Count Your Blessings

Hello, lovely!

I want to take a few minutes to let you know what’s been going on in the world of Rana. My aunt and uncle-in-law celebrated their one year anniversary a few months ago and, because they didn’t really have a party after the papers were signed and their marriage was legally legit, they threw a party at their house a year later.

>>Now, they have a friend who owns a gluten-free/paleo bakery and you really ought to check it out if you live in South West Florida. It’s called Epiphany Gluten Free Bakery and you can buy their goods at Neighborhood Organics (just call before visiting – all the info is on the FaceBook page).

Anyway, this friend made their cake. It was literally the most beautiful cake I’d ever seen and one of the most delicious cakes I’ve ever eaten. Seriously. Take a look:

Count Your Blessings | The Gingerling

Photo Credit to Epiphany Gluten-Free Bakery.

I jokingly asked her while she was cutting it up if I could work for her. She laughed and said absolutely. I kept thinking about it and realizing how much I really do love to work in the kitchen. I called her up and asked if she would mind my working there for free. Sweet soul that she is, Ruth said she would love to have me.

Long story short, I’ve been there twice now and have had a blast both times. I’m going to keep going once or twice a week over the summer to see if this is something I might want to do with my life.

Through this, I’ve learned that I need to step up and ask for things if they’re important enough to me. Which is something I’ve always had a hard time doing.

>>In other news, I think I’m leaning more towards not doing speech and debate for this, my senior year. It’s a hard choice because I’ve done it since I was 12 and this is my last eligible year. But like I said, it’s senior year, and I’m going to be incredibly busy succumbing to the pressure and trying not to be committed (to the funny farm).

The hardest part about that is I’ve just started to get good placing 4th and 6th at two different tournaments in debate, getting 13th place in speaker points, and moving on to semi-finals in all three tournaments with my speech. Plus, that’s when people start to know who you are and notice you and I’m not going to lie: That feels good.

But it’s a temporary thing as it’s always been and I need to let it go sometime. It’s either going to be now or next year.

>>For my writing buddies, I’ve started something new. It’s been going on for a while and still has no title. But it’s fun and I’m hoping I’ll be able to finish it. 😉 It’s about a girl from our world who gets zapped into a faerie world (think Tolkien elves, not the Christmas movie, Elf) and everyone thinks she has the power to move the stars (which, in their world, are people who have died or not yet lived). If she can do that, she can bring people back. But she doesn’t believe it and the prince of the fey people is in a perpetual rotten mood, so he’s put in charge of getting her to do the will of the evil king as a punishment for talking back on an issue he felt strongly about (and rightfully so).

Cliche? Maybe in some aspects. Fun? Definitely. And that’s (one reason) why I write. 😉

Fantasy is what I started with as a budding novelist and that crashed and burned. I’m hoping I can revisit it with more success this time, four years later.

Essentially, God has blessed me a lot so far this summer and I’m grateful. ^_^

So what’s going on in your world? What things are going your way?

Love always,

Rana

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Updates x 2

Hello, lovlies!

I hope all is going well. ^_^

Update #1:

Regionals was spectacular. I did not break (move on to the next level) in debate; however, I did make it to semi-finals in my After Dinner Speech (it was filmed and you may have access to it in the near future).

EDIT: It’s up on YouTube! Excuse my insane eyebrow movement and fairly fast pace… and face. Anyway, here ’tis!

Here are some pictures to prove that I had a wonderful time (more coming soon [maybe]), courtesy of Sarah Mackenzie whose blog you should totally check out (and if her URL doesn’t draw you in, maybe these pictures will):

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And, of course, speech and debate tournaments call for a massive consumption of caffeine (due to no sleep, up at 6:00 a.m, and bed anywhere between 10 and 12. For three days.). My mother (bless her precious heart) knew this and took the liberty of buying me a s’mores (S’MORES!) frapp. This led to a Starbucks-themed photoshoot which resulted in a .gif which tells the story of three heartbroken young maidens as they realize

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there is no more coffee.

I'm waiting for Starbucks to call and see if we're interested in marketing for them.

I’m waiting for Starbucks to call and see if we’re interested in marketing for them. (Also notice me sporting those sweet Converse sneaks with a suit.)

Update #2:

I finally changed the blog name! Here’s to hoping you like it now and I will like it in a few years. 😉 Please bear with me as I make this transition and try to correct all the links.

Before I go, however, I would like to direct you to a sweet blog. The owner is a mother of 5 (her oldest child is 5 years old) and her husband just got diagnosed with stage IV Melanoma. I’ve followed it for a while and can tell you that it’s one of the most comforting blogs on the internet. Please be praying for their family and, if you have the chance, comment over there to let them know.

