being a college student is…

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{for le blog aesthetic // not mine.}

curling up in places too small for you and closing your eyes for just one more minute.

writing papers at midnight and then being horrified at your incomprehensible “logic” the next morning.

constantly wondering why your coffee cup is empty but not having the motivation to refill it.

spending your hard-earned cash on ice cream because your professors make you cry.

always just wanting to lay down on the floor.

generally wanting to lay down in general because you’ve never been this tired in your life.

worrying about cell phone bills, car insurance, food, budgeting, grades, social life, etc all the time.

finding new study music all. the. time.

in that same vein, finding new tv shows to watch.  (and sometimes they’re disney shows and that’s okay.) (meaning i discovered boy meets world while i was in college and honestly it helped me get through it.)

junk food. so much junk food.

developing weird ways to learn the stuff you’ve gotta learn.  (need to learn the kings and queens of england for your western civ class?  say no more.)

watching your friends get into relationships???  and get engaged???  and get married???  AND HAVE BABIES???

constantly wondering what the crap you’re doing with your life because of the above.  (“oh, that’s right.  i’m getting an education.  which will help me… how?”)

losing motivation.

gaining motivation.

meeting new friends.

saying goodbye to old friends.

setting aside hours a day to psych yourself up for something because adulting is hard.

taking tests.

sobbing in your car because you failed tests.

celebrating with junk food and movies because you passed tests.

being scared about moving on because sweet buttered crumpets, you’ll have to really adult and enter *gulp* The Real World.

moving on, despite whatever happens, because this is your education and DANG IT, you’ll get it done.


i only have a few weeks of school left.  i’m trying to live in these moments – to really relish them, despite the mixed feelings they bring – because i’m such a schoolaholic that i know i’m going to miss them.

today’s my baby sister’s birthday.  she’s four.  i distinctly remember living at a friend’s house while her adoption paperwork was going through, discovering pinterest while trying to figure out this college thing.

i’m totally scared at the prospect of a school-free life.  i’m obviously still going to learn (hello, french lessons), but it’ll be different.

more than that, though, i’m excited.  i’ll have a more flexible schedule, i’ll be able to live without a major stress-inducer in my life, i’ll have more writing time, i’ll be able to get a job without worrying about having enough school time…

saying goodbye is always hard.  but saying hello is such a bright, optimistic new opportunity, and i’m totally ready to see what i’ll greet in the next few months.

year in review: 2014

Wow.  When I think back on all of the things God has done in my life in 2014, I can only say one thing about this past year: WOW.

It’s been so crazy.  Absolutely insane.  I’ve done more this year than I have in my entire life.  I’ve had more opportunities, more blessings, more trials, and more responsibilities this year than ever before.  I know I’ve been changed for the better and for good because of what’s happened.

~January~
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  • My older sister, “Arwen,” left before the New Year to help a mother of four who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, leaving me as the oldest at home.  She would be gone through June.  (The mother is doing much better, praise God!)
  • A good friend of the family passed away suddenly right after New Year’s Day, leaving behind eight children.  Prayers for their family would be appreciated, as the one-year anniversary is coming up.
  • A calendar event at 11am on January 1st simply says “Discovered coffee.”  This is probably more accurate than I’d like to admit.  🙂
  • Started working with my second CollegePlus coach after my first coach started maternity leave.
  • Started covering for Arwen with her two-day-a-week nannying job.  Promptly fell in love with the kids.  (The first day I picked them up was that big ice storm down here that you might have heard about.  You know, the one where all the Northerners laughed at all the Southerners for freaking out?  Yeah.  I’d like to see all of THEM try to drive on icy roads – that can’t really be fixed because we only have five ice trucks for the entire STATE – with two scared toddlers in the backseat.  My car spun out, but I saved it from crashing and killing the three of us.  It was insane.)

