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Jan. 2nd, 2013

minako one

The Best and Worst of 2012

The Best and Worst of 2012

2012 was a doozy. The best things happened to me, along with some of the worst stuff I’ve faced yet. A mission trip, a CRAZY surprise from my best friend, and a double-break-up are among the highlights-and lowlights of this past year.

he Best

Best Surprise: As stated above, Kelsey surprised me on my birthday. I thought we were Skyping so she could see me open my present, and that was true, but towards the end of the sketchbook she gave me were the words ‘10 days in Reno…and you’re leaving TOMORROW!’ I was shocked to tears, and was completely elated that I’d be spending an extended amount of time with my best friend.

Best Night: My birthday, knowing the next day I’d be flying to Reno to see Kelsey, and the night I was baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Best Day: March 4th-when my mom accepted Christ, and the day I received 3000$ towards my trip to Kenya.

Best Trip: Undeniably to Neyri, Kenya on my first mission trip.

Best Church Event: Easter Sunday. 41 spontaneous baptisms happened that day, including my mom, who gave her life to Christ two weeks prior!

Best News Story: None that I can think of. The news has been really crummy in 2012.

Best Accomplishment: Getting my permit and taking legit driving lessons.

Best New Artist: Phillip Phillips-American idol winner, (I knew he was going to win from day 1!), Colton Dixon-another AI contestant, and Hunter Hayes, the new cutey-boy of country music.

Best Moment of Faith: Trusting God to provide the funds for me to travel to Kenya.

Best Songs: Some Nights and We are Young by Fun, Wanted by hunter Hayes, Begin Again and We are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift (annoying yet terribly catchy), Stronger and Dark Side by Kelly Clarkson, Between the Raindrops by Lifehouse, A Thousand Years by Christina Perri, You Are by Colton Dixon, White Flag by Chris Tomlin, and Give me Faith and For the Honor by Elevation Worship

Best New Hobby: I’ve gone a bit craft-crazy lately, and I’ve been painting boxes and making all sorts of neat things.

Best Album: The soundtrack to Snow White and the Huntsman

Best New Show: Arrow and Beauty and the Beast

Best Movie: Snow White and the Huntsman, the Lucky One, and The Hunger Games

Best Book: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, Juliet by Anne Fortier, and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.

Best New Discovery: Having the courage to stand up for what I want in life.

The Worst

Worst Event: Severing ties with both my boyfriend and a good friend…all within a week.

Worst Day: The ones after the horrible shootings that have devastated our country.

Worst Night: The nights I grieved over the loss of friends

Worst Feeling: The feeling of losing those closest to me, and believing it was of my own doing.

Worst News Story: The shootings in Colorado and Connecticut

Worst Surprise: See WORST EVENT

Worst Book: There were none that it would deem ‘terrible’, but Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini was just ok, same with A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray and Existence by Abbi Glines

Worst Songs: None really

Worst Moment of Faith: I still procrastinate with goals and need to be more considerate of others. With God’s help I will accomplish both.

Worst New Artist: None

Worst Movie: Not terrible, but Brave was just ok.

Mar. 6th, 2012


Just when I thought it couldn't get better...

So 2012 is turning out to be a BIG year for me. Over the past few months, it was like God had kindled a spark and my passion for Him ignited like a blazing fire. I have not felt this way since I was saved 7years ago in a dark auditorium, and suddenly I want the whole world to know about this amazing God that I serve. Before my grandpa Dusty was admitted to the hospital in October, I had the opportunity to go on this awesome woman's retreat called the Walk to Emmaeus. While there, I was so flooded with love that there was no way my heart could contain it, and I came back refueled and ready to take on the world. Little did I know the battle I was about to face. I can say now that had I not gone on that retreat, there was NO way I would've handled the challenges that came. On one instance, my mom had asked for prayer, and I prayed with words that were not my own. I proclaimed the promises of God straight from Scripture, and she asked me, "How can you be so strong?"
I gave her an honest answer. I'm not...it's Christ whose strength is made perfect in my weakness. And it was no coincidence that the key verse from the retreat spoke exactly that. Philippians 4:13 says that I can do all things through Him who gives me strength, and that's exactly what happened. I wasn't strong enough on my own, but with Jesus encompassing me on all sides, I could do anything. While I grieved my grandpa's passing in late November, I knew where he was, and Whom he was with, so I had this overwhelming sense of peace, and could minister to my family in confidence that this wasn't the end, and that we would see him again someday.
In late January, I got word that after 2 years of raising money to build an orphanage in Kenya, we were finally able to send a team over there and see this vision become a reality. I knew God had called me when this whole thing started, but I was scared out of my mind. Did I have what it took? Where would the money come from? Did I have the courage to actually go through with it? Well, I had until March 11th to find out. I needed 2,500 dollars to buy my plane ticket, and that was 2,500 that I certainly did not have, nor would I considering the meager job I have. In short, God would have to pull a miracle to see this dream accomplished. So I prayed...and worried. I worried about it so much, looking at it from a human point of view, and I doubted that this was going to happen. After one Sunday, I prayed and toiled once again, and just like God, He used a quote from a Disney movie to get the point across.
"Trust, it's what FRIENDS do."
It felt like I was hit by a holy 2x4. I am called a friend of God, and He was calling me trust Him...for real. So I did. That sunny day in the grass, I gave the whole situation over to Him. A week later, Jena, a pastor's wife and friend came to me after service and told me someone had anonymously blessed me with $3000 for my trip!
My mouth hung open. Tears filled my eyes. Could this be true? Through the sowing of a mustard seed of faith, a large tree had grown in its place, its branches big enough to touch the lives of 100 kids in Kenya. God is going to use small, weak, insignificant me to do something HUGE for His glory, and I am amazed and humbled by His provision.

