Monday, December 12, 2011

Published on SparkLife!

Everyone knows about SparkNotes, right? Well, SparkLife is a different story.

I usually race on to Sparknotes, get the info I need, then race off. Until one day, when I saw something on the left side bar that caught my eye...

Cleverly-titled articles beckoned me, with expertly-drawn pictures describing the contents within them. "Take a Study Break", SparkNotes said, and I obeyed.

Only my "break" turned into a full-fledged exploration through the mass of awesomesauce on SparkLife.

The articles were relatable, funny, and -most importantly- well written. I spent who-knows-how-long wandering through this maze of amazingness, then I came upon this article.

Write for SparkNotes, eh? Sounded like fun, even though I doubted anything I sent in would ever get published. I made up a list, tried to throw a few dashes of humor and sarcasm in there, and sent it in.

The next day, December 12th, I checked my e-mail anxiously. Lo and behold, an e-mail from SparkNotes had arrived. "It's too soon," I thought, "probably got rejected right away, it was my first submission, after all".

I clicked on the message only to confirm my thoughts, when I saw the words.The wonderful words that said, "Thanks for a great post! It just went up."

...what? WHAT?! My published on SparkNotes? No way.

After I had finished freaking out, I clicked on the link to make sure it wasn't a sick joke. It wasn't. It's right here.

Sure, it's just a few words and a list, but I wrote it. Other people read it, thought about it, and replied to it with comments.

If you can't tell, I'm pretty darn happy!

Now that I have more confidence in my writing, I will definitely try to write more-for this, SparkNotes, and just for the heck of it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What if?

What if we replaced the word “hate” with “love”?
What if we actually meant it when we said “love”?
What if we offered forgiveness to others, no matter what?
What if we stopped holding grudges, and just let things go?
What if we actually put every single effort into being the best we could be?
What if we built each other up instead of tearing each other down?
What if we started truly appreciating the things and people in our lives, good and bad?
What if we acted the way we do around people we look up to all the time?
What if we stopped making excuses, and started taking responsibility for our own actions?
What if we loved others the way Jesus loves us?
What if we actually showed our love, instead of just saying it?
What if we were willing to give people anything we had?
What if we actually lived the way we are called to live?

These shouldn’t be “what ifs”, this is how we should be living every day. Loving others; not betraying them. Giving; not stealing. Using the abilities God has given us for His glory; not tossing them aside, like they’re not even worth half a penny.

While I was writing this, the song “I Refuse” by Josh Wilson came to mind. This song is basically about how he wants to completely live for God, not just at church, but all the time. One of my favorite verses says, “I don't want to say another empty prayer”. When I first heard that, I couldn’t help but think back to all the times I had thought, “Oh, forgot to pray today” and then just make up some prayer I didn’t mean. Do you think the Creator of the universe, everything in it, and of you and me, deserves that? You don’t have to think; it’s a fact. He doesn’t. Sometimes we think there’s some “quota” to the number of times we should pray a day. The Bible says to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). I don’t see a number anywhere in there, and I’m pretty sure “ceasing” means end, so “without” + “ceasing”= never ending. But praying without ceasing doesn't do any good if you don't mean a word you say.

I hope this post made you think, it sure made me while was writing it.

This was inspired by a post written by one of my friends and fellow bloggers, Funmilayo, the owner of the blog “Inspiration and Beyond”. Thanks for the inspiration, Layo. (: {you’re such an alto (; }

Monday, October 24, 2011

Go Native!

 Hello! I have something a little different for you today. (:
   I spent this past Saturday at the Cowboy Festival and Symposium at the Booth Western Art Museum (could the name be any longer?). This was my fourth year going, so it's starting to feel like a second home. It's always really fun--and it gives you a chance to wear those ridiculous boots and other western wear that's been in your closet forever (just admit it, we all know it's there).
  What does one do at a cowboy festival and symposium, you may ask? You can watch the many demonstrations and reenactments (from roping to quick-draw to the O.K Corral gun fight), shop amongst the various venders (hand made jewelry, paintings, scarves, etc.), eat some delicious food (can you say, funnel cake?), and eventually browse around the museum. 
  But you may be wondering what all of this has to do with my title,  "Go Native!". Well, my favorite part of the festival isn't even mentioned in the name. The Native American show and dancing. Creek and Comanche Native Americans, to be exact. Little Big Mountain (Comanche) and Jim Sawgrass (Creek) and their friends and families come to the festival every year to explain some common misconceptions about Native Americans and also showcase some amazing talent, dancing being the main attraction.
  There are many different styles of dance, such as the fancy shawl dance, the fancy feathers dance, hoop dance, etc. The hoop dance (this) is my favorite. They can make it look so easy, but most of the guys that do it have been doing it since they were little kids (think, 5 years old). Nowadays, many styles of dancing are done competitively at Pow Wows (Native American "get togethers" with food, singing, and dancing).
  One new dance (well, new to us) this year was preformed by Jim Sawgrass' son (who is also an amazing hoop dancer). This dance was "given" to Little Big Mountain's family. By "given" I mean they were given the right to preform this dance. In their culture, you're not allowed to just take other people's/tribe's dances, you have to be given permission to learn them. I actually forgot what it's called...but it's based on a legend, and that, I remember.
  This dance is about the great eagle, a creature that can soar higher and longer than any other animal. It is believed that the eagle was once completely snow white. One day, the eagle decides to fly to the sun, to prove himself mightier than any other creature. Before embarking on his journey, he bows and prays in all directions, north, south, east, and west. Then he takes off, soaring higher and higher into the sky. As he begins to get closer to the sun, his feathers start to burn and turn brown. His eyes turn golden from looking at the sun. He eventually gives up, knowing he can never reach the sun. He flies back down to earth, and rests.

  The dance is really amazing to watch, with the music and knowing the legend. 
  I've always felt some connection to Native American culture, even though I'm only small fraction of Crow (Apsáalooke) indian. I'm honored to have even just a fraction of native blood in me. But I believe there is more in me somewhere along my family tree. 
So that's what I did this past Saturday. It was a blast. (:
Click here to visit the Booth Western Art Museum website
And here to visit Little Big Mountain and Jim Sawgrass' website.

Here are just a fraction of the many pictures I took.

 This was the best picture I could get at the time. (Jim Sawgrass' son hoop dancing)



 You can't tell in this picture, but the beading on his clothing has texture to it

 This is completely made out of paper



 Love this one (:

 Little Big Mountain, Jim Sawgrass' son, and Jim Sawgrass


 I couldn't get good pictures of the hoop dancing because he moves so fast!