Living Life

Quote of the Month:
“And I bet one thing. I bet that their stories are like mine in one way—anything but typical and ordinary. After all, that’s what I call life.” –Jill Wolfson, What I Call Life
                I came across this quote in Jill Wolfson’s What I Call Life, a rather recent read of mine. Eleven-year-old Cal Lavender is sent away to a foster home due to her mother’s fits nd learns that she has more with everyone else there then she possibly imagined. It’s a short, yet sweet book, and I really enjoyed seeing Cal’s “short, temporary detour from what I call life,” as she puts it.
                For the past several weeks, I have been experiencing theater and other strange things, like the paper ball fight in the hallway used to teach stress (the assistant principal knew what was going on and was okay with it), and feeling really awkward performing at my old elementary school. I have been experiencing this thing called life.
                Before theater, I used to just sit around and surf the internet on weekday evenings. There was nothing else to do, expect read and write, things I did right after homework. I had to stay inside my house, because the sun sets earlier than it does in the rest of the world. But for the past few weeks, I feel like I have been out and doing what you’re supposed to in life. I don’t miss my time surfing on the computer when I’m out there, in the real world, doing fun activities, because honestly? I’m outside, and being online doesn’t match up to that standard.
                When I was younger, I couldn’t go to my friends’ houses or go to their sleepovers, because I wasn’t allowed to, even when I asked. Man, I pestered my parents so much to do those fun things. Now, since I am past that age range of being called a child, I haven’t experienced most of the things that you only get to do when you’re a child. I can’t believe that I have to carry that and regret not speaking up for those things.
                Before I actually become an adult, I actually want to go and enjoy this period of my life. I want to experience all of the fun things, before I run out of time to do them. I want to live life so that way, when I grow up, I have the most amazing stories to tell. I won’t just tell stories about things that I experienced but everyone else went through; no, I’ll also tell stories that are extraordinary. Our lives can be extraordinary, depending on how you make of them.
                So go. Go live. Breathe. Run. Jump. Scream. Laugh. Cry. Feel the joy and the sorrow.
                Live life to the fullest.

Sunshine Award

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Once again, I have been awarded the Sunshine Award! Thank you to:

Cindy @ Eat. Sleep. Read. Fangirl
and Bethan @ Think. Read. Write. Dream!

The Rules
1. Thank the blogger that nominated you and link to her blog.
2. Nominate other bloggers and let them know on their blogs.
3. Answer a list of 10 questions.
4. The Sunshine Award button must be posted on the blog.

1. Books or movies?
Books, hands down! You can carry them with you everywhere. As for movies, they are not as portable. There’s nothing wrong with curling up and reading a good book!

2. Favorite holiday?
Christmas, hands down!

3. Summer or winter?
Summer can be really fun because there is no school, but it’s really lonely (in several previous posts I mentioned I can’t really visit my friends’ houses due to time conveniences with being dropped off/picked up), but I really love winter! I actually spend time at school with my friends and we have a mini party.

4. Any relationship advice?
Relationship advice. I don't know much about this subject, but if you mean boyfriend/girlfriend, then start off as friends…? I really don’t know. But if it’s regular friend relationships, then be nice and respectful to your friends and show them you care. (Now that I think about it, the same thing is required in boyfriend/girlfriend relationships).

5. Where do you want to travel to?
I’d love to visit the big cities, like New York City and London. I would also love to go to San Diego, for the San Diego International Comic-Con, and wherever the Olympics will be held!

6. Biggest fear?
My biggest fear is definitely my fear of sinking/drowning. I had no idea how to swim until a couple years back, and the reason why I do swimming is to face my fear. (Yes, I sound very Dauntless like.)

7. Favorite quote?
I have so many! I have a tie between two of them:
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” –Oscar Wilde
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.” –Bernard M. Baruch

8. What's one thing you want to try?
Skydiving and going to a sleep away camp. I love the outdoors, and skydiving would be an amazing experience to try! I would also like to go to a week-long sleep away camp; I really hope that happens, because it’s something I would want to experience and it’s something that can really benefit (like life-long friends and experiences) you for the rest of your life. I hope that it happens this summer, or else my summer is going to be a snooze fest. I don’t want school to end for that reason.

9. Favorite memory in school?
Just the everyday schedule that occurs. Every day, during that schedule, something weird will happen. But if it is talking about a specific memory, it was during science in seventh grade. I was trying to tell my science teacher what organism I was going to do a report about, which was an American Pika. I said Pika like in Pikachu. The teachers had no idea what I meant until finally, my science teacher said,
“Oh, you mean Pika [my note: like in Pikachu] like Pika, pikachu?”
Everyone cracked up. Later, I found out it was prounouced “Pie-KA.” I was so embarrassed! That, and due to the natural redness of my cheeks, is the reason why all of my friends call me Pika as a nickname.

10. What was the last thing you ate?
Cotton candy!

I nominate:
Laurel @ My Memories
Emily @ Dancer of Books
Chloe @ Rainbow of Words
and anyone else who hasn't done this yet or wants to do it!

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Who wouldn't want to go dressing up in cosplay as your favorite character and (possibly) meeting the cast of your favorite shows and movies, or meeting your favorite author?

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I really sometimes wonder how I can resemble Pikachu... :)
(Perhaps my friend knows....)

Stereotypes and Labels

I am just really mad right now. So, a couple days back, I overheard someone saying that theater people “probably all have an average of C-plusses.” When I heard that, I was really offended, and not just because I was doing theater.

Something that really ticks me off is when people make certain assumptions to different stereotypes and special education people, just like the example above. Another example is when people don’t think that special education people aren’t ordinary, meaning that they don’t have similar interests as everyone else. I also don't like it when people use other people's insecurities to bring them down-- calling people dumb, clueless, hopeless, fat, etc.

I have a lot of friends from different social groups. Some are gamers, some are athletes, some are trying to memorize and uncover the next number in pi. Honestly, if you remove the stereotype labels, then you can see that they do some similar stuff that people from other groups. Like one of my friends is a gamer, but he is in a lot of the gifted education classes and has really good grades.

Maybe some of theater people may not have smarts as something that they were granted with, but they have the acting skills down, for one. The cast in the play that I am have a huge abundance of different people; some like to sing, another is a cross-country skier, and a lot of them know how to do something that I don’t: playing chess. (I really, really want to learn how to play chess! I only know how to play checkers, mahjong, spider solitaire and mancala)!

And then there are special education people. I used to work with special education people because I volunteered to work with them during their gym class in sixth grade. They may be different, but they’re still people. I was able to talk and get along with some of the special education people because they’re interests—the girls, American girl dolls, while the boys loved Bakugan—were some of the things that I grew up with in my household.

That brings up another thing that bothers me: People can’t accept others for who they want to be. So please, please don’t let labels define and control people that you see, and don’t let them define and control you. Besides, you can just be more than one “label”: I am a nerd, orchadork and bookworm, and I am super proud of that.

Stay strong and wonderful!
xoxo Morning

The Liebster Award

Hi, everyone! I've been feeling lazy lately. It's student-led/parent/teacher conferences right now, and everyone at school was dismissed early. Anyways, I have been nominated with the Liebster Award by The Magic Violinist! 

The rules:
1. Each nominee must link back to the person that nominated them!
2. Answer the ten questions given to you by the nominator!
3. Nominate 10 other bloggers who have less than 200 followers!
4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer!
5. Let the nominees know you have nominated them by going to their website and notifying them!

1. eBook or physical book?
A: Definitely physical book! They're a lot more portable to carry around. Plus, you're allowed to use them DURING school than unlike eBooks, where there are some exceptions to when you can use it in school. I also love the smell of old and new books. At least, on the bright side, eBooks save paper and they also save the amount of shelf space I have for my books? It's a pretty small free space, now.

2. The Hunger Games or Divergent?
A: Hmm... this is a tough one! I love the Hunger Games and Detergent-- er, Divergent, I tend to call it Detergent for fun-- so I am torn by this question! Really torn. Um...I think I like the Hunger Games better because the idea seems a little more interesting (but Tris and Four are kick-butt characters, I have to tell you).

3. What are your favorite book-into-movie adaptations?
A: I think the most impressive one I have seen is Catching Fire (the second installment of the Hunger Games trilogy). I haven't seen the first movie because when it came out, I wasn't allowed to watch it. The second movie and how they depicted the Arena is just how I pictured it in my mind! And President Snow is intimidating, trying to kill out "their kind". (Movie reference!)

4. Book trailers: yay or nay?
A: It depends. Some book trailers are rather interesting, but others? Not so much. So... it would be a yay-nay? If there was such a thing.

5. What's your opinion on Twilight?
A: My opinion on Twilight. I can only judge the movies, since I have never read the books (I'll need to get to at least reading the first book). What I can tell you though is that it seems to be unbelievable. Werewolves and vampires? Fighting over a mortal girl? It's not my type. The movies always seems so dark to. When I was nine, I watched the first movie, and like then and now, I can not get the plot. The only good things about Twilight? When the male characters are mentioned in Carrie Hope Fletcher's song "Boys In Books Are Better." Oh, and the "How It Should Have Ended" versions!

6. Do you eat sweet or salty foods when writing?
A: I eat both sweet and salty foods while writing in my notebook, but not both at the same time. I do not eat anything when I am on my computer-- there HAS to be a three-foot radius from my laptop!

7. What's your favorite genre to read? How about your favorite to write?
A: Once again, I am torn by a question! I read so many genres that I sometimes lose track. I do end up reading lots of fantasy and contemporary, but dystopia/post-apocalyptic books aren't too far behind. As for what genre I like to write in, I've been going between fantasy and contemporary. I write fantasy in third-person, while I write contemporary in first-person and in verse.

8. Do you design covers for your own books like I do? Would you care to share some of those covers? ;)
A: I do design covers! Due to the limited amount of resources I have, the quality and creativity isn't all that great. Sadly, I don't have any at this minute.

9. Do you find that your writings are too short or too long?
A: Before, when I first got into writing. My first two chapters of my 2012 NaNoWriMo novel were at least 50 pages and nowhere near the end. The creative writing prompts at school were short. I had to learn to have a layout of my story in order to know how long it may seem.

10. Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kind?
A: Yes, I do actually listen to music while I’m writing, but it isn’t the type of music I would normally dance to and crack up the volume, because it can easily distract me, being a huge music fan and all. Most of the time, I listen to music scores (i.e. Legend of Korra, Frozen, The Chronicles of Narnia) because it’s soothing. I only get to listen to those while I’m on my laptop; otherwise, I just write while listening to nothing.

My Questions for the Nominees
1. Thing you are currently fangirling/obsessing about?
2. Your quirkiest habit?
3. Your dream travel destination?
4. Guilty pleasure?
5. Who was the last person you waved hello?
6. Favorite YouTuber?
7. Your favorite fruit?
8. Have you ever watched the movie version of a book before you actually read it?
9. Your favorite store?
10. Harry Potter or Percy Jackson (if you have read the books? If you haven't, then just say which one you would rather read based on the series titles...)?

I don’t know that many bloggers, so I won’t exactly get to ten. I nominate this award to:

Starflower @ Fairy Skeletons
Juli @ Just Pepperminty
Tara @ Daily Life Adventures
Cindy @ Eat. Sleep. Read. Fangirl.
Emily @ Metias and Me
Aish @ The Mind Babble
Sakshi @ I’m Capturing Sunshine

It's My Blogoversary!

Wow. I cannot believe that I have been blogging for 365 days now! An entire year of blogging! I don’t know what to say about this, really. Wrapping it up to say, “It is awesome!” wouldn’t necessarily make me feel satisfied. It only seems like yesterday that I have entered the world of blogging one year ago.

My Blogging Journey
                On Thursday, February 8th, 2013, I first entered the blogging world with only three goals in mind: one, to be able to speak out; two, to grow physically, mentally and emotionally; and three help me improve my writing skills. Perfectly Imperfect (now blogging under her real name, Sakshi Raina, at I’m Capturing Sunshine) also inspired me to blog, after bumping into it one day during the summer of 2012. So, I decided go on Blogger and create The Ups and Downs of My Not-So-Average Life.
              Soon, I joined Teen Bloggers on Goodreads in April 2013 and met some friendly people in the teen Christian community that I stumbled upon. The readers and the amazing bloggers I have met over the past year have helped my blog become what it is today! From then until this point, I have written many points about events and things that occurred in my life, and wrote posts about some of my thoughts on certain topics.
              Am I going to stop blogging? No, for the time being, I don’t see quitting blogging anytime in my future soon. I am hoping to write more meaningful posts and meet more bloggers just like I am in the blogosphere.

Blogging Friends
             I met and interacted with so many wonderful bloggers mainly in the book blogging and Teen Christian sphere over the past year, and all of them are incredibly wonderful people. If I don’t mention you, just know that you are a very awesome buddy and I honestly appreciate it that you’re reading my blog!

Chloe @ Rainbow of Words: This girl is amazing. She always comes up with the most bizarre yet brilliant ideas, and she also has a lot of interests like I do. I met her on the YWP NaNoWriMo forums and on her Blogger blog, Okapi Girl. You’re always so full of energy and though you have your down days at times, you always get back up on your feet. You keep doing what you do, all right?

Emma @ simply inspired: Emma, what can I say about you? You’re the one who got me into fangirling (and that’s good, because, back then, I loved book series’ but I never really talked to them with any of my friends at school) and I would have never known about unicorn poop cookies (if you don’t know what they are, they are cookies that are really colorful and rainbow-like covered in sprinkles)! You rock, girl! XD

Helena @ Crafts, Pictures, and All That Craziness: I originally known her from the Discovery Girl website. She is one amazing photographer and a band geek (band geeks are amazing; that is a fact). She is one of the spunkiest and sweetest person that I know of. I know that you’re busy with high school, but I really love reading your posts, no matter if they are only filled with pictures. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, and that is something that you definitely showed me!

D.S. (Moriah) who I have met on the DG website and has written as a collaborator at several group blogs, asayoungerwriter @ An Ordinary Girl with an Extraordinary Life and The Magic Violinist @ The Magic Violinist are also some blogging people that I’ve met but still getting to know. Hi, you three! J (And D.S., good luck into getting into the summit this year! I know you can make it; you’re such a sweet and loving girl :D).

Now What?
                Now what am I going to do? Well, as soon as I post this I’ll have to be logging off and watch my Saturday movie or the Olympics (Sochi’s opening ceremony was SPECTACULAR)! But, blog-wise, I am hoping to get more followers, write more posts, and get finished working on my blog design by Tuesday. Physical wise, it’s looking great (thank you to Harri who blogs at Vanilla Craft Blog for designing it, and to Ruby from Feed Me Books Now who has helped with some designing), but I’m planning to add more blog pages, create some memes, and finally host a giveaway! 

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Unicorn poop cookies!

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I'm going to be writing in my notebooks and jot down some ideas after this...

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Icy People

I watched the movie Frozen exactly one week ago, and it is absolutely adorable. I love all of the characters, the songs and the scenery, everything. Every time I got the chance, I would listen to the soundtrack on YouTube, rerunning through the songs—especially Vuelie, sung by the choir Cantus. When I tune in, it gives me goose bumps, in a solemn, humble, warm sort of way that sometimes just makes me visualize the beauty of this world. I’d buy the soundtrack, but sadly, I need to save up money.

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"Do you want to build a snowman? Or ride our bikes around the halls?"
How much I would like to try that! Or, at least, mattress surfing.

Fans of fandoms have many ways to express their love for a fandom—song covers, cosplaying, fanfiction, and animated music videos, also known as AMVs. On YouTube, there was this one fanmade video featuring Elsa, the Snow Queen, and Jack Frost from Rise of the Guardians. If you searched up Elsa and Jack on a search engine and click on the image results there would be many pictures of them.

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The two of them are quite similar to one another. For one, they have a younger sibling which they are pretty close to. They also have the power of ice.
I love the ice and snow. They come along with the weather, where I live. I take lots of photography in the winter because, when examined carefully, they’re beautiful. Snow and ice come with winter fun—building snowmen, sledding, ice skating and having snowball fights are just some of the seasonal things that you can do. In some books and movies, ice people are portrayed as evil. Take Jack Frost from Santa Claus 3: The Escape Claus, as an example. It is dangerous: icicles and slippery sidewalks.
Amongst other people, there are different compared to most, causing some internal problems within themselves. Jack wondered why the Man in the Moon chose him to be one of the Guardians, who he doesn’t exactly “fit it” with, for no one believes in him. Elsa, on the other hand, is afraid she might reveal her powers to the kingdom of Arendelle and she may hurt someone close to her.

This photo was taken by me, on my phone, while walking home from school.

Though we may not have ice powers, we can still relate a lot to this situation, feeling different. There are kids in schools who are bullied, and those things make them feel insecure. Maybe there is a quiet person inside a classroom filled with rowdy, noisy kids. Or perhaps, that person may be you. 
I can definitely relate to this. I’m the only person in my group of friends who play in orchestra. I’m short for my age. My favorite room out of my entire house is the laundry room, the only place where I can read with little distractions! If I had to summarize my entire existence in the first place, it would be set in these three words: eccentric, yet whimsical. There is nothing wrong with having quirky habits.
Elsa did view her powers, in the end, differently than she did in the beginning, and Jack discovered why he was chosen as a Guardian and found out what his center is. Icy people may feel a bit indifferent, and push people away, but get to know them and they can turn out to be fun people who are beautiful, just as the snowy mountains 

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