This isn ’ t really writing-related but it ’ s rather compatible with Saturday’s post and it’s an interesting thing to ponder: what would...

This isnt really writing-related but its rather compatible with Saturday’s post and it’s an interesting thing to ponder: what would life be like if we let Jesus live through you and me? It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot since Camp, what with the lesson about “echoing” Jesus, and I gotta say, this is something I’d kinda like to try. ;)


So what’d you think of the song? Got any Big Daddy Weave favorites? Also, does anyone have any idea how they came up with that band name? Lol. Share your thoughts in the comments!

Guess what? It is finally next summer , and once again, Mission Camp was phenomenal . My friends and I had the best time, constantly worsh...

Guess what? It is finally next summer, and once again, Mission Camp was phenomenal. My friends and I had the best time, constantly worshiping and learning more about the Lord, specifically His offer to come sit with Him at His table, whatever our problems, faults, or just plain imperfections. Plus, we got to serve (at the rec center again!), and just plain hang out and have fun, mostly with each other, but also others in our youth group and even a kid from another church. Like I said, it was a phenomenal time.

Last week was so full of Godly teaching, lessons in praise, and fun with friends who feel like family, that it would be impossible to write down everything I learned and share it with you guys. Well, I suppose it’s technically possible, but it would be very, very difficult and would take a lot more time than you or I have. Besides that, even though I’m supposedly a writer, I don’t think I could do it all justice. A lot of what I learned (as cheesy as this might sound) were things I felt in my spirit more than anything else, and I don’t think I could ever properly get them down in words.

Original photo credit: Unsplash on Pixabay
So let me just tell you about one of the biggest things I learned, something I believe God Himself gave me the words for.

As much as I loved working at the rec center, hanging out with those awesome kids and trying to show Jesus’ love to them, they were all pretty young. Like five or six to eleven or twelve. We did get a chance to talk about Jesus to one of the kids (which was beyond awesome, do not get me wrong!), but for the most part, we never got to tell them why we were actually there. I mean, I’m pretty sure they knew we were from a church, and they generally knew we were Christians, but very few of them (if any) knew what that actually means to us. Many of them were too little to understand or, honestly, to care that we weren't just there to play dodgeball, tag, and (in my case) be shown up by kids half our size. We were there because Jesus died for us, He saved us, and because He loved us enough to do that, we want to do our best to show that love to everyone we come in contact with. They didn’t ask about Jesus, because to them He didn’t matter, at least not in that situation. At best, we were more people to play with, laugh with, and use as personal jungle gyms; at worst, we were weird strangers to be spoken to minimally. And as much as I wanted to go in there and be all, “Sit down and stay there! We’re gonna talk about Jesus, and you’re gonna love Him!” I had a feeling that would be somewhat counterproductive.

At Church Group, while kids were sharing what they’d learned, or how they’d served, or how they’d been at a hospital for disabled kids and had had a legit worship service (hands raised, Holy Spirit present, and all), I was just like, “I played dodgeball.” And, as fun as working at the rec center was, a part of of me wanted to go out and do some kind backbreaking labor, just so I could feel like I was doing something for the Kingdom and—I’mma be honest—so I could have something awesome to share. Truth is, there was no Rec Center Revival, not even a hint of one, and I felt somewhat discouraged, disappointed, even like the problem might be me.

As I was getting ready for bed one night, the bridge and chorus of Echo by Blanca started playing in my head and the following words just came to me. Don’t ask me how I got them or where they came from, because all I can tell you is The Holy Spirit.

First, though, I want to share the lyrics that helped to inspire this:

“Whatever you ask, whatever you want, use me for your glory. Wherever you go, I wanna go too, until I echo you.
“I was made to leave a mark, carry fire in my heart. No matter where I go, I want my life to echo you. I was made to make you shine, be a reflection of your light. In everything I do, I want my life to echo you.”

“We are here on this earth, and Mission Camp specifically, to make Jesus shine. We’re just here to serve and show Jesus. So even if we’re not the ones who actually “lead them to Christ,” that doesn’t mean that every second we’re out there, showing Jesus through our actions if not our words, isn’t important. Because we’re all more people pointing them in the direction of Christ. Even if we’re not the ones who actually say the prayer with them, the fact that we even interacted means that the God of the Universe knew we’d be important to their lives and so placed us in exactly the right place at exactly the right time when they—and probably us—needed it. So even if we never actually see the fruits of this labor, even if we don’t actually get to hear them say His name and truly understand who He is, even if we never witness their conversions or find out the amazing things they do with their lives, Jesus has already decided that we are vital to their journey and that they’re vital to ours. So let's throw ourselves in, do our absolute best, and as our leader said, ‘brag about Jesus, and when necessary, use words.’”

