Happy Last Supper Thursday! I pray you all have a lovely Communion, commemorating the final meal Jesus ate with his friends before his crucifixion for our sins.
Guess what, everyone? I was nominated three times – once for the Sunshine Blogger Award, and twice for the Liebster Award.
Now it’s at last time to complete these! Tags are always fun. The questions help you guys get to know me better. So let’s just begin!
The Sunshine Blogger Award
- Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog.
- Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
- Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
- List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.
Thank you for nominating me, Alexa!
1. What is your biggest fear?
We’re starting off with a deep question, guys!
Hmm… this is tough to answer.
I would say my biggest fear is that my writing is no good, and I will never impact anyone’s life with it. I’ll never be published, my voice will never be heard, and so I’ll never lead anyone to Christ. That’s my biggest fear.
2. What inspires you?
It inspires me when I see in my memory a show of unconditional, undeniable love. I have been blessed to witness incredible acts of love in my life. Remembering them just brings the sweetest joy, and inspires me in my writing and just my entire life.
3. What fills you with childlike wonder?
God’s love, honestly. It’s something that’s very hard for me to understand. I don’t understand it – how he could love someone as imperfect as me – but I’m so grateful for it. There is no lovelier feeling than knowing you are loved, without knowing why. You know you have done nothing remarkable to earn it, so why?
That fills me with childlike wonder.
4. What is your favorite physical activity?
Okay, so none of you guys know this about me, but now you will know!
I am a fast-pitch softball player, and my position is Pitcher. I just love getting up there on the mound. I love every other part of softball – batting, running, fielding… but pitching is just a feeling that cannot be described. It makes me feel great to get into that windup and let the ball fly.
Not to mention it’s the greatest feeling in the world when you strike someone out!
5. If you had more courage what would you do differently in your life now?
Ah, such a good question! I must pause and think about this one.
Honestly, I think I would be braver about speaking up for Adventist beliefs. Especially since one day – probably sooner than I expect – the Sunday law will very likely be enforced. I want to encourage others to stand up for their beliefs despite fear of persecution by the law.
6. Can you close your eyes and raise your eyebrows?
I can, actually!
7. What is at the top of your bucket list?
I want to visit Mexico.
As you know, I am half Mexican, but I have never actually been to Mexico. I really want to visit and immerse myself in my culture and the traditions of my culture.
8. What is on the walls of the room you are in?
There is a big framed picture of Jesus holding a lamb with the caption, “If you wander away, He will always search for you and will gladly welcome you back.” Next to that is a beautiful poster of the Fruits of the Spirit. Next to that is a small photo of my church. And then a little carved angel bearing the message, “Be an angel! God loves a helping hand.” Then there’s a drawing of an ocean coral. Then there are two medals I earned from school.
9. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Definitely a night owl!
10. One thing you know now that you wish you had known as a kid?
A very deep question.
One thing I know now that I wish I had known as a kid: Love is not an emotion, it is a choice. If love were an emotion, we would love very few people. And that would be tragic. For the Christian, love is not something we feel. It’s something we choose.
11. If you inherited $100,000 right now, how would you spend it?
I would donate it because I know a place in my community that’s really struggling. I’ve helped out at fundraisers, but I really wish I could do more.
Thank you again for the nomination, Alexa!
The Liebster Awards
The rules are the same as the ones for the Sunshine Blogger Award, except that I’m supposed to tell you all eleven random facts about myself. So I’ll do that at the end of this post.
1. What is your current favorite book/series, and why?
2. What are your favorite genres to read and write?
Biblical fiction and historical fiction! I also love fantasy, thanks to The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.
3. What is your favorite fandom?
The Les Misérables musical fandom!
Personally, my favorite version of this amazing musical is the one from the Original London Cast.
It’s so hard to choose favorite songs since they’re all so powerful, but my top three would have to be:
- Prologue: Work Song (#1)
- Bring Him Home (#25)
- Empty Chairs at Empty Tables (#29)
(If you haven’t read Les Mis, please DO NOT look at #27 as that song title contains a huge spoiler.)
4. Would you rather bring one of your characters to this world for a day or visit your favorite book world for a day?
This is tough! I would really love to visit the little town of Maycomb or parade the streets of France.
And somehow, it seems a little wrong to say one of my own characters since St. Paul was a real person and it would be weird to resurrect him from the dead. Though I would really love to have him here, because imagine all the questions I could ask and all the good advice I would get… I really don’t know how to answer this question….
Since resurrecting him doesn’t sit exactly right with me, I’ll choose to visit the world of Les Misérables for a day.