~February~
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  • Left for a week-long trip to Kentucky and Ohio.  Visited the Creation Museum again and stayed in Maysville, where Rosemary Clooney was born and raised.  My siblings and I still frequently reference all of the crazy things that happened during that trip, one of the better stories being that I finally got them addicted to Boy Meets World.  We watched an entire season in less than a week.  (We also got to watch a lot of the Sochi Olympics, and I really enjoyed seeing Meryl and Charlie compete!)
  • Struggled through my least favorite CLEP so far – Western Civ I – and finally finished it after two months of study.  *facepalm*  I took a week off after I passed it with flying colors (how that even worked out is still a mystery to me – I failed SEVEN practice tests and rescheduled it five times).

~March~

  • Started with my third CollegePlus coach (in less than a year).  Still working with her and love her to bits and pieces!
  • JellyBean’s first birthday and first Gotcha Day party!

~April~
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  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out.  Feels ran rampant.
  • Nailed down my degree choice – Humanities with an emphasis on English and writing courses.
  • Started the first Leadership Course with Dr. Jeff Myers.  LOVED it.
  • Arwen came to visit.  We went to a wedding (my dad’s first that he officiated) and saw The Lion King.

~May~
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  • Although still pretty hectic, May became one of my more normal months.  No major things happened, and I focused on studying and editing Becoming Nikki.
  • Invited myself to ride with a friend and her family to Texas for the CPE3.  Plans are not laid down for several months, but I kept my fingers crossed ’til they are.
  • Started a new blog, feelsy feels, with Eva and Miss Jane.
  • Became a Sophomore in College.

~June~
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  • I and a few of my siblings volunteered for the children’s program at a homeschool conference, including being leaders of groups of children and participating in several skits.  Needless to say, we had a lot of fun.
  • Started the second Leadership Course.  Didn’t love it as much as the first one, but I still enjoyed it.
  • Failed my first CollegePlus test.  😦
  • Traveled to Texas with Mom to get Arwen.  I drove fourteen hours total, including one six-hour streak.  I started reading the Hunger Games trilogy (for the first time) the day we left and finished it in less than a week.  Again, feels ran rampant.

~July~
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  • Participated in NaNo for the third time, starting The Art of Letting Go based on an idea I got during the trip to Texas less than a week before.  Surprisingly, I still won.
  • My siblings and I went to Camp GrandmaHoney at our grandparents house with our cousins and, as usual, had a great time.  While we were there, I found out that the nannying job is mine for the keeping – YAY!

~August~

  • Started playing with the Reinhardt University Symphony Orchestra for the sixth year in a row.
  • Started talking to Morgan about helping me publish Nikki.
  • Hosted my first piano recital.  Both of my students played marvelously, and we had a night in while the parents went out for a double-date.
  • Discovered my hero, Louie Zamperini, after reading Unbroken for the first time.  I promptly started recommending it to everyone I know.

~September~
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  • Traveled to the beach with the family, have a blast for the first time in a long time.
  • Studied for and passed a test in five days.  🙂
  • THE CPE3 HAPPENS, WHICH WAS THE MOST AMAZING FIVE DAYS OF MY LIFE.
  • Found my best friend, who had been right under my nose for the past four years – I just didn’t know it because we never really talked.  All it took was a twelve-day cross-country trip.  Now we’re besties forevah.
  • Traveled for most of this month – home only eight days out of the entire month.  O_O

~October~

  • Started doing study dates with my BFF every Thursday before my nannying job.
  • Finished editing Nikki at three in the morning before my deadline, sent it off to Morgan, officially started the publishing process.  (!!!!!)
  • Passed the CollegePlus test I’d previously failed – WIN.

~November~
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  • Decided not to do NaNo in lieu of the fact that I knew I’d be swamped with publishing stuff.  (Boy, I was more right than I thought.)
  • Auditioned for a play, even though I didn’t get the part.  (Now I’ve got the acting bug.)
  • Played in my first wedding with Arwen.  It goes really well!

