Friday, December 23, 2016

A Really Random Post

It's funny the things your brain comes up with at 7:30 in the morning, when you're sitting on your couch, saying your prayers and staring at the darkened Christmas Tree.

My brain went:  That Christmas Tree is just like so many people in the world, who refuse to let their light shine.

Then my brain went: We are all Christmas Trees, of one sort or another. Some of us might be average trees. Some might be spindly little twiggy things.

 Some might be Douglas firs, absolutely gorgeous and so marvelously bedecked people sigh in envy.

Some might even be those trees made out of wire and light you see in city centers, or even a tree like the one that's put up in the Rockefeller Center in New York.

But we are all trees. And we all wear ornaments and tinsel and random decorations. Some might be better dressed than others. Some might have huge gaudy decorations. Some might be all in pink. Some might be camouflage. It really depends on you .

But we are all of us rather ugly without our lights. A Christmas Tree without its lights on is really not very pretty at all. No matter how gaily we are decked out in garland and red or green bulbs... no matter how big the star at our tip... no matter the size and shape of our branches, or the artistic drape of our garland, or the amount of ornaments hanging on our branches... without lights, you can't see the shine of the tinsel. You can't see the reflected light in the bulbs. You can't see how the shadow cast by a lighted Christmas Tree is more like a cast of light and not shadow at all. You can't actually see how pretty a Christmas Tree is until you've turned on the lights.
Then! How it shines!

So many people are concerned with outward appearance; how "well dressed" they are, how much makeup it takes to conceal deformities, how "pretty" they look. But if you're ugly inside - if you don't let your light take over, then you're really not pretty at all. You're just a grim little tree wearing tinsel.

So this Christmas, don't just be a tree. Be bright. Be illuminated. Shine. Let your soul kindle with God's grace. Let Him work His changes within you, so you become brilliant.

Be a Christmas Tree.

(Sorry if this got a bit cheesy. It was really random. I said so.)

But God Bless and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Friday, November 25, 2016

30 Days To Christmas!!!

So, those who know me, know that I'm really into Christmas. Like, I count down from St. Stephen's Day, I'm that pathetic.

But guys... It's only a month til Christmas! HOOT HOOT! Isn't that exciting? We actually got a little bit of snow for Thanksgiving Weekend, which was really good for the tourists. And in about a week and a half, it'll be St. Nicholas' Day. That's when you get chocolates and little gifts in your shoes, and drink Bishop's Wine later. :)

Also, a little bit on Front Sight.

The first day we had to get there so early - like, the gates opened at 6:30 a.m., and that's when you had to be there, to do a weapons check and all that jazz. Then once we got all our weapons and ammo approved, we went to our range and we got a whole day of "info-dumping, while we tested out the techniques on a "cold" range - meaning, we didn't ever holster a loaded weapon. The next day (when the gates opened at 7:15 am, and we would get there in time to do some dry fire drills before the actual lessons started) was a lot of the same, but we started firing more ammo, and by the middle of that day we finally got to put loaded guns into our holsters! That was really cool. (We couldn't leave the range with our weapons loaded, but while we were on the range, our guns were loaded. Sweet Lord of the Rings.)

The third day, we transferred to a larger range, and we did a lot of the same, practicing controlled pairs to the thorax with head shots when the instructors called them, and worked on clearing malfunctions. Then we were shuttled to a place they called Monsters Inc., because it is literally a space of doors. Like, five doors lined side by side about 10 lanes deep.  We had had a lecture on tactical entry the night before, so we all got these "red" guns (heavy plastic guns usually made of red or orange polymer) and practiced entry through the doors. Then we were shuttled BACK to the range, did some more shooting, and were shuttled off to a shoot house, where we got to make entry through a house that had targets and hostages set up. We got  to clear the house, practicing controlled pairs to the bad guys and head shots to those who had hostages, and that was intense and scary and fun.

Then we went back to the range and started working on the skills test, which is basically a "final" to see how much you've improved since day one.

The next day, we did the skills test first thing in the morning, after doing some dry practice, and I did really well - all my shots were in the thoracic cavity and the head box. Yay! But then, then, then!


The instructors put up targets that looked like actual thugs - like bad juju thugs - and we got to shoot at those, and since some of the thugs were angled differently, you had to judge where would be best to shoot them. Then the instructors marked the thugs off in groups of four, and we stepped up in relays and on the go we did a single shot to two thugs in our line, then to three, then to four, and then we had to take head shots as the instructor called them. It was tons of fun! (My accuracy improved when the targets were thugs and not simple grey targets - which is either really good, or really disturbing.) At the end of the day, we had a "Steel Competition" where we went up in pairs and had to shoot at hostage takers (metal targets) and whoever did it fastest and in the right order, moved on to the next round. That was the best!

Honestly, by the time we headed home, we were all having Front Sight withdrawal. I absolutely love my Glock-19. I like the way it fits in my hand, the weight of it, and the fact I now know how to clear its little issues.


So that's my Front Sight story. I want to look for a smaller semi-automatic, for concealed carry, and if I can find a small Glock, I think I'd like that. (I'm willing to look at others, but I totes love Glock.)

Last, guys.