I hope I carry this message—and everything else I learned last week—with me throughout my entire life, not just at Mission Camp. I didn’t get to see any of these kids actually give their lives to Christ, but I know we tried hard to show Him to them, and I know that God will honor that. All I can say now is that I hope I really echoed Jesus to these kids and that someday, God will help them to truly hear Him. :)

Have any of you been to a camp this year? Any other amazing experiences or life lessons you got to share? I wanna hear them all!

Technology is amazing. I'm writing this out Sunday night, hours before Mission Camp, but you guys won't even get it till Thursday, ...

Technology is amazing. I'm writing this out Sunday night, hours before Mission Camp, but you guys won't even get it till Thursday, when I'm long gone, having fun and doing cool things. Don't be jealous, though. I shall post about my (mis)adventures when I return!

To the point of this post, though, as promised, we have the delightful Heather Manning to guest post today. Take it away, Heather!



Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Alexa! I’m so happy to be here. For a few weeks, I struggled with deciding what topic I wanted to write about here today. And in the midst of my confusion, I realized why I was having so much trouble. It’s because I’ve been really busy. My mind hasn’t been one hundred percent focused on my writing at all times, and that has thrown me off a little bit. In the past, many people have asked me how I do it. How was I published at age 16? How do I balance my school work and college search and teenage life at the same time as my writing career? And while in the past month, which has included my last few weeks of high school and a whirlwind writers convention, I may have neglected my writing a little bit (I promise I am getting back to it!), I think I have done a decent job at balancing my writing life and my high school life in the past year and a half since I became a published author.

So, how do I do it? I make writing one of my top priorities, whether it means staying up late at night meeting a deadline or declining offers to hang out with friends in order to have more time to write. And while I have managed to stop doing many things I enjoy to make time for my writing, I realize, and I think other new or aspiring authors have to realize that you do have time for writing. It may seem like you have absolutely no time, but if you truly want to progress in your writing, you have to MAKE time to support your craft. Even if it’s only one day a week. At least you’re doing something. I think that scheduling makes all the difference, too. There have been times when I told myself I had no time to do anything I wanted, but then caught myself roaming the internet while getting my emails done. Self-discipline can go a long way in helping you devote time for what you love to do. I’m gearing this post towards writers, but I think it applies to others who have a hobby or an activity they love, too. I happen to adore theatre in addition to my writing. I am currently in a show at my local community theatre, and that has taken some time away from my writing projects. But now that I have realized that I am, in fact, neglecting my writing, I have made a decision to not allow that to happen any more. In between scenes at rehearsals, I am brainstorming for my next book or writing my current book on an app on my phone. No matter where I am, I can write, so I am not allowing myself any excuses. I think others struggling with time management would do well to do the same.

And that’s how I fit my writing into my lifestyle in a nutshell. If you’re a writer, how do you do it? Do you write a set amount of words each day? If you don’t write, what do you love to do? Read? Draw? Sew? Whatever you do, I want to hear about it, and I’ll be back to Alexa’s blog to respond to your comments throughout the week! I’d love to hear from you all.

About my latest book: CARRIED HOME

The Caribbean is no place for a society lady of London, yet after a daring quest to save a friend, Lady Ivy Shaw finds herself trapped far from home. Now, driven with worry for her young brother, she is determined to return to England in all haste. So, when a new acquaintance offers to sail her to her brother’s side, she jumps at the offer, scarcely caring that the man is a privateer. Captain Gage Thompson is just learning how to be a captain. He sailed for years under the command of his longtime friend, Caspian Archer, but serving a captain and being a cap-tain are, as he soon discovers, two very different roles. While struggling to gain the respect of his newfound crew, he now faces the distraction of beautiful Lady Shaw. He finds him-self entranced by her and promises to give her passage home. After a brief stop in Port Royal, Ivy and Gage discover an abandoned child. They both de-cide to bring her with them on their voyage to England. But problems soon arise in the form of hurricanes and enemy pirates, and Ivy and Gage find themselves scrambling to not only care for a lonely child, but also gain command of a motley crew. Will love bud between Ivy and Gage as they journey home?