You think that's good? Check this out!

After that, it was like God's holy fire had consumed me and it shown like a beacon for all to see. I took that victory to my co-workers and in another unexpected blessing, they are taking part in helping me raise the remaining $1,000 I need. Spurred by another word from God, I began tithing again, and I was busy with Carside orders all the following week. Things like that make me wonder why I wasn't doing these things sooner!
Flash to this past Sunday, the 4th of March 2012...for this was the biggest blessing of all. I invited my mom and grandma to church, and though it was touch and go for a second, they came, and I knew that such a situation could only mean God had something great up His sleeve. When I saw the cantaloupes on the platform, I had a hunch. My pastor had preached a sermon using cantaloupes only once before...on the very day I was baptized. When I heard the words 'money' and 'tithing', I started to get excited. My mom and grandma had also heard this sermon before, and I knew mom had expressed interest in tithing, so I figured that this was confirmation for her to take that step of obedience. Praying as such, I bowed my head as Jeff gave the altar call, praying as I always do for the Spirit to do His work, and sure enough, a hand was acknowledged. I was praising God for that one soul, and we all stood and clapped as Jeff invited them to come forward. When I saw who was walking toward the altar, I froze. My mother, who I had been praying for since I became a believer, was walking towards my pastor, and the heavens opened. I couldn't believe my eyes, and I let my voice raise and my feet left the floor for a few seconds as I jumped for joy. It would be different if she had walked up there with a crowd of people, safe and anonymous. But she came alone, with no one to hide her, and then, miracle of miracles, my grandma turns to me and says 'come with me.' In a Spirit-filled daze, I walked with her up to where my mom stood, and I could see her heart in her eyes. Jeff prayed over us and I realized with a jolt that there were 3 generations standing before God's throne, and that this was only the beginning. The Word says that the prayer of a righteous man (or woman) is powerful and effective, and I saw the fruit of those prayers standing on either side of me.

So yeah. The past couple months have been all kinds of awesome, and God's just getting started!

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
-Isaiah 43:19

Feb. 25th, 2012


Writer's Block: Weatherman’s Day

What is the weather like right now?
It is a BEAUTIFUL 80 degrees here in AZ. Windows are open, birds are singing, and I am enjoying a cup of coffee while browsing on Livejournal!

Jan. 23rd, 2012


Missions Trip to Nyeri, Kenya

Good evening friends!

I know I've virtually abandoned this blog, save for life-impacting events. This is such a one. 2 years ago my church starting a fundraiser called 'Project Belwop', partnering with a church in California to build an orphanage in Kenya to support 100 orphans. Here's some more info:

Project Belwop exists to give hope and a home to the violated, neglected and orphaned children on Kenya.  It was started in 2005 with the vision of one woman to provide a shelter where every child has a safe home and enjoys equal rights.  The home is located in the Asian quarters area of Nyeri, in Kenya’s central province.

Over fifty children and young teenagers have called Belwop a home;  some for a night, others for a few days, a few weeks, or a few months, depending on the nature of their problems. Some of these children  have been reunited or reconciled with their families and relatives, while still others have attained adult age and have been able to go work and stand on their own.  There are currently 20 children at the Center.

Flash forward to today. We have successfully raised the money to build the orphanage and now we are able to go to Kenya and participate in this life-changing opportunity. Now here's the hard part. It's $4,000 for the whole 10-day trip, and I have to have $2,500 of it by March 11th. WHAT?!