I started mildly with Avatar, The Last Airbender.
Then I did Voltron.
Then I watched Fullmetal Alchemist.
I'm almost done with Pandora Hearts.
I'm into season 2 of Noragami.
I'm going to start D.Gray-man.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME???,d.cGw&psig=AFQjCNF4alb2zTGf5SmThM2_sLf7sL3FaQ&ust=1480204828107046&cad=rjt

Like, I want to get the manga for the anime that isn't finished - like, Pandora Hearts. When did I become this weird?

But that's all for now!

God bless!


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Tralala! Tralala! Tralala! Tralala! Rum Tum Tum Tiddle-um

Hello, friends! I've got three more reviews posted up at Compass Book Ratings.

While I wasn't 100% in love with this story, there were some elements I appreciated:  Namely, the heavily Christian undertone that you really don't find in a lot of books these days, and the really clever correlations the author made fairy tales and symbolism. It's a very simple read with some unexpectedly dark undertones, but overall engaging, and I quite liked Rip. He was a sweetheart of a character. I also liked the "plug" advocating big families. Since I come from one, I really liked that.

I really wanted to love this one. Come on, that's a pretty sick cover! It's evocative, compelling, and plus, it deals with sea myths! What's not to love?!?... (Well, to be honest, the romance.) I'm not hugely into teen romance, especially what's being written these days. It's so very, very dramatic and touchy-feely. I like my romance to be the slow blooming kind, not the "girl-sees-boy-wow-hotness-must-have-yessssssssss!" This was, unfortunately, more of the latter. I don't really need to be reminded how attractive someone looks in this type of lighting, or with that kind of smile, or with this touch. Less is more, guys. Less is more. BUT, the last third of the book was pretty tight, and the ending had a fairly good climax (we got more plot and action, here, rather than thoughts of kissing, being kissed, wanting to be kissed, and so on and so forth). The last few chapters, I was flipping pages pretty quickly to make sure people survived. And the sea monsters used in this story were well done. There's a particularly gruesome sea serpent that was simply ugh, if you know what I mean. Simply UGH! :) If you are someone who is not turned off by teen romance, you might really, really like this book. I just personally have a prudish side that found the romantic content a bit overwhelming, and I likely wouldn't recommend it to my family, who are also not hugely into current teen romance. But, the writing is rather lovely, and the description of the island is excellent. If you've ever been to the ocean, you'll taste the salt and smell the wind and feel the sand.

Last, I've got THE QUEEN OF ATTOLIA reviewed.

If you guys don't know how much I love Megan Whalen Turner's Attolia books (The Queen's Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, A Conspiracy of Kings) then I haven't gushed about them enough!!! Some of my sisters love The Queen of Attolia best. Me, my favourite is The King of Attolia, with The Queen a close second. I simply ADORE the main character, Eugenides. You do get more of him in The Queen's Thief (book one), since it's told entirely from his perspective, and he sort of slips into the background over the course of the books, with him barely making an appearance in A Conspiracy of Kings (which is probably why it's not my favourite book in the series). But in the King of Attolia, you get him from someone else's perspective, and he just gets incredibly more awesome. What I really admire about these books, other than their beautiful worldbuilding, is the fact that it's primarily about the three countries of Eddis, Attolia, and Sounis, and their struggles to remain independent. That's clever. I've never seen a book where the countries themselves are almost characters. And I also am hugely amazed at the way Megan Whalen Turner can take a character that you rather despise and make you somehow fall in love with them (I'm referring to The Queen of Attolia here). It makes me desperately anxious to become a better writer when I read her books. (Oh and HOLLA! She is writing a fifth book called Thick As Thieves! The only drawback I can see to it is that it, like A Conspiracy of Kings, doesn't deal with Eugenides at ALL. That is a great sorrow, guys.) But here, in The Queen of Attolia, we get a perfect example of the slow blooming romances that I go for. Subtle romance, simple romance, that's so keenly beautiful and heart-stopping you sit back, marveling how much those perfectly phrased sentences can make you feel. So yeah. If you haven't read the Attolia books, what are waiting for? 
Go! Find them!
Buy them! Read them! :)

So, yep. There you go. Three new books for you to read. You're welcome.

What all did you do for Halloween? I had been idly contemplating an Edward Elric-esque costume...

...but since I am not the only person obsessed with Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, another sister dressed up as him, so I went as my default old-fashioned witch. Maybe next year...? We shall see. :)

Also, I went to Front Sight directly after Halloween - me and three other sisters drove down to Pahrump November 3rd, participated in a four-day handgun class and a CCW class the day after, and came back home (albeit reluctantly) November 9th.  
You wouldn't BELIEVE how attached you can get to a shooting range, guys!

I want to do a more in-depth blog post about Front Sight, so I'm not going to say too much about it here. But omigosh, FUN! It is very satisfying to know how to handle a handgun. For reals.

Oh, and I saw Doctor Strange on Friday. Wow magic! Such sorcery.,d.cGw&psig=AFQjCNF9vwudT6liOihsQaPRMLUp-TCviQ&ust=1479099264047275&cad=rjt

And that's it for me. It's almost Thanksgiving, guys! If I don't manage to blog before then, hope it's a good one.

God bless!

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