Monday, December 30, 2013

22: How Have I Changed In the Past 2 Years?

I'm finally going to do one with a little more substance.  Are you ready? 

22: How Have I Changed In the Past 2 Years?

Now I have to try to flip the clock in my head back 2 years...

I'm first going to state the main events that have occurred, then I'll describe how each one has affected me.

Since 12/30/2011

I went to my last winter retreat as a student
This was kind of like the beginning of the end for me.  The end to my time as a student at church.  It was a great year filled with laughs, a powerful message and building things out of driftwood with the guys.  But leaving the camp was super hard that year, knowing if I were to return it would no longer be as a student.  

Took a tour of the college I would soon choose to attend
I didn't want to go to 'The Ville' at first.  "It's a teacher school." I told my mom.  But she convinced me to just take a tour to see if I liked it.  Being stubborn it took some talking to get me to agree but I finally said yes and went to take the tour.  I loved the campus and basically fell in love with it.  I also learned an important lesson about things not always being what they seem.  Even though it is still largely a 'teacher school' my college has a very underrated art program which I am happy to be a part of. 

Took my last Art class with Mr. Huck
Art Concentration.  This was the class that any sensible artist at my high school wanted to be asked into.  And I got in both junior and senior year.  During senior year my art concentration class became like a little family.  Our teacher, Mr. Huck, was my favorite teacher in high school.  He pushed me to be a better artist in my four years and encouraged me.  

My last year in Mpact definitely was the year that made me consider becoming an Mpact leader.  

First Date
Ok, so this one actually makes me laugh.  I'm just glad that my 'first date nerves' are out of the way so now I just have to worry about the 'first date with a guy i'd actually want a relationship with nerves'.

I went to Prom solo, which let's be honest, is the best way to do it.  It was a gradual boost in my confidence for some reason, along with independence.

The first step to 'real life'.

Selena Turned 1
My cat turned 1.  I know this doesn't seem like a big deal to some people.  But, in the past most of my cats have been outdoor cats and that usually meant they either disappeared or made friends with the road out front.  This was the first cat since my cat Mikey (who disappeared right after his 1st birthday) to turn 1. (She's 2 now.)

Independence, sharing, confidence, self-discipline.  A lot of things were impressed upon me during my time in college so far.  I remember after a few months realizing how many more guy friends I had in college vs. high school.  Confidence has always been a shaky subject for me.  However in college I finally had to learn that if you want to be friends with someone YOU have to make it happen.  I came out of my shell more than ever.

Navs gave me a home away from home, they are like a little family for me.  I learned a lot about my faith in having to be away from home and Navs was helpful in helping me keep the foundation of my faith strong.  

ZEN as I like to call her, or baby Zoey, is my cousin's daughter.  She's the closest thing I have to a niece or nephew and she's simply adorable.  

The Passion Conference (which took place in Atlanta Georgia and also marked the longest distance I've traveled without my parents) was astonishing.  It was an experience I don't expect to ever forget.  The one stand out moment was one morning standing in the Georgia Dome worshiping along with 60,000 other people and thinking "There are so many more believers out there worshiping along with us.  And so many more in the past and future... imagine all of us being together some day in heaven worshiping God together."  It was an overwhelming thought.  I often refer back to that moment when I worship today.

My internship is one of my favorite things right now.  It's taught me how to work come together as a team to create something that truly will influence people.  

Started liking someone new
You can read about this particular change in the second half of my post called What Kind of Person Attracts Me.

Became an Mpact leader
Becoming an Mpact leader has brought out my responsible side. ;) Bet cha thought I didn't have one huh.

Said "farewell" to my best friend
Honestly is was more like a "whatever" and I just didn't respond to her text.  I don't want to speak ill of her since I still do care about her dearly, so I won't give you many details.  Basically I finally came to the realization that our relationship didn't resemble a two way street very well.  We both had grown apart a bit and literal distance didn't help things much.  I am still disappointed in how we let it end though, and I hope one day we can at least have closure in the form of actual face-to-face interaction.  Since then, however I have seen what healthy friendships look like and have continued to grow closer to the people around me.