~December~

  • Attended a Hunter Hayes concert.  : ))))))))))
  • Graduated from being a teenager – YUSSSSSS.
  • Published my first novel, did my first blog tour, got my first paycheck related to my novel.  Things haven’t calmed down since.  🙂

So, yeah, my life has been pretty crazy over the past year.  So much happened in such a short amount of time!

IMG_4554Looking back, I still can’t believe all the things that have happened.  All the firsts, all the lasts, all of the memories and friends made…  It’s been a crazy ride.

My verse for the year was Joshua 1:7-9: “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

It’s been pretty amazing to see God work through this verse and make it so real to me in the craziness of the past year!  Yes, a ton of things have happened, but God has been so faithful and has given me strength and courage to do all of the amazing things I’ve been able to do this past year.  I’m so blessed!

Can’t wait for even more craziness in 2015!

in honor of national right to life day – part two

Movie Review – October Baby

“I’m Hannah, and this is my story…. And it’s not what you think.”

“You saw me before I was born.” Psalm 139:16 (NLT)

“As the curtain rises, Hannah hesitantly steps onto the stage for her first theatrical debut in college. Yet before she can utter her first lines, Hannah – unscripted – collapses in front of the stunned audience. After countless medical tests, all signs point to one underlying factor: Hannah’s difficult birth. This revelation is nothing compared to what she then learns from her parents: she was actually adopted … after a failed abortion attempt. Bewildered, angered, and confused, Hannah turns for support to Jason, her oldest friend. Encouraged by his adventurous spirit, Hannah joins his group of friends on a Spring Break road trip, embarking on a journey to discover her hidden past … and find hope for her unknown future. In the midst of her incredible journey, Hannah finds that life can be so much more than what you have planned.” (Synopsis from the film’s website)

I heard about October Baby last year in an emailed newsletter I get from Provident Films. It looked really good – especially because it had something to do with adoption, which is something that my family is very convicted about. My parents previewed the film on the day it came out, then Arwen and I went to see it on Sunday. It was such an amazing movie… thus the review. : )

The Story
October Baby opens with shots of a little girl and boy running in slow motion through fields and then jumping into a pond, holding hands. Before they do, they kick off their shoes and socks, and the little girl tosses her asthma inhaler onto her shoes. When I saw this, I literally couldn’t stop smiling. It was such a good opening to a movie – it shows the long-time relationship between Hannah and Jason, then the constant health issues that Hannah has had since she was born. (A little bit of a spoiler, but I just had to say it!)

After 19-year-old Hannah collapses onstage (in an intense and well-acted moment), she finds out about her birth in an awkward and quite shocking way. That night, she tells “her oldest friend, Jason” (who is not her boyfriend, which surprised me a little) the truth that she’d just learned. He offers to take her to the hospital in Mobile, Alabama where she was born. When he’s actually planned it out, he asks her to come with him in a scene that had me laughing out loud (and makes me smile now just thinking about it).

The trip lets you get to know all of the characters better, especially Hannah and Jason and Jason’s obnoxious girlfriend. (I wanted to slap that girl…) When Hannah and Jason separate from the group and go to the hospital by themselves, there are several plot twists and what seems like dead ends that had even me wondering how Hannah was going to find her birthmom.

And, once again, I’d better stop. : )

The Characters and Cast

Hannah Lawson is a very solid character that is very well fleshed-out in the film. Like any good character, she has multiple layers and varied strengths and weaknesses. When she finds out the truth about her birth and the events surrounding it, she doesn’t fall into the “depths of despair,” but keeps her spirits high while she’s searching for her birthmother and accepts her past. Also, for a reason unexplained, Hannah has never had a boyfriend. She calls herself a “weird homeschooling freak,” which made me laugh and like her all the more!

The character of Hannah Lawson is played to perfection by Rachel Hendrix, who has only been in one other film as a minor character. When Hannah finds out more and more about her past, she responds as I and any other sane person would – with tears. And yet, with every new fact, Hendrix brings a new depth of emotion to the screen every time! With every new fact gained, her facial expressions change and aren’t a repeat of the previous emotion. Frankly, I was a little shocked to find out that she’d only been in one other movie and a car commercial – she’s such a good actress!