When I first heard about this, God immediately told me, "You're going." Now if you know the Bible story about Jonah, you know the consequence of ignoring God's call (and I for one DO NOT want to spend three days in the belly of a fish!). So I filed that back into my head, and now that call flashes in front of my mind. My pastor always says if a dream or vision doesn't scare the heck out of you, it's too small. This vision scares me. A LOT. Never mind the fact that I'd be traveling to a foreign country and might face any amount of mishaps...I simply can't afford it. I work at a restaurant and I guarantee my paycheck wouldn't even make the slightest dent in the cost. Despite my fears and doubts, I still hear God's call on this one, and if I know one thing, it is that He is faithful. If He wants me to go, He will provide a way even when it looks impossible.

But I still have to do my part. Money for this trip is not going to fall in my lap. My pastor also said, if you provide the natural, God will provide the super. I post this here because I love this site and the people on it, so if you're interested follow this link. Thanks a bunch!


Dec. 24th, 2011


The Best and Worst of 2011

The Best and Worst of 2011

Here we are again, at the end of another year. I feel as though this year has flown by without my consent, as it may have for some of you. Once more, I feel it's essential that I at least do my followers the courtesy of giving my annual 'best and worst' for this year. We have started another decade into the 2000's, and things have gone from handwritten letters and paperback books to Kindle's, computer tablets, and social networks. Despite the whirlwind of technology, life is still life and every year comes with its own trials and triumphs. Here are some of mine...

The Best

Best Surprise: Having my best friend Kelsey stay with me in August, and the surprises I found in the sketchbook she gave me

Best Night: Having dinner with my friends and laughing until we cried and exchanging story after story. I felt as though I finally belonged.

Best Trip: To California for church camp. At the Flood I took a step of faith, both physically and spiritually, and made new friends because of it. And my team won the Gauntlet. Go Team Orange!

Best Church Event: When we unanimously voted to change the church's name from Mesa First Assembly to Church on the Journey. Since then we've seen it grow and change in ways we would have not thought possible.

Best News Story: The miraculous recovery of Gabby Giffords after the Tuscon shooting in January and the news our Arizona Diamondbacks won the NL West.

Best Accomplishment: Finishing the first installment of 'The Story', with Kelsey's help, and growing further as a writer.

Best New Artist: Patrick Ryan Clark and For King and Country

Best Moment of Faith: Going to the Flood and the events after going on the Walk to Emaeus. My grandpa was in the hospital and I found strength to deal with the challenges leading up to his death. I was no doubt prepared by the ministering of love I received on that retreat.

Best Songs: Mercy by Patrick Ryan Clark, Busted Heart by For King and Country, Strong Enough by Matthew West, The Same God by Newsong, Strong Enough to Save by Tenth Avenue North

Best New Hobby: Making perfume, though I've never actually tried it yet. The concept is fascinating though.

Best Album:Where Would I Be by Patrick Ryan Clark

Best New Show: Once Upon a Time, Grimm, A Gifted Man

Best Movie: Tangled, Crazy Stupid Love

Best Story: I finished my novel about Jesus, titled 'Everlasting Love' and submitted it to a Christian writing contest

Best Book: The entire Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa and Beautiful Disaster by Laura Spinella

Best New Discovery: See BEST SURPRISE

Best Day: Kelsey's arrival, for I had been looking forward to it all summer. Also the day I went with my friend Linda to the Beth Moore simulcast and when I gave a signed copy of Christopher Paolini's new book to my co-worker, Brenna. I will never forget the look on her face.

The Worst

Worst Event: The passing of my grandpa Dusty at age 78 after surgery on his heart and arteries.

Worst Day: Ones where I was plagued with sickness and injury.

Worst Night: The ones where I worried over the strain of my family due to my grandpa's hospitalization.

Worst Feeling: The feeling of not being strong enough and unable to do anything of consequence.

Worst News Story: The shooting in Tuscon. January 8th.

Worst Surprise: See WORST EVENT.

Worst Book: None

Worst Story: My unfinished stories

Worst Songs: None really

Worst Moment of Faith: I've made some pretty foolish and dumb moves this year, but at least I am forgiven and redeemed.

Worst New Artist: None

Worst Accomplishment: See WORST STORY

Sep. 20th, 2011


Faires, sirens and fallen angels Oh my! My Summer Reads 2011

Hola Livejournal lurkers! This summer I have stumbled upon many delicious reads, all of which involve some sort of supernatural twist.

In April/May I found a book on a Wal Mart bookshelf. It was called The Iron King by Julie Kagawa, and at that point, I was in the mood for reading something new. There were other books on my list, but I was curious despite myself and plucked this book from its place. It stars Meghan Chase, a normal girl about to turn sixteen. As fate would have it, her best friend is a legendary prankster, and when her brother is kidnapped, he joins her on a magical quest to save him. This world is the realm of faerys and other mythical creatures such as goblins and trolls, as well as some original creatures made especailly for the series.
What also piqued my intrest (and my female hormones) there is a prince involved, and he's not exactly the most friendly (I think ICY is a more accurate term). His name is Ash, and he captured me from the first page I met him. This pairing with Ash and Meghan screams 'forbidden love', and I HAD to read it. The Iron King thrilled me, and the following two books ( The Iron Daughter and The Iron Queen) followed suit. I eagerly look forward to Julie's fourth installment, 'The Iron Knight', which comes out on the 25th of October.

In late July, I heard about a book that was advertised on Goodreads.com, a site I haunt frequently. It involved a young siren named Lexi who accidentally kills her boyfriend with her song. As a resut, she labels herself as an outcast, emitting a 'stay away from me OR ELSE'  vibe to all those around her, including her former circle of friends. That doesn't stop a guy from trying to break through her icy exterior, but he gets a lot more than he bargained for. It's called Ripple by Mandy Hubbard, and while it took me forever to buy, I read it all too quickly.  It was just that good. It has a touch of Nickolas Sparks to it, with two friends trying to heal after the death of someone close to them,and Lexi's story is heartbreaking. Defintely worth the wait and I hope Lexi's story continues.

Lastly, I became fascinated by the concept of angels in the middle of August, and I have yet to shake it. There were at least three novels about these beings on my never-ending list, but I finally settled on Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. The plot is as dark as its cover, but was alluring all the same...just like its male lead. I heard about this one in passing, voting for Ash of the Iron Fey series (mentioned above) in a contest against a fallen angel named Patch. Ash had all of  my attention at the time, but upon seeing this novel again, I remembered the opponent Ash had defeated and decided to take a look. Man, this book did not disappoint! I found it on a shelf of a used book store (along with other selections I added to the infamous 'list'), and when I finished with the novel I was currently reading, this one was next. I started it on a stormy Saturday night, and finished it just today. This read had everything- mystery,angst, suspense, and oh yeah...a  LOT of sexual tension. I was extremely satisfied with the ending and cannot wait to read its sequels, Crescendo (which is already out) and Silence, which will be released in early October.

So in the span of six months or so, I have traveled to Washington, Maine,and have even crossed into another world entirely, and have loved every minute of it. As the weather cools and the leaves turn, you will no doubt find me curled in a chair with yet another exciting read. For now, so long!

Sep. 9th, 2011


9/11 Anniversary Songfic

Good afternoon to all. With the 10th anniversary of the terrist attacks coming up, I've been reminded of how much that day impacted me as well as the rest of us. I wrote a songfic a few years ago, and I thought I'd post it to my journal. This is by no means meant to offend anyone or make light of the tradegy, but it gives a human face to the day that changed our lives forever.

Read more...Collapse )




Sep. 3rd, 2011

Date with Ash

This entry is prompted by a contest by the most awesome Julie Kagawa, author of the Iron Fey series. She asked us 'if you could go on a date/outing/adventure with Ash or Puck, what would you do?" This is harder than I thought but I will try to come up with something decent...and G-rated...

Of course I'd pick Ash because he's hekka-gorgeous and has mystery and intrigue pouring out of his ears :). It would be on All Hallow's Eve, and I'd be invited to a masqerade ball. I'm alone and longing for a partner to dance the night away with, when I feel a cool breath on my neck.
"Looking for someone?" he'd ask huskily. I would spin around, my black strapless gown following my movement. There he is, in all his frosty glory, wearing a white tunic and black leggings-my perfect partner. His silver eyes gleam from behind a mask, and I blush under his scrutiny.
"How'd you know?" I'd gasp, breathless in his presence. 
A slight smile plays on his lips. "I heard you all the way from the wyldwood," he explains as he lifts my hand to his perfect lips. "You called me, and here I am."
My heart thuds painfully in my chest and I'm sure he can feel it pulsing in my wrist. My longing for someone to share this magical night must have reached him, even beyond the Vale that seperated the mortal realm from the world of fey. A familiar tune strums from the dance floor, and he leads me in a waltz worthy of Oberon himself.

"Let's get out of here," he'd whisper to me after a few more magical dances. We'd slip away from the party and into the cool moonlight. Storm clouds gather, and shadows pass as we walk through halls of ivy; he never lets go of my hand. I supress a giggle, feeling like we are the only two people in the entire world. He stops in a shaft of silver light, his eyes glittering.
"I had a wonderful time with you," he said. "But I feel like something's been missing."
His statement baffles me, because this night has been nothing short of perfect. He reaches around my head and unties the mask that keeps my features hidden. A beautiful smile lifts his face.
"Better," he breathes as he leans in to kiss my cheek. He smells of frost and peppermint, just as I imagined he would. He leans away from me, and I can't breathe.
"Never be afraid to show people who you are," he tells me, his words ringing with truth. "Trust me, I've had to learn that the hard way, and it would be a shame if a heart like yours hardens when it has so much to give."
He tips his head up as a peal of thunder rumbles overhead. "I should go," he says, and my heart gives an anxious pull. He starts to leave, the first drops of rain soaking the stone path.
I don't think about what comes next, but I cross the short distance between us and wrap my arms around his neck, and as the heavens open, I kiss him, knowing I wil never have this chance again.
He releases me after a moment, the ribbons that hold his mask lossened. I finish untying it and toss it to the ground. I take his face between my hands, holding his perfect gaze.
"You too," I whisper.  "You may be the Winter prince, but anyone can change. Remember that."
He nods as he steps away. I can't read his face in the shadows, but I know it's time, time for him to return to his world, and for me to go back to mine.
"I won't forget this night," he says as he turns away. I can hear the smile in his voice. "Thank you."
With that, he disappears in a shimmer of glamour, and I sigh, knowing I just had a date with Ash, Prince of the Winter Court, and my new hero.

Aug. 3rd, 2011


Writer's Block: Life in the boob tube

What fictional television show would you want to live in? What character would you play?

This question couldn't have come at a better time! Today is Darien's 37th birthday, and granted he is a fictional character but I am celebrating it anyway. With that in mind, I undoubtedly choose Sailor Moon, a popular anime series from the nineties. As for character choice, that has been a solid decision for years. I chose Mina, aka Sailor Venus, because she looked the most like me and shares my beliefs about love and friendship. She fights for those beliefs and would gladly die for those she cares about. If I were faced with such a decision, I hope I would do the same.

Jul. 23rd, 2011


Writer's Block: Life imitating art

Which movie or book character are you most like, and why?

One of the hardest questions in the world. Over the years, I have related to many characters from books I've read. Mostly I relate to those who are outcasts in the world, as I am, and I tend to live vicariously through them when they are swept up into a grand adventure. Such things don't happen in the real world, like finding out you're a faery princess or falling in love with the perfect guy. However, this life has its own twists and turns and though it lacks mythical creatures and forbidden love, it is still one heck of an adventure. Here are some beloved characters I relate to.

Meghan Chase from the Iron Fey series
She is picked on and shunned by her schoolmates and her best friend is a fellow outcast. She has issues with her biological father, which I do as well, and even things with her 'earthly' dad are a bit shaky (but that's not his fault, since he was brainwashed of his memories after being stolen by a certain queen). Even with those similarities I could never do the things that she did to save those she loved. I don't know if I would have the courage to go through with it.

Anne from the War of the Roses trilogy
She is, like the first book states, the innocent. She is a poor girl who finds herself in a world of lust and intrigue and she doesn't know what to do. She is harassed on many occasions by the eldest son of the household, sworn to silence. She is good, kind, and works hard to earn her keep, coming to the aid of those who need her. When she moves into the palace, she toils with the growing emotions toward a man she can never have. Her emotions are raw and real, and throughout the series, she grows into herself and embraces the life that has been given to her. Though I didn't like the way the series ended (I'm a sucker for happy endings and that didn't happen in this one) I respect her for making the tough decisions, sacrificing her own happiness for the good of those who depend on her.

Hadassah from the Mark of the Lion series

From both a female and Christian standpoint, I can identify with her immensely. Her life is full of trial and tribulation and she wonders if God had abandoned her. It seems not, for her life is spared and she is brought to serve in a Roman household. She lives her life plainly and shows the love of Christ in serving those around her. From her example, I learned that all I have to do is live my life according to the gospel, and God will do the rest. She falls for the eldest son and even though she loves him with all her heart, she loves God more and refuses to denounce her faith, even to be with him, even if it means being thrown to the lions. I can only hope that I have that kind of courage if ever faced with that life-altering decision.

Those are only a few of the characters I can identify with, and I'm sure that as more books cross my path, there will still be many more.

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