Sister got engaged
My bigger sis got engaged!  So far it's been filled with excitement, but I know I am going to have to have that 'realization moment' at the wedding when she walks down the aisle and bawl.  Tears of joy of course, but also because of remembering the good old days of childhood are behind us.

This blog
This blog.  Through it I have been able to express myself a little differently.  There's still a wall I have put up but with this medium it's a little easier to pull some of the bricks down.

Overall the quality I would say has changed the most in me over the past two years is the improvement in my self-confidence.  

So, in closing, thank you to all of you who have been my support group and my inspiration.  I am truly blessed to have friends and family like you.

-XO Juls

Saturday, December 28, 2013

21: One Of My Favorite Shows

I feel like this post is uber appropriate since I watched like 5 reruns of it earlier...
21: One Of My Favorite Shows

Those that I'm closer to should already know what show I'm referring to, and if not then you probably also don't understand half of the references that leave these lips.  C'mon son.

My favorite show will soon be entering it's 8th season in which the most dashing detective duo on TV will resume catching the bad guys with psychic flare.  That's right my favorite show is wait for iiiiiit....


You know that's right.

Basic Premise:  Shawn Spencer is a psychic detective who works as a consultant for the Santa Barbara police department.  He's also not really psychic.  His partner in 'solving crime' is Burton 'Gus' Guster, a pharmaceutical salesman.  The detectives he partners with are a peppy young blonde detective named Juliet O'hara and the sterner head detective of the SBPD Carlton 'Lassie' Lassiter.  While solving numerous crimes Shawn is also simultaneously restoring his broken relationship with his father Henry Spencer, a retired cop who worked for the SBPD.  Shawn and Gus' crime solving methods are a little unorthodox, and filled with 80s references.  

Favorite Episode: Last Night Gus
Shawn, Gus, Lassie, and Woody (the medical examiner) wake up in the Psych office not able to remember what happened the night before.  This sends them on a quest around town as they begin to piece together the night, oh and also prove that Lassie didn't kill a guy. 
     Best quote from that episode:  Woody: "Guster, your cholesterol is dangerously high."
                                                               Shawn:  "I told you eating something called Stick-of-                                                                                        butter-in-a-bun was a bad idea."
                                                               Gus:  "I can't help it Shawn.  My body craves buttery                                                                                     goodness."
                                                               Shawn:  "You are buttery."
                                                               Gus:  "You know that's right."

Favorite Villain:  Pierre Despereaux 
Pierre is an infamous art thief played by Cary Elwes (that's right, The Dread Pirate Roberts himself).  

This show captured my heart as soon as I started watching it, from all the 'Gus Don't Be A's (Gus, don't be the American adaptation of the British Gus.) and Lassie's 'I'd Rather's (I'd rather shower with a bear.)  all the way to Shawn's nicknames for Gus. (Gus 'Sillypants' Jackson, Gus T.T. Showbiz, Nick-Nack, Lavender Gooms, Scrooge Jones, Hollabackatcha, and many more.)

Psych just aired a 2 hour special recently which was a musical.  Psych The Musical.  It was awesome!!

P.S. don't forget to look for the pineapple in every episode.

Other Shows That Are Faves:
  • Lost (No longer airing)
  • Community
  • Castle
  • Pretty Little Liars
  • Monk  (No longer airing)
  • Vampire Diaries (The older seasons were way better)
  • Merlin (I'm pretty sure there are no more seasons coming which saddens me)
  • The Office  (No longer airing)
  • New Girl
  • Grimm
  • Warehouse 13
  • How I Met Your Mother (Wrapping up finale season)
  • Lie To Me  (No longer airing)
  • Sherlock
  • Doctor Who (10 was the best Doctor, and Donna the best companion)
  • Heroes  (No longer airing)
  • One Piece (There are so many episodes of this show it's impossible to catch up)
  • Agents of Shield
Okay, i promise i'm done with this list.  I just like a lot of shows, ok?

-XO Juls

Friday, December 27, 2013

10 Songs To Keep You Warm This Winter

This time, instead of back roads and country air filled with the smell of wood smoke, the feel of this playlist is snowy nights wrapped up in a blanket watching movies or reading a good book next to the fireplace.

The Winter Playlist:
-10 Songs That Will Keep You Warm This Winter-

Ring Of Fire- Home Free
This group was my favorite in this last season 
of The Sing Off & for good reason.  
Their rendition of Ring Of Fire makes me 
all giddy, just listen to that bass!

Home, I Saw- Glan Hartmann
This song has a 'coming home' 
sort of feel to it.

Between The World And You- The Hawk In Paris
This song is just a little haunting which 
is one of the reasons I love it.

White Owl (Mason Jar & Josh Garrels Remix)- Josh Garrels
I chose this version over the original 
because it was a little smoother and 
it honestly reminded me of snowfall.

Counting Stars- OneRepublic
This has quickly become one 
of my favorite songs.  
I know not everybody is a OneRepublic 
fan but this song sure made me one.

We Rise Like Smoke- Kyler England
This song is cool and soothing, 
like a Werther's Original.

Every Day- Magic Man
One Word: 

Grace Kelly- MIKA
MIKA is a secret obsession of mine, 
well at least his songs.  
I love singing along to this one!

Amsterdam- Imagine Dragons
I don't think I need to explain 
"Why Imagine Dragons?", 
it's Imagine Dragons.  
But "Why this song specifically?", 
well that;s because it has a chiller feel to it.

90-Mile Water Wall- The National
It's a little sad, but is toe-tappingly catchy too.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Guardians of the North

Who wants to see what I've written so far in the novel I've started?  Well too bad, that's what you're getting.  The idea for this has been floating around in my head for a couple years.  It's not very well developed but I hope to work through that as my ideas get put to paper.  The working title is The Guardians of the North, and it's inspired by authors like Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, Frank Peretti, and Ted Dekker.  So, here we go...

Androcles never did anything very much out of the ordinary.  He thought of himself as a normal everyday type of boy who did normal every day types of things.  He lived on a farm with his mother and father in one of the more rural townships in the area.  Though basically all of Regen Valley was rural, so that wasn’t really saying much.  His mother, a seamstress, made his clothes which were plain and sturdy for working on the farm, while his father trained him to look after cows and tend to the field.  They only had one field, and it wasn’t much to brag about, a smallish sort of square that took up half of their property and grew wheat.  Androcles knew he looked plain, with pale hair and eyes of the same hazel tone, he could almost blend in with the wheat when it was in full.  For such an ordinary boy, nothing like what he was about to experience would even cross his mind.

                “How are we even supposed to know when we are there?” squawked Besnik, a feathery sort of creature.  His long legs rested atop the head of a tremendous cow Elk.  His companion sighed again, having heard this question one too many times on their journey, “I told you, there will be a sign.  Now be patient, Besnik, or I’ll make you fly the rest of the way there.”  Besnik didn’t like that idea.  The pair continued walking across the plains the sun high overhead. “Shylah, what do you mean by ‘a sign’?  I mean, what do you think it will be?”  The elk twisted her muzzle as she puzzled about the question she had been asking herself since they first set out.  “I’m not sure, but we’ll know it when we see it.”  

So far Besnik and Shylah are my favorite characters, at least from the personalities I've developed in my mind for them; loyal but sassy.  However Androcles is the main character so I should probably be focusing on him more.  Anyways, be sure to look for The Gurardians of the North in a local bookstore near you starting probably never.  

Feel free to leave me any constructive criticism that you would like, I'm sure there a couple amazing writers among you. 

P.S. quick sketch of Androcles I did a while ago: 

-XO Juls

Friday, December 20, 2013

12: My Day Bulleted

12: My Day Bulleted

  • Woke up
  • Went back to sleep
  • Woke up: The sequel
  • Bummed around
  • Worked on some Christmas presents
  • Wrapped said presents
  • Headed in to church to pick some stuff up
  • "Broke in" to Brandon's office to get Shannon's garland (it was all legit don't worry)
  • Explored the storage rooms to find some other things that were misplaced
  • Drove to Shannon's to give her back her garland & hung out a while
  • Came home and cleaned up a little
  • Brought down the Christmas decor
  • Decorated our living room sans tree
  • Watched some hulu
  • ... and I'm still watching hulu, not a supremely productive day...
  • while watching the Colbert Report on hulu I got in some primo snuggle time with Selena
  • after almost a lifetime of hulu I wrapped more presents (actually finished all of my holiday wrapping today!! Yay!)
  • Chilled out to some Christmas tunes
  • Texted some of my peeps about a game night
  • Critiqued a friend's menu design
  • Edited this post
  • Next i plan to go to dream land, good night all