About the Author: Bestselling author Heather Manning is a young lady who loves to read—and write. After she won several writing competitions, her first book was professionally published and quickly became an Amazon Bestseller. She is an active member of her local ACFW chapter and lives in Kansas City, Missouri where she attends high school, sees plays, devours do-nuts, and acts in community theatre. You can find Heather on her blog: heathermauthor.blogspot.com.
***

Great post, Heather! And so totally true; if we truly aspire to be published authors (or any professional, really), we have to be disciplined about our dreams and make a few sacrifices. But, seeing as you were published at 16, it looks like it's worth it. ;)

Like our guest said, leave comments below, and I shall see you all in a couple of weeks!



Hey guys! I was tagged by the awesome Bailey at The Curiosity Collection for the Liebster Award! Thanks so much for that, Bailey! It means...

Hey guys! I was tagged by the awesome Bailey at The Curiosity Collection for the Liebster Award! Thanks so much for that, Bailey! It means the world that you like my blog enough to nominate me for this!



And the rules:

Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
Give your readers 11 random facts about yourself.
Answer the 11 questions from the blog who nominated you.
Nominate 11 bloggers to receive this award.
Come up with 11 questions for your nominees!

We shall begin at the beginning. Or the second thing, actually, since I already did the first one.

Eleven Facts About Me

#1 I hate cooking but I love eating, so I’m going to marry a gourmet chef. Preferably a foreign one because accents.

#2 I hate talking on the phone. It is a terrifying experience that makes me feel like everything that comes out of my mouth is idiotic.

#3 I recently had to talk on the phone (twice!) to schedule an interview for my (hopefully) first job. It was a terrifying experience that made me feel like everything that came out of my mouth was idiotic.

#4 According to the Myers-Briggs test, I am an INTJ. But after reading some descriptions of the personalities, I have discovered that I may have some F and possibly even S tendencies. Clearly, I cannot be put in a box.

#5 I have now completed nine novel manuscripts and am in the process of editing two of them. One day, they will all be published (yes, that is a fact).

#6 This past winter, I officially ate ice cream in below-0 weather. Like a boss.

#7 I tend to fall in love with things in phases--characters, music, stories, the like--so most things that I say are my favorites are subject to swift change. You should probably ask me again next month.

#8 There are a few exceptions to the above rules, including but not limited to, Star Wars, Tiger’s Curse, Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus, music from Thousand Foot Krutch, Britt Nicole, Francesca Battistelli, Anthem Lights, and Skillet. These I will adore forever.

#9 I’m in 11th grade and I’ve finished everything I need to to graduate, but I’m not graduating. Firstly, because I want to pursue writing, secondly, I don’t want to go to college for writing, thirdly, I’m not sure what I want to do besides writing, and fourthly, I am scared of college.

#10 This is the second time I’ve done the Liebster Award and I have no idea how I managed 11 facts the first time. I think I was a more interesting person back then.

#11 It is really difficult for me to come up with 11 random facts about myself.

And now the questions!

1. Do you have any secret talents/skills?
Um, no, not really. Well, I have this kind of weird ability to copy some singers’ voices (mostly males) but as I haven’t shown it to a lot of people, I’m not sure how accurate it is. Although, it’s not really copying, I guess, more like my voice changes to fit theirs as closely as possible: unique sounds, high notes, that sort of thing.

2. Why/when did you decide to start a blog?
Mostly marketing reasons. I heard you kind of, maybe-a-little-bit needed one to get published. Which isn’t entirely true, but once I got started, I liked it. Oh, and it was about a year and a half ago.

3. Have you ever met anyone famous?
Sadly, no. But I stood two feet away from Blanca (formerly of Group 1 Crew) once at Winter Jam.

4. Is there a skill that you have always wanted to learn?
Gymnastics and figure skating. According to my mother, I was really good at the last one when I was 2. Then we moved to Florida, and I never really pursued it.

5. Are there any fun/interesting traditions that you have with your family/friends?
I... don’t really think so. My family makes gingerbread several times every Christmas season, and me and my friends are going to Mission Camp for the second time this year. That’s about it.