5. What is your favorite kind of character to write or read about?
Excellent question. Also a tough one. How shall I ever choose?
I think I’d have to say the innocent kid characters who are facing something very heavy and tragic. Think little Cosette from Les Misérables and Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird.
And from my own writing: Seth from The Apostle’s Sister.
6. Do you prefer coffee or tea? (Or something else?)
I haven’t liked any tea I tried, and I don’t drink coffee.
I really like fruit punch and pink lemonade! Or just good old-fashioned cold water.
7. Would you rather be really good at one specific talent or average at a wide variety of talents? Why?
Really good at one specific talent because the most beautiful talents are those that contain all your heart and mind and soul.
For me, that would be writing. I am also very talented at being a fast-pitch softball pitcher, but I’m not passionate about that the way I am about writing. I’m just good at it because I’ve practiced so much, but I don’t spend hours on it each day or think about it each day or dream about it each day the way I do with writing. I’m also talented at sketching, but that’s more of a hobby with me. It’s not a consuming passion the way writing is.
8. What is your passion in life?
More than anything, my passion in life is helping to draw as many lost sheep as possible into Christ’s fold. That’s the biggest reason I’m planning to become a pastor.
Pastorship will always be my first love. But I have also been given the incredible gift of using my writing to lead others to Christ. So that is my passion, too.
9. Do you have any “unusual” talents or hobbies?
I don’t think I have any talents or hobbies that would be classified as unusual. Fast-pitch softball isn’t very unusual.
I used to really enjoy making bracelets out of colorful rubber bands, though. Sometimes I think about starting that again just because it’s soothing and fun to do.
I’m not sure if that’s what you meant by unusual, but it’s the only thing I can really think of.
10. Would you rather live in a desert or a snowy region for the rest of your life?
I already live in the desert, lol. So I suppose the desert it is! I love hot weather and I’m not too keen on cold weather.
11. Can you think of a movie adaptation that is better than the book?
I absolutely cannot. The book is always better in my opinion.
Thank you again for the nomination, Ariella!
1. What author has influenced your writing?
Marjorie Holmes, author of the Two from Galilee trilogy, has influenced my own writing more than any other author. Holmes was the first Biblical fiction author I ever read, and she changed my life forever. As I read her trilogy about the life of Jesus Christ, I was just so amazed at how real and relatable she made Jesus and his family and friends. Before reading her books, I never thought of Jesus as an actual person just like us, even though he came down to earth in the flesh.
When I finished the final book in the series, The Messiah, I knew right then and there that I would be a Biblical fiction writer. And there it all began. That’s why I started writing The Apostle’s Sister.
I strive to be an author like Marjorie Holmes and make my own characters as real and relatable as she made Jesus. I want others to be encouraged and know that Bible figures were not other-worldly, they were people just like us. Marjorie Holmes changed my life by helping me reach that revelation, and I want to do the same for others as she did for me. I want to draw others closer to Jesus just as she did for me.
2. What first sparked the desire to write?
I was always fascinated by words, starting from a very young age. I remember yearning to read and write because I was jealous that everyone else knew how, but I didn’t. And as soon as I learned to write, I began making up stories.
3. Which literary villain/antagonist is your favorite?
I’ll definitely have to say…
Javert from Les Misérables.
For those of you who are not acquainted with Javert, he is one of the antagonists from Les Mis. He is the cruel Inspector of Police who remembers Jean Valjean from the galleys and proceeds to relentlessly persecute him, chasing him for two decades in order to put him in chains again.
Javert has no compassion whatsoever. Throughout the novel, he seeks to convince Valjean that he never can change his life and belong to God – he will always be nothing but a convicted thief. Long story short, Valjean continues to show extraordinary love to Javert, and the Inspector can’t take it. Javert’s story has a tragic ending. I’m not going to say what it is, since there are some here who have not read Les Mis. But I will say that Javert did have a tiny bit of heart left, but he chose not to accept Valjean’s offer of peace. He had hope, but he crushed it.
Javert’s actions were horrible, but he did have his reasons. He had motivations that he believed to be very valid. That’s my favorite thing about this antagonist. I can’t stand when antagonists don’t have any motivations and are just mean because they’re supposed to be. Hugo does an incredible job of making us pity Javert.
The following Les Mis song contains no spoilers, so I’ll insert it here. It’s my favorite song from Javert because it really shows how obsessed he is with the law and how convinced he is that he is doing God’s work in hunting Valjean – very much like the Pharisees of the New Testament.
4. Which literary hero/heroine is your least favorite?
Okay, I apologize in advance for what I’m about to say. I know many of you will probably vehemently disagree. I’m very sorry, but I have to say…
Anne from the Anne of Green Gables series.
I’m sorry, I just couldn’t love Anne the way everyone else does. I did really like her in the first book, although I never loved her. In the second book I also really liked her. But from the third book onward, she begins to develop a character that just ruined everything for me. She changed from sweet and imaginative to sarcastic, and this just irritated me. I really don’t like how her character developed as the series went on. It didn’t develop in a good way. I can’t exactly identify just what went wrong, but something certainly did.
I loved the other characters in the series, including her children, much more than I liked Anne. And I could never understand why everyone continued to idolize Anne throughout the series. The sweetness of her character just faded.
5. If provided a choice, which fictional world would you live in?
I’m going to say Narnia from C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia series. I really wish I had a wardrobe that took me to Narnia! It’s just a wonderful world. And who wouldn’t want to live in a kingdom ruled by a king like Aslan?
6. Who is your favorite Bible character, and how have they impacted your faith/life?
I would be surprised if you guys didn’t already know what I’m about to say! Because I’m literally writing a book about this character…
St. Paul, of course!
Paul impacted my life more than anyone else ever has, aside from Jesus. I really admire his faith through suffering, his humility, and his love for the worst of sinners. Not to mention that he wrote the Great Eight (aka Romans 8, the greatest chapter in the Bible), as well as my favorite Bible verse, Romans 5:8. But the thing that makes me love him most is this: It was his words about Jesus’ mercy and forgiveness, especially 1 Timothy 1:13-16, that finally brought me to Jesus and made me stop punishing myself for my past. I love how real and relatable Paul is, with his own regrettable past.
Besides 1 Timothy 1:13-16, these words from Paul also made me finally stop punishing myself and accept Jesus’ love:
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.– 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
It’s just amazing that those were the kinds of people Paul ministered to, because he saw them as worthy of salvation. That’s what we must do as well. Verse 11 (in pink) is most beautiful because those people turned away from their sin. They were not too far gone.
I could literally go on about all the ways Paul has impacted my life. But that could be a whole sermon. Check out my Five Reasons to Love St. Paul post if you want more!
7. What is your favorite classic? Alternatively, who is your favorite classic author?
You should already know this one as well. Les Misérables. To Kill a Mockingbird. Victor Hugo. Harper Lee. But since I talk about those books and authors at least a gazillion times each day, I’ll mention another classic I really like.
That other classic is The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White. It’s such an inspiring novel that I highly recommend!
8. Where is your favorite spot to read?
There’s a really shady tree at school where I like to sit and read.
9. What is a popular series/movie/other everyone but you likes?
Before I answer this one, I want to let you guys know I don’t want to offend anyone at all. I’m just sharing my convictions and beliefs.
My answer is Harry Potter.
Harry Potter just does not sit well with me. It’s sorcery, witchcraft, and incantations, and I just don’t feel comfortable with it.
I did watch Harry Potter before I became a Christian, and I regret it. I strive to live in light of Philippians 4:8, and I feel that those movies (or the books) will not help me to do that. The Bible says it’s sin to do anything you don’t feel comfortable with (Romans 14:23). So that’s my answer to this question.
10. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Honestly, I’m happy right here in sunny SoCal!
11. If you could visit one period in history, which would it be?
The Revolutionary War! I find that time period quite fascinating.
Thank you again for the nomination, Madi!
Now for the eleven random facts about myself!
- I am an INFP (Mediator).
- I am Pastor of my sophomore class, and am also on two ministry teams at school.
- Right now, I’m listening to the “Something’s Happening” album by The Hoppers, one of my favorite Christian singing groups. The song “He Remembers to Forget” is playing. I’ll insert the album below so you all can give it a listen!
- I do not know how to ride a bike.
- My favorite dessert is tiramisu, although I’ve only had it about twice in my life.
- I am obsessed with haystacks. Haystacks are an Adventist tradition.
- I don’t like running the mile in PE class.
- I had blonde hair when I was little. As you can tell, it really darkened!
- I think dark chocolate is much more delicious than milk chocolate.
- I am learning the Hebrew and Greek languages.
- My favorite translation of the Bible is the English Standard Version (you’ve probably noticed that’s the version I mostly use in my posts).
If you’re reading this post, I nominate you for an award! You can choose any set of questions – Alexa’s, Ariella’s, or Madi’s – to answer on your post.
I am NOT being lazy.
Here is the Something’s Happening album for you to enjoy!
I love you all! Thank you for reading this post.
Blessings this Last Supper.
You know the drill – eat, pray, write, repeat!