-XO Juls

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Something Of Importance

This post is more for you than for me.  I want you to practice a little bit of interaction (scary, I know).  I want you to actually comment on this post, even if this is your first time even on this blog.  I'm going to ask a question and I want you guys to answer, it's not a hard question either, and your answers can be short and simple or an entire book if you prefer.  I don't mind either way.  And if you've read this far then you totally have to do it, no backsies.

The question: What is one thing that made you smile today?

The punishment if you don't comment?  You get to feel slightly bad about it the rest of the day...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

7: Zodiac Sign: Does It Fit My Personality?

*sidenote: 7 is my favorite number!
**double sidenote: Christmas is a mere 6 days away! 

Anyways... to the post!

7: Zodiac Sign: Does It Fit My Personality?

I'm not really into Astrology.  It's kind of a pointless subject, anything said about a specific sign is just overly non-specific attributes that can apply to a multitude of people regardless of their 'sign.'  But every now and again pointless things are fun to look at. 

I'm a Gemini.  That means I was born between May 21-June21.  According to one of those facty-type pages you can find through Google, Gemini is the third sign of the zodiac and is associated with the element of air.  Its ruling planet is Mercury and its quality is Mutable.  I really don't know what any of that means but it's what 'makes you a Gemini' I guess.  Gemini's sign is the twins.  

I guess the twins aspect explains why I have a habit of talking to myself so much.  I usually do have a difficult time making up certain decisions and I am most definitely creative and life of the party type of person.  Below I have listed some quotes from on the Gemini.  I've emboldened the traits that I feel I resonate with.

"The Gemini-born can easily see both sides of an issue, a wonderfully practical quality."

"they love to talk! It's not just idle chatter with these folks, either. The driving force behind a Gemini's conversation is their mind."

"Dalliances with these folks are always enjoyable, since Geminis are bright, quick-witted and the proverbial life of the party. Even though their intellectual minds can rationalize forever and a day, Geminis also have a surplus of imagination waiting to be tapped. Can a Gemini be boring? Never! " 

"They can be wishy-washy, too, changing their mood on a simple whim."  

"Further, the Twins are adaptable and dexterous and can tackle many things at once. It's a good thing, too, when you consider their myriad interests. The downside of such a curious mind, however, can be a lack of follow-through." 

"They are quick-thinking, quick-witted and fast on their feet, much like the messenger god of Roman mythology that rules their sign."

"While their effusiveness may be misconstrued as scheming by some, Geminis generally have their hearts in the right place. It's that ample energy which can also paint them as scatterbrained and unfocused, but behind all that zipping around, the Twins are busily filing all that good data away."

"Air signs are the thinking person's signs, and the Twins don't disappoint. Those born under this sign prize intellect and consider it the key to all things. At work, they are the clearest of thinkers, looking at a project from all (well, at least two) sides and putting forth some logical and well-thought-out ideas. This quality makes Geminis an asset to any team, and while these folks are not inclined to take the lead, they are a most valuable component."  ((False: If it's anything creative I am very likely to try to take the lead. Otherwise not so much.))

"They love the camaraderie of games and play, which is why they excel at team events. Whether it's volleyball or a game of charades, Geminis are always ready to play. A book club would certainly stimulate their literary minds." ((Unless it's Dutch Blitz, then it's every cousin for themselves.))

"In the game of love, Geminis are playful, flirtatious and endless fun."  ((Well no doubt about that.)) 

So what do you think?  Does the Gemini sign fit me?  Does your zodiac symbol fit your personality? Let me know in the comments.