God bless!

Rana

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

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

Tournaments, Talking, and Tired

Hello, my wonderful readers!

Just a quick update on what’s been going on. 🙂

Saturday, I have a speech and debate practice tournament all. day. long. As if the time change doesn’t make me tired enough, I have to get up around 5:00 a.m. or so in the morning on the one day I am able to sleep in. Yay. But it’s all good. I really enjoy debating. 🙂 I’m a member of NCFCA (National Christian Forensics Communications Association) and I’m a proud LDer. For more information on that, click here. 🙂 Also, Mom signed me up for impromptu. And I didn’t know that until a few weeks ago and I haven’t practiced for that or anything. O__________________________O Thanks, Mom. Very impromptu.

I’ve been spending my time doing school, cramming cases for both aff and neg (though mostly neg), and I’m proud to say that I have been getting in a little more than 1,000 words a day (with a few exceptions) in the third book of Desensitized. ^_^ I’m not doing NaNo, though I wish I could. Good luck to all of you involved though! 😉 I’m sure you’re doing great!

I’m a bit hesitant about sharing my writing with people… so… I’m going to swallow that fear and give y’all a snippet of book 3. *hides* Only, like, 2 people are reading it so far (big thanks to Una and Lisa) and they’re really nice. So don’t kill me. I’m still learning and I could be classified as an old newbie. 😛

So, here is the beginning of chapter 2:

Kody and I arrive at a small, quiet neighborhood a week later. I glance down at the paper in my hands.

“It says… 3805 Peck Street… I think. This penmanship is atrocious.” I look out the window and through the rain drops obscuring the clear glass. Kody and I both check the numbers on the houses and mailboxes and yawn. “Can’t wait to get there. I’m exhausted.”

“Yeah, I think I’ll crash too,” Kody responds, peering through the rain coming down like a thick blanket onto the windshield. “Ugh! This stupid rain!”

I nod. “It ain’t helping me stay awake any.”

“Same here.”

“Hey, how’d you find out where they were anyway?” I ask in the hope that a conversation would keep us both awake. We’ve been taking turns driving for the past three days, only stopping for food and bathroom breaks.

Kody glances over at me and grins. “I like to eavesdrop. When they were leaving, they told Cael where they were going and gave him their addresses in case something really bad happened. I wrote it down.”

“Oh. I guess you skipped out on the beautiful penmanship gene then, huh?” I smile, continuing to keep an eye out for the house numbers.

“Yeah. Skipped me an went to Ca- hey, there it is!” Kody pulls the car into a driveway. The rain is coming down so heavily that I can’t even see the house only a few yards away.

“I think we should wait until the rain lets up a bit,” I suggest, unbuckling my seatbelt. Kody does the same, nodding.

“I think this one is Blade’s house… Or, it’s one of his relative’s houses anyway. Bill Ferguson, I believe. He’s renting it. Core went to live with his cousin, Ryan Peterson.”

I turn my head slowly to stare at Kody. “I’m really disturbed now.”

The young man adopts an innocent look. “Why?”

“Dude, how do you even know that information? It’s pretty personal too. Do you know my number too?”

“Which number? Your cell phone number or the one on your wrist?”

My jaw drops slightly. I clap my hand over the scannable tattoo. “Wrist,” I challenge.

“Uh, I’m not great at numbers. But it’s 33092608, right?”

“Nine,” correct.

He grins cheekily. “I know. I just wanted to mess up so it wouldn’t totally freak you out.”

“Okay, that’s just-” My hands flail about as if that would convey how utterly terrified I am. “You’re such a creeper!” I manage to say at last.

Kody lets out a short bark of laughter. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“It’s not one. Creepers are… creepy. I don’t like them.”

“But you like me.”

“Not anymore.”

“Oh, come on. Yes, you do.”

“Nope.”

“Yes.”

“No.”

“Liar.”

“Creeper.”

“The fact’s already been established, weirdo.”

Aaaaaand now I have something fun for all of you! 😀 A video! It’s by a singer named Christina Grimmie and her friend. Christina is a 19 year old Christian who started homeschooling in 2010. Check out her music — it’s fantastic! ^_^

Here’s the vid (watch all 6 of them — they’re hilarious)! I hope you enjoyed the writing snippet! 🙂

God bless!

Rana

P.S.

If y’all could pray for the tournament to go well, I’d appreciate it. 🙂 It’s a long day and my club is hosting the tournament and there’ll be, like, a lot of people there. I think it’s 100 – 200 kids. I think. Anyway. Thanks!