Easter Camp Reflections | Thursday’s Thoughts

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I’M BAAACK.

I have had an amazing time since I last spoke to you.

I went on school camp for four days, which was epic. I didn’t do half of the activities, like climbing a mountain and going white water rafting, because of my heart, but I got to sit in the bus and read (for eleven hours straight on one day). I read/finished three books in that day – which added up to over 1000 pages. And it was amazing. Seriously amazing. The rest of that camp was pretty epic too.

But what I really want to talk to you about is Easter Camp.

I wasn’t tired after school camp on Thursday, so I went straight to Easter Camp, rather than spending the night at home. This was my fourth Easter Camp, and I would say it was my best one yet.

You see, in the past, I’d gone to EC (soooo much quicker to type) with some issue or problem to deal with. I kinda talked about this when I guest posted on Sarah’s blog, so if you missed that, maybe check it out here. I’d go to EC with this expectation for God to do something, and He would, and then I’d go home and all would be lost.

But this year was different. Life was good, and I wasn’t depressed or in dire need of saving from something. I went to EC with the expectation that I’d have a good time, but otherwise I wasn’t sure what would happen.

What did end up happening was God taught me and showed me so many things, and it was incredible. I’ve taken away more from this EC than all of the other ones combined, because I was fully open to God working however He wanted.

Things I learned:

1. I have the potential to be a great leader in the future
I’ve always wanted to be a leader/teacher, like a youth leader, GB leader, and an actual teacher. However, I’ve always doubted my abilities. What if I’m not mature enough? What if I can’t? What if I’m not respected? Well, this EC, God showed me that I have so much potential. There were six or seven new Year 9 girls there this year, and it somehow happened that I fell into a bit of a leadership role with them. By placing me in this position, God took the opportunity to show me that one day, in the not so distant future, I could be a great leader. And honestly, that’s the confirmation I needed.

2. God has placed people in my life as role models for becoming a leader
You never realized how much of an impact people have had in your life until you begin to step into a role that is similar to theirs. My previous teachers and youth leaders and other role models all helped to shape me so that I could have that potential. But the main person that God placed in my life to show me how to be a great leader to those girls? My mum. Looking back at EC, I can see how much of my actions were influenced by her and the way that she brought me up, and I just know that God used her to make me the person I am today.

3. For the next stage of my life, I’m supposed to stay right where I am
At the end of the year, I graduate high school. After that, I’m free to do what I want. Since I aim to become a teacher, I could study nearly anywhere in New Zealand. Studying here seems like a weird choice, since I’d be doing a four year degree with only one year focusing on teaching, rather than a three year degree that’s entirely teaching. But after spending so much time with those girls, I can see myself as their leader next year. I can’t see myself leaving town and going elsewhere. I see myself staying put and being their leader and studying here. That was my original plan anyway, but I feel like this was God confirming that this is the right decision.

4. God can speak to you in many different ways
In the past, I’d mostly heard from God through music or through people’s words. This EC, however, I mainly heard from Him through the experiences I had. There is no way He could have shown me all of this any way other than through letting me experience it. And I’m so, so grateful that He did.

5. You don’t need to have a specific issue for God to teach you things
If you’d asked me what I wanted to hear from God about, I probably would have said something about the future, but I also would have said that things were mostly fine and I would have been happy with just having an enjoy weekend at EC without any divine experiences. But God knew what I needed to hear from Him, even if I didn’t. My life was pretty great before EC, but now it’s even better after.

If this year had been like other years – if I had been desperate for God to fix something in my life or give me some kind of reassurance – then there is no way I would have noticed all that He had shown me. It makes me wonder how much I’ve missed in previous years.

The aim of this post is to show you that a) God is really awesome, and b) He is always doing things to help you, even if you can’t tell or you don’t think you need it. To hear His voice, all you need to do is look up and away from the distractions, open your eyes to His messages, and listen.

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

Update

It’s been literally eight hours since I posted saying that I was taking a blogging hiatus for a couple of weeks, yet here I am.

I just thought I’d update you on two things.

1. I got the WordPress app on my phone, so that might help with consistent posting? I don’t know.

2. You know all that busyness I’ve been moaning about? Well, I finished the last of my assessments today. Everything was done on time, and to a standard that I’m happy with. I didn’t have to stay up late to finish anything. And my Queen’s Award? That has turned out so much better (and easier and less stressful) than I anticipated, and I’m over the moon right now. I even have time to read.

There you have it, folks. I’m so stoked about everything being done, and I’m looking forward to a week or two of camps.

The year of Tessa is off to a great start.

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

Blogging Hiatus

So I’ve been kinda slack again lately. Whoops.

Like I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m crazy busy at the moment. Not only do I have endless assignments and Queen’s Award things to do and hand in, but I’ve also got two camps back to back starting Monday. I’m getting everything done on time so far (kind of), and so I should be fine. But the blog is suffering, and I’m sorry.