6. Any pet peeves?
Wet socks. Wet or dirty socks suck so much. It’s like, what is even the point of them being on your feet now because your feet are no longer protected because your socks are wet.

7. Can you touch your tongue to your nose?
Just tried. Nope.

8. What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
Start a blog and decide to be a writer.

9. Have you ever traveled anywhere amazing? Or, where in the world would you like to visit someday?
If you count the Sunshine State, I used to live there. Other than that though, I want to visit the world. I want to see as much of everywhere as I possibly can. There’s just so much beauty and awesomeness on this planet, and I wanna have first-hand experience with it all.

10. If you had to choose, what are your top 4 favorite books? (I know it can be so difficult to choose just one.)


THAT’S STILL ALMOST AS DIFFICULT AS THE OTP QUESTION I ASKED A COUPLE WEEKS AGO

Okay *breathes deeply* I can do this.

Okay.

I’m gonna do two forever favorites and then two recent favorites (because of that thing I mentioned above about my favorites changing swiftly)



11. What is something that makes you happy?
Ice cream. Ice cream and Star Wars, and I am in paradise.

***

Well, that was fun! Thanks again for tagging me, Bailey!

I tag Aimee, Rebecca and Kathryn, Ally, Keturah, Ophelia, Mariella, Chard, and everybody over at the LEGION blog. (That’s gotta be close to 11). 

And your questions are:
What is your favorite ice cream?
What do you do to relax?
How many siblings do you have?
Have you ever had your own room?
Dogs or cats? (psst, the answer is dogs)
Can you think of a single best day of your life?
Do you have an all-time favorite quote/motto?
Do you have a favorite album?
Do you hate, hate, HATE talking on the phone too?
What do you think is the prettiest animal in the universe (note: I did not say your favorite. I said the prettiest).
And to continue the indecision, what are your four favorite books? (blame Bailey, she started it!)

Before I go though, I have an announcements to make: I’m going back to Mission Camp this summer! It is going to be so awesome and so much fun, but because of this, I’m taking off blogging for the next two weeks. Heather Manning will be here with a guest post next week, but the blog will be basically dead the week after that. Unless someone else wants to guest post, lol.

When I get back, though, I’ll kind of revamp things with some actual original posts (I know I’ve been doing a lot of tags lately :p). So yeah, we can all look forward to that. :)

All right, now for comment questions: answer any of the questions above or reply to one of my facts! Can’t wait to read your comments!



I realized yesterday that I’d never done a song by Manafest on my blog. I also realized that that needed to change.  I first heard Ma...

I realized yesterday that I’d never done a song by Manafest on my blog. I also realized that that needed to change. 

I first heard Manafest when his song Avalanche came on The Weekend 22 in 2010, but I think Every Time You Run is my favorite from him. It’s just such a moving, inspiring song, and it tells a portion of his story. Which is cool because, as a writer, I'm kind of into other people's stories. 

I'm not sure any of my characters really relate to the song (maybe Elliot to the chorus), but it certainly is an awesome one.



So what'd you think of Every Time You Run? Got any charries who'd relate or music videos to share with me? To the comment section, everyone!

Hello peoples! So I’m just gonna say right off the bat that I was a bad fan this week. I did not read nearly as many things as I wish I did...

Hello peoples! So I’m just gonna say right off the bat that I was a bad fan this week. I did not read nearly as many things as I wish I did because life happened and because Rebecca got me hooked on Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (which is a seriously awesome show). But here’s a few posts anyway for your reading enjoyment. :)

The Audience within the Audience by Mrs. Shannon Dittemore. An awesome and thought-provoking post. I still need to figure this one out for myself.

Monday Has Been Cancelled by Rebecca and Kathryn. In which these two answer my questions. Hehe, it was great.

The “Strong Female Protagonist” Problem by Aimee. In which she rants and makes lot of great points about girls as characters.

Enthusiasm by Bailey. A brilliant post that I very much needed. You probably do too. So click the link.

5 Ways Watching Movies is Better Than Reading Books by Heather. Sounds like blasphemy right? The post is good, though, trust me.

Well, that’s all for this week! See you!


Hey everyone! So I’m back with another tag, this one from Mariella ! Sorry for taking so long, by the way. I forgot I had some other stuf...

Hey everyone! So I’m back with another tag, this one from Mariella! Sorry for taking so long, by the way. I forgot I had some other stuff to do, but here’s to finally getting around to it!

And without further ado!


Disclaimer: I rarely buy books. I’m very conservative with my money, so if I can get a book at the library, I will. I only buy books if I know the author and am trying to support them, or if I’ve read some of the author’s other writing and trust them to not be a waste of my limited funds. All that to say, most of these will be books I picked up from the library rather than ones I actually bought.

Anywho. I’m seriously getting to the tag now.

Phase 1 – Initial Attraction: A book you bought because of the cover

Purchase Page

Technically, I haven’t even read this one yet. But this cover is awesome, and I need to find it.

Phase 2 – First Impressions: A book you got because of the summary

Purchase Page

I was looking for more mangas to read, found this one at the library, read the summary, and picked it up immediately. It’s a little cheesy, but tons of fun.

Here’s the summary by the way:

In the near future, the federal government creates a committee to rid society of books it deems unsuitable. The libraries vow to protect their collections, and with the help of local governments, form a military group to defend themselves--the Library Forces!

Iku Kasahara has dreamed of joining the Library Defense Force ever since one of its soldiers stepped in to protect her favorite book from being confiscated in a bookstore when she was younger. But now that she's finally a recruit, she's finding her dream job to be a bit of a nightmare. Especially since her hard-hearted drill instructor seems to have it in for her!

Phase 3 – Sweet Talk: A book with great writing

Purchase Page

Seriously, this book has some of the most engaging, enchanting writing I have ever had the pleasure of reading. You must find it. And read it. And love it.

Phase 4 – First Date: A first book of a series which made you want to pursue the rest of the series

Haha, since almost everything I read is part of a series, the answer to this question would be “almost every one I’ve ever read ever.” But, since it would take way too long to post all those pics, I’m just gonna go with this one.

Purchase Page

It’s different from what I normally read since it’s an exploration novel and Adult instead of YA, but it was still awesome, exciting, well-written, and best of all, clean.

Phase 5 – Late Night Phone Calls: A book that kept you up all night long

Because I have a weird, rigid sort of discipline, I have actually never experienced this. There’ve been books that I wanted to stay up all night reading, but knowing I’d be exhausted in the morning and unable to finish everything on my normal schedule kept me from actually doing it.

I think this one may have come close though:

Purchase Page


Phase 6 – Always On My Mind: A book that you could not stop thinking about

I’ve actually had quite a few of these. But I’ll name my two favorites:

kanechronicles.wikia.com
Purchase Page

Majorly on that last one though. I read it four years ago, still think about it on a reasonably regular basis, and remember it better than almost any story I’ve ever read. And I only read it once. That’s how much this book stuck with me.

Phase 7 – Getting Physical: A book in which you love the way it feels

I’m not entirely sure what is meant by this. Are you talking like physically, the way the book feels in my hands, or the writing itself? Maybe I’m missing the obvious, lol, but it feels like a weird question to me. :p Anyway, I’ll just name one for each.

Purchase Page

Yay, here’s one I actually bought! Or had my grandmother buy, but whatever. Specifically without the jacket cover, this book just has this really gorgeous, almost old feel. It’s wonderful.





And for my second interpretation of the question:

Purchase Page

This book, too, just might have the best writing I have ever read. It’s absolutely lovely.

Also



These are super awesome as well. I’m gonna move on now.

Phase 8 – Meeting the Parents: A book you would recommend to your friends and family

Um... like all the good ones? lol. Okay, let’s go with a loved one I haven’t named yet.



These books are boss. Read them now. They are hilarious, awesome, action-packed, and have some of the best characters ever.

Phase 9 – Thinking about the future: A book or series you know you’ll re-read many times in the future

Purchase Page


These are some of the best dystopians ever, and I will most assuredly reread them at many points in my life.

Phase 10 – Share the love!!! Who would you like to tag?

I invite any reader who wants to do this tag to do it. Just leave your post in the comments so I can check it out and comment back. However I am particularly interested in reading what Rebecca and Kathryn, Ally, and Aimee have to say. So yeah, you four have no choice in the matter. TELL ME YOUR BOOK LOVES.

Anyways, what do you think of the books I mentioned? Have you read any of them? Leave comments below, lovelies!


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