCA

Credit to Wikipedia

Well, it’s been a while since the last post. Or it feels like it anyway. 😛

I’ve been a bit dry as far as writing goes for the past couple of weeks what with being behind in school and working on debate and all. So I decided I’d share a bit of the NCFCA love with you. 😉

If you ever have a chance to look into this lovely organization, please do so. Go for a day or two or three or even just a couple of hours and watch these kids.

We are the future.

What do you see when you go outside? Here’s a brief list of what I notice:

1) People texting on their cell phones instead of speaking

2) Illegibility (seriously? Can we nt typ lk dis al d tym? im sck uv it.)

3) Disrespectful behavior amongst children to their parents and other adults.

4) Lowered standards.

5) Porn (yes, Victoria’s Secret. You’ve lost your secret. The only secret you had has been revealed. Along with the rest of you.)

The list goes on.

Guys, we need encouragement. And the NCFCA is such a thing. I have had the opportunity to compete in this program for the past 5 years. I’ve been debating and giving speeches. At first, the only thing I was happy about was the fact that I got to wear a black suit.

ncfca

Some of the lovely ladies in my club. L-R: Me (I don’t usually make the duck face for pix, just so you know. I’m not THAT person), Martha-Grace, Sara, Leah, and Natalie. The other little redhead is Emma. She’s not competing. 😛

My philosophy was this, “Well, I’m going to die there anyway. At least I’ll be prepared for my funeral.”

After the first debate camp, I was pumped. I wanted to debate everything and everyone. I was a puny 12 year old debating (get this) resolved: “A government’s legitimacy is determined more by its respect for popular sovereignty than individual rights.” I felt smart saying it, so I said it often. Did I know what it meant? Not really.

But guys. If a 12 year old can debate this resolution, imagine what they can do after several years of this.

And it’s not just the debate. It’s logic. It’s learning to think on your feet. The NCFCA’s mission statement is, “…addressing life issues from a Biblical worldview in a manner that glorifies God.”

That’s not to say we’re a bunch of sheltered homeschoolers that only talk about Jesus’ unfailing love and mercy. No. We’re more that. We’re real. We address difficult topics (abortion, suicide, self-harm, etc.) with LOGIC. Not just opinions.

My good friend Sara gave a persuasive speech on gun control. Check out her blog. She’s intelligent, logical, beautiful, funny, and has great writing tips. 😉 She didn’t say, “GIVE EVERYONE GUNS ‘CAUSE THAT’S WHAT I BELIEVE AND IT’S ALL GOOD.” No. She analyzed both sides of this debate and found a happy middle-ground.

There are also humorous speeches. Warning: you may die laughing.

Impromptu, apologetics, illustrated oratory…

We’re a community of real people who address real issues. And the funny thing is… while this is all a competition, it’s only competitive IN THE ROUNDS. Some of my good friends have been the ones who creamed me in debate! It’s fantastic.

Here’s a link to see if there’s a tournament near you. Go judge. Watch the speeches. See that there is hope. We are hope. We’re respectful, intelligent, and very welcoming.

This past season, I broke to regionals (meaning I moved up to the next level 😛 ), won 5 out of my 7 debate rounds, and placed 18th in speaker points out of what we believe to be about 70 LD debaters. I would definitely not be the same person I am today had NCFCA not touched my life.

I’m not trying to sound cheesy. I’m being honest.

If you don’t believe me, I encourage you to read a post by a man who has been touched by the NCFCA as well.

God bless!

Rana

P.S.

Just a warning… After day #2, you find yourself saying things like, “I tend to use my mind over my brain.” <– my intelligent remark of the 4 day tournament. 😛

Chatterbox: Death

Hello, my lovelies! Sorry if that sounded creepy…

Anyway! The speech and debate tournament was fantastic! We had 109 competitors, 64 of which were new.  😀 We had three rounds of debate and 2 of speech. I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t win all three. I believe that I should have won all of them, but hey! You never know exactly what’s going on in the judge’s head, right? I won two out of three rounds. Not bad. My speaker points were high! 😀

Impromptu, however, didn’t go so well. My topics were dreams and radiance. -_- But we won’t talk about that. 😛

In case you’re new, or missed it, last month started a monthly writing prompt sort of thing. For more information, check out the description on InkPen! 🙂 Onto the death scene! 😀

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

     She slipped between the rusty black gates, which just barely managed to hang onto their hinges, and into the cemetery. A gust of wind followed her in, blowing the chains and lock so that they clanged against the iron bars. Her fingers slipped under the collar of her maroon colored jacket and flipped it up to shield her pale face from the chill.

The crescent moon shone brightly behind a mist of clouds in the dark sky. No stars shone tonight.

The girl’s eyes scanned the uneven ground. Tombstones sat in the dirt, some chipped, some so worn that the words could not be made out. The memorial she sought was one such as this.

“Who are you looking for?” a voice growled. She did not turn around. “The cemetery is closed. I thought the fact that the gates were closed and chained would be an evident sign that no one should enter.”

“He told me to come tonight,” she explained quietly as if the grave keeper would understand. He nodded knowingly.

“Ah… This way.”

The man shook his head as he turned away, muttering something about an incredible number of young people.

The young woman followed the tall, lithe figure. It seemed to fade in and out with every step. She rubbed her eyes to make sure she wasn’t seeing things. Her heart thumped hard against the inside of her chest like it wanted out.

“You prepared to pay the fee?” the man asked. He stopped and turned to look at the girl. She wondered how old he was. He looked young, but his eyes seemed older than the earth itself. “It’s pricey.”

The girl nodded as she pulled her coat closer around her slender body. The man’s top-hat covered head turned back around followed by his body. He smirked as a small gasp escaped the young woman’s lips.

“Are you ready?” he asked, his voice muffled by a navy blue scarf.

“I am,” came the answer.

“Then pay up.”

A dagger appeared in the man’s pale, bony hand. The girl accepted the weapon and, with a deep breath, plunged it into her own heart. A shriek filled the air, but the wind whipped it away quickly. The woman’s body disappeared and, in her place, a young man stood. He sighed.

“Rest in peace, my darling,” he whispered, touching the gravestone that, just moments before, had his name written across the front. It now read the name of the young woman who had died to give him his life back.

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God bless!

Rana