I’m going to take a break. Which has kinda already happened anyways. I was originally planning on scheduling a couple of posts for while I was away, but the busyness and lack of posting has thrown my semi organized blogging schedule off, so I need to sit down and rewrite it or something. Which I’ll be doing after camp.

So ya. I’ll be gone for about another week and a half, maybe two weeks. It depends on how I rewrite my schedule and how things go when I get back.

I’m so stoked though. One of the activities on my school camp is climbing a mountain, which I’m not allowed to do because of my heart. So guess what I get to do instead?

SIT BY MYSELF FOR EIGHT HOURS AND READ.

I’M SO EXCITED.

Honestly, another thing that has suffered is my reading. It’s been like two weeks since I finished a book, and then it was about two weeks earlier the time before that. So hopefully this will catch me up and I’ll be able to get through my stack.

Come back in a couple of weeks to hear all about my camping adventures and hopefully good results on assignments!

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

Bookish Complaints | Motley Monday

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My apologies for the sparse posting and unexplained absences. There will be about another two weeks ish where posting may not be as regular as I like, but you shall be warned beforehand.

And before I begin, here’s a list of what I have to do this week:

1. 2/3 of a Bible assignment (due Friday)
2. 1/4 of the practical and all of the theory for a Chemistry assignment (also due Friday)
3. Write an entire play script (first draft) for a Classics assignment (due Thursday)
4. Finish cross stitching a bookmark
5. Write a report about these bookmarks that I’ve been cross stitching
6. Pack for camp
7. Continue with all other life commitments (Bible study, GB, tutoring, youth group, church, etc etc)

So that’s what I’ve got going on.

I’m gonna die.

So today’s post is about book related complaints. It’s a mixture of complaints to do with people and complaints to do with life. I’m not sure how this is going to turn out.

1. A lack of money
This is probably one of my biggest complaints when it comes to books. I see people buying book after book after book, when they’re my age or younger, and I’m like “How the heck do you have the money for this? Where is your money tree and where do I get one?” I do not understand. Teach me your ways so that I can buy books also. Seriously, the last time I bought a book for myself was… I can’t even remember. Oh my goodness I think it was more than a year ago. My life is so sad.

2. A lack of time
This is my other biggest complaints. You people who seem to read heaps of books at a very fast rate and still do life – how? I guess in some ways I am one of them, but when I see the stacks that people are reading, my brain explodes with thinking about how much I have to do and how little time I have.

3. Shelf envy
Everyone has such gorgeous book shelves. I follow about a dozen ish bookstagram accounts, and their shelves are all so amazing (and they have so many brand new books and again where is this money coming from?). Seriously. This is what happens when I search #shelfie on Instagram.

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Random account that I follow. @readsleepfangirl Absolutely no reason for choosing this account, other than that amazing shelfie.

And honestly, this is all of my complaints in one photo. ALSO YES THAT IS 12:35 AT NIGHT. LESS THAN TWELVE HOURS BEFORE THIS POST GOES UP. NO WONDER I’M GETTING ANGRY.

4. Hardcovers
This is making me angry. I don’t understand the world and its hardcovers. Yes, they look gorgeous, but they’re so flipping expensive. Like double the price. And when you have no money to begin with, then it kinda doesn’t work in your favour. Also they’re so heavy. Other than my collection of classics from my grandmother, I own three hardcovers. I’m jealous of everyone with hardcovers because they look so lovely but also I don’t understand when you can get the exact same book for half the price aND IT’S MAKING MY HEAD SPIN.

5. ARCs
PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS LIKE YES I HAVE SO MANY ARCS TO READ AND I’M LIKE HOW ON EARTH? WHERE DO YOU GET THEM FROM? CAN I HAVE SOME? OH WAIT. NO I CAN’T. PEOPLE DON’T CARE TO SEND THEM TO NEW ZEALAND. I’VE LOOKED. Why is the entire bookish world so discriminatory against most places that aren’t America? Which brings me to my next point.

6. The lack of New Zealand in books
I’ve seriously read two chapter books set in my lovely country. One was weird and fantasy, so it barely even counts as being set here, and the other was just plain old terrible. I feel discriminated against.

7. The sad lack of books in my library
I’ve complained about this before. Out of my 300ish book TBR on Goodreads, my library has approximately 50 (give or take) of them. It’s pathetic. I love my library, but I don’t love its lack of the books that I want to read.

I seem to always do lists with seven points, despite my dislike for the number seven (prime number with no pattern. Ugh), so I’ll stop there. There’s another point that I could make, but I’m doing an entire post on it (that I’m really excited about) in a few weeks, so I’ll save it for then.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I shouldn’t write these late at night, because apparently I get angry.

What’s your biggest book-related complaint? Do books ever make you angry? Also, semi unrelated, what would you put in a fangirling kit? What kind of things do you think are necessary for fangirling? I’m plotting for a friend’s birthday present and need some suggestions.

AND HAPPY PI DAY!