Jason…. All I can say is “Smiley face.” Arwen and I walked away from the theater both saying, “I like him!” Jason is such a good friend to Hannah and I really appreciate the fact that he’s still her friend and even supports her after she finds out that she was adopted. He goes to such lengths as to organize a road trip especially for her, get a rental car, pay for a hotel room, and a lot more! Even after she’s overcome by her emotions numerous times in the film, he stays strong and constantly tells her, “It’s going to be okay.” *Slight spoiler alert!* Near the end of the film, he even calls her dad, Dr. Lawson, to apologize for overstepping his bounds, which I don’t think he did. But, hey – it’s still a really good scene and made me like him even more. *End spoiler alert* There was only one thing Arwen and I think he should have done differently, but that was very minor.

Jason Burkey is a very good actor, too – and yes, that’s his actual first name! I usually judge actors and actresses based on if they can do a good cry, but it was when Burkey almost cried that made me decide I liked him as an actor. (Well, I liked him in the first scene he was in… but it was then that I really decided I liked him.) He was able to act with so many different emotions – friendliness, humor, anger, sadness. I was also surprised to find that he hadn’t been in many movies, either. It always makes me happy when people like the Kendricks and the Erwin brothers choose virtual unknowns to play main characters, especially if, like I saw on Burkey IMDb movie list, they are “found out” and chosen for other movies.

Truman (I can’t find the actor’s name) and B-Mac (Chris Sligh) were characters that supported Hannah, too, and went on the road trip with her. They were mainly added for comic relief, but I liked them anyway, especially Truman, who delivered such awesome lines as, “Am I German?” and “Excuse me – do you realize this is a library?” B-Mac also made a reference to Star Wars that Arwen enjoyed – “This is our Millennium Falcon, if you will,” speaking of Evelyn, the Volkswagen van that the group takes the road trip in. (Yes, the car has a name! Love it!) As a side note, you might recognize Chris Sligh from American Idol Season Six. He got the chance to sing in October Baby twice.

Objectionable Content
October Baby is rated PG-13 for “mature thematic material,” which is throughout the film. This movie is about an abortion survivor, but they don’t say much than that (except for a mild description of something that happened to another abortion survivor). It’s a hard subject for most.

Also, there is a scene that Arwen and I thought Jason could have handled differently. There are a couple chances when it could get “iffy” between Hannah and Jason, but they both respect each other and make good decisions.

Quality
Usually, in an independent Christian film, such as Fireproof or Come What May, the quality isn’t very good. Everything (or sometimes just something) is a little off – the acting, the script, the camera quality, the lighting. I’ve watched many different qualities of independent Christian films – Remember Me, What If…, Flywheel, The Widow’s Might, Facing the Giants, Sybil Ludington, Mandie and the Secret Tunnel being just a few of them. Being a big fan of independent Christian films, no matter what the quality, I’ve gotten to where I ignore it. But movies I’ve watched recently, such as Courageous and To Save a Life, are exceptionally better than the rest.

October Baby is no exception. At times, I found the quality better even than Courageous, which I still love. The entire movie was shot so beautifully, I found myself forgetting it was an “indie film.” The picture below is one of my favorite shots. See how the camera caught the sunlight? Simply breathtaking.

In Conclusion
The more people I talk to about October Baby, the more I’m shocked to find that a lot of people know and have heard about it, but for some reason haven’t gone. Let me just say that it was worth it! Totally worth it. I keep wanting to go back and see it again!!!

October Baby is a movie that I have put on my favorite movie list and will probably go see again before it comes out on DVD. (At that time, I’m buying it!)

Please go see this exceptionally well-done movie! It’ll challenge you to think about your views on many issues, especially abortion!

~Eowyn~

PS: The soundtrack is also AMAZING.  You can listen to it here.