-XO Juls

The Filipino Adventure

(Another piece from the English Comp. class I'm in.  Enjoy!)
7th grade is a bit of a blur for me.  It was so long ago that I barely remember the good parts and they probably weren’t that important anyways.  It was middle school after all.  There is one memory though that is vivid and clear.  Part way through my 7th grade year I went on a 2-week mission trip to the Philippines with my parents, my cousin and my aunt and uncle along with a team from our church.  It was a long process going from flight to flight; large planes progressively got smaller.

One flight in particular was my favorite.  The long flight from North America to Hong Kong, China was simply spectacular (aside from the fact that I missed the showing of Flushed Away).  I looked out of one of the windows while we were crossing the Arctic, sheets of never ending snow beneath us, I could see the sun setting on the horizon.  I crossed to the other side of the plane to look out that window.  The snowy landscape was still beneath us but instead of hints of the sun I saw the moon large and bright staring back at me.  It is one of the most beautiful things I remember.  We then got to Hong Kong waited around 4 hours for our next flight and eventually we made it to Manila, the capitol city of the Philippines.

The driving in the Philippines is nothing like North America.  Stop signs are more like suggestions than laws and horns are used frequently if not regularly.  Even with the intense roadways our van did make it to the camp we would be staying at and working with.  The camp was the Word of Life Camp one of many branches of an organization that partners with missionaries.  The missionary couple that ran this camp was Jon and Dawn Fogle.  They knew our group would be tired from our flight, but it was morning in the Philippines and the best way to combat jetlag is to dive right into a normal schedule for the new time zone.

Our team’s main goal was to make a new sidewalk for the camp leading from the pool area, across the field, and up to the ‘snack shack’.  The new sidewalk was needed since the camp was expecting a group from Johnny and Friends to be coming to stay which meant that the camp needed wheelchair accessibility.  Being one of the younger members of the team I only helped with the large project a little bit and mainly took on odd small jobs here and there like painting bunk beds and clearing brush.  I also befriended the children of the missionary family.  I quickly learned my new favorite word in the native tongue Tagalog, “Marienda” which was the time between lunch and dinner when you ate a snack, and my cousin whose name is Bobby befriended a man who was building a wall at the camp, his name was Boi.

On our teams day off the Fogle family took us out to the markets, then took us to visit the island of Corregidor which has cannons on it left over from fighting the Japanese, and another island where we enjoyed the beach and went snorkeling.  I even found starfish while snorkeling that were bright blue.

Those memories will stay with me for a long time to come, and though they are happy memories it adds a burden to my shoulders as of late, especially with the recent typhoon that devastated the country.  As my heart and prayers go out to the Philippines I can’t help but feel very close to the people there, a place where I have memories and my cousin has a friend, and our missionary friends have a ministry.  But overall, as the typhoon aftermath is handled and the years go by I will always be able to remember 7th grade through this one unforgettable experience.

-XO Juls

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Julie Annette

Hello all, this is my first piece from my writing course I'm taking this winter.  I like what I have so far so I thought you might enjoy it too.

Julie Annette
My name is Julie.  It’s kind of short but it fits well with the middle name Annette.  It can really only be shortened to Juls (though most people don’t spell it the way I prefer). Julie; It means youthful, beautiful or vivacious. I think it means something more like a blue-ish sort of purple that you can kind of feel lingering.  Or the smell of a thunderstorm as it’s brewing.  My name means the laughter shared among close friends on long nights and the feeling of extreme happiness that could only come from a cat purring as it sits on your lap.  It’s the intensity of brush strokes on a canvas or of graphite on paper.  My name is a beat up old Jeep called Sinatra that somehow keeps running and the fascinating moment when you realized you stayed up till the sunrise reading a book you couldn’t put down.  Julie means hands that sometimes smell of warm vanilla sugar shoved into knit gloves when it’s even sort of brisk outside because they are always cold.  It’s the sound of singing in praise and worship on a Tuesday night with people who feel like family.  My name is more than 5 letters and 2 syllables.  It’s a feeling, an emotion, a way of being as well as who I long to be.  When my name is in full, it has a flow, a sincerity that just a first name cannot hold.  Julie Annette.  It is an extension of my personality, a portrait of the woman I am and want to be. 

XO- Juls