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

Spoilers | Motley Monday

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Today, I shall be sharing some thoughts about spoilers. It’ll be random, I’m warning you now.

The first time that I encountered spoilers was in Year 9. I was reading the Anne Of Green Gables series, and I was up to the seventh book (out of nine). My friend came along while I was reading, and she said, “[Person] dies.” I protested at that. “What do you mean? How is that possible? [Insert reasons why they shouldn’t/couldn’t]. Why did you tell me that?” “Oh, they don’t die until the last book, when [thing] happens.” I was devastated. Not only were they one of my favourite characters, but I couldn’t believe that she’d spoiled it for me. When I finally got up to that part in the series, I cried and refused to read for a day, shoving the book in a drawer.

Anyway.

We seem to care a lot about spoilers. When the new Star Wars came out, everyone was so insistent that people didn’t spoil it. After I read Divergent, I posted a photo on Instagram, and then spent a while scouring the Divergent hashtag. Someone had posted a photo that spoiled the ending of the entire series in one sentence (and also tore my heart to pieces, the way that it was written). I was so mad. How could someone post that?

But why do we care? If we intend to read the book or watch the movie, we’ll eventually know what happens anyway, so it really doesn’t matter all that much.

However, there’s one thing that I’m forgetting. The thrill of being in the moment and experiencing it for yourself for the very first time. It’s something that can only happen once, and you can never get the feeling back. As soon as you know what happens, whether it’s some big important thing, or just something small, you’re never going to get the chance to experience those raw emotions again. When someone spoils something for you, they are taking away that experience from you. Yes, I was upset when the character in the Anne Of Green Gables died, but I would have cried even hard if I hadn’t seen it coming. I would have gasped and sobbed. My friend took those raw emotions and that experience away from me.

What I truly don’t understand is why someone would want to spoil something for someone else. Sure, sometimes it’s a mistake, but deliberately going out of your way to destroy that experience? That’s just heartless and cruel. Being shocked by an event in a book or movie is one of the greatest things in the world, and I can’t understand why people would take that away.

What do you think? Do we make too much of a big deal over spoilers? Does it even matter? Have you ever spoiled something for someone? When was something spoiled for you? I’m intrigued to hear other opinions on this matter, if anyone else even cares.

BTW our household now has five people living in it again. We got our exchange student yesterday. He’s from Thailand, and will now be known as The Thai One.

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

Book Review: Not If I See You First | Wordy Wednesday

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On Monday, I posted this photo on Instagram.

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I currently have all of these books out of the library. All of them except Shatter Me are over 500 pages. I have a month to read them (ish) before I have to return them. AND THERE’S TWO MORE WAITING FOR ME. WHY HAVE I DONE THIS TO MYSELF?!

I need to quit school or something so that I can just read. You guys say how busy I was when I listed it all on Friday. I’M GONNA DIE OF BUSYNESS AND LACK OF READING TIME. SOMEONE HELP ME.

Today I’m reviewing Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom.

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The Rules:

Don’t deceive me. Ever. Especially using my blindness. Especially in public.

Don’t help me unless I ask. Otherwise you’re just getting in my way or bothering me.

Don’t be weird. Seriously, other than having my eyes closed all the time, I’m just like you only smarter.

Parker Grant doesn’t need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That’s why she created the Rules: Don’t treat her any differently just because she’s blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.

When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there’s only one way to react—shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that’s right, her eyes don’t work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn’t cried since her dad’s death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened—both with Scott, and her dad—the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.

Combining a fiercely engaging voice with true heart, debut author Eric Lindstrom’s Not If I See You First illuminates those blind spots that we all have in life, whether visually impaired or not.

I’d been excited to read this one ever since I read She Is Not Invisible. Read my flailings about that here. I had been looking forward to it for ages, so I reserved it the second that my library got it in.

It was a really great book. She Is Not Invisible was great because it was so different from other YA books (exhibit a: it had no romance), whereas this one was great because it was just like other YA books, but with the blindness thrown in.

However, I didn’t fully enjoy this one. Some things were confusing to me, and just didn’t seem to make any sense. I didn’t understand some of the issues that she had, because I couldn’t see why they were such a big deal. I don’t know. Also, it was quite cliché, I guess, and it probably wouldn’t be at all a stand out book for me if it wasn’t for Parker’s blindness.

But then there were things that I loved. Like the running. Oh my goodness the running. I just loved that element of the whole thing. I’m not at all a sporty person (understatement of the century), but this was absolutely awesome.

And there was something else too, but I can’t remember what it was. I just remember that there were two things that I really loved about it, and the running was one of them. This is the problem with reviewing books that you read a while ago. Maybe it was the Braille? I don’t know. My brain is fried.

Oh, and if anyone has figured out the Braille at the end of the book, do tell me what it says. I wasn’t able to figure it out.

So, all in all, a book with some amazing things and some kind of bland things.

4 stars: I enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it, but I didn’t absolutely love it.

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann