To My Future Husband

To My Future Husband

To my Future Husband,

I know that we do not know each other yet, but I want you to know that I know you’re out there, somewhere. I don’t know where, but I know somewhere. And I know this because God told me so.

(Woooowww… That was a LOT of “knows”! Forgive me if I seem arrogant in that sense)

I just wanted to let you know what you’re in for, if you decide to try to pursue me and win my heart. My heart is NOT something easy to get to, at all. I give my whole heart to God, to Jesus, and only chunks of it to animals and people I love, including friends and family. Yet I am a passionate, deeply caring person. I am just not won over easily.

By “not won over easily,” I do not mean, “playing hard to get”. In fact, I don’t trust flirting all that much, or even know HOW to flirt, myself (or recognize it, unless it is outright obvious– I mostly think people are being friendly/polite). By “not won over easily,” I mean you are going to have to make some effort to get to know me, and win my trust. I do not trust all that easily. Being a sensitive person (understatement of the century), I have been hurt emotionally and mentally (and almost physically, once or twice) multiple times. I instinctively have built a strong fortress around my heart, my soul. If you want to get in, you need to be willing to scale some walls. Make some effort. Get to know me on a deeper level. I have no tolerance for manipulation, which loses my trust almost instantaneously, setting you back to square one (if you’re the lucky one). Most of all, I need understanding. Not necessarily sympathy, but understanding.

I want you to understand that I can be moody, and why I’m moody. I want you to understand that I have a weird, emotional, fangirly side, a sweet, caring, counseling side, and a serious, academic, smart side. Often, the last wins out a lot in my life, and I am forced to make hard choices (such as “Do I go visit my dying dog during her last days, knowing I probably won’t see her again, or do I get a jump on periodicals, which are due in a couple weeks?”). I am often forced to neglect personal things, like writing, friend time, me time, etc in favor of homework and other obligations; this typically has a negative effect on me. If I do not have a healthy outlet to express my frustrations, it slowly gnaws away at the core of my being; I feel helpless and depressed– like I just want to curl up into a ball, cry myself to sleep, and not do ANY work. Like at ALL. I am one of those people who has to lie and go to the answering machine response when most people ask how I’m doing (but don’t usually care); note: I hate being inauthentic with my feelings, as I feel it is being untrue to myself. But most people don’t care, or have problems of their own, so for their sake more than mine, I tend to push that all inward, driving me even battier than normal. People often, though not always, take advantage of my seeming stability, my warm openness, and come to me with emotional needs or problems. One or two problems I can help them handle. But the more that flock to me, the more overwhelmed I become, and the more my brain feels like exploding, or my emotions/mouth, snapping– like a twig. (You don’t want to be on the receiving end when that happens, trust me. Although the good news is, it seldom shows outwardly, and it is happening less.)

Additionally, I’m sure you’ve realized by now that I am not a shallow kind of gal (at least, I try not to be). I value the person inside, not the outside. I recognize that these bodies are only God’s temples, shells to temporarily house our true selves, our souls. While physical beauty does have some value, granted, I grow angry when/if people are only drawn to me only because of how I look. It gets to the point where I almost want to (if I could only be so horribly audacious; again, this is GOD’S temple, not mine, and I have no right to desecrate it, just as others have no right to desecrate it) take a knife and scar up the face I was  given, cut chunks of  hair out, and scar or deform the rest of my body, because people place so much value on it over the soul. It makes me want to openly defy them. When will they see or understand? It is not the physical that TRULY matters, in the long haul!

(I apologize for the rant… I’ve been through a lot, as you can see)

I do not go for flings, one night stands, online dating, etc. I want true commitment. Marriage. I bought myself a purity ring when I was 18, and on my finger it shall remain until that special night (which, by the way, I AM looking forward to just as much as you). In return, I will promise you love, loyalty, devotion and commitment as your helpmate in Christ. We can work together in Him for God’s glory, looking forward to heaven as one. I am open to both giving and receiving advice, as long as it is constructive and not critical for the sake of being critical (I’m toughening up a bit in that area). I have been anxious about seeing anyone, though,  due to my many trust issues, and my persistent fear of manipulation, deceit, or, worst of all, being taken advantage of due to my emotional, mental, spiritual, and even physical inexperience. That is why dating/courting is simultaneously one of my greatest desires, but also one of my greatest fears. I do not want to date an unbeliever, most of all. The thought, along with my experience in that department, utterly terrifies me. I want someone who is truly dedicated to Christ, and has a solid, strong relationship with Him. I want to grow together with you, in Him. And if that means I’ll need to wait longer, because we all know God runs on His own time, so be it. I’ll wait for hundreds of years, if it takes that long. I’ll willing.

I’ll be praying for you.

Yours,

Olivia

______________________________

Image Credit: https://gallery.yopriceville.com/Free-Clipart-Pictures/Valentine-s-Day-PNG/Heart_Print_PNG_Clipart

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Sparks Fly in “An Ember in the Ashes”

Sparks Fly in “An Ember in the Ashes”

(First off, I’ll say a big “Thank you” and “You’re welcome,” to Ms. Brittany from Instagram– loyal “Emberling” and Elias’s biggest devotee. I would not have read this without your avid persistence and dedication in trying to convince others and myself to do so. The “You’re welcome” is because I think you would greatly appreciate the topic of this post, if nothing else. 🙂 )

Ahem…. With that being said, I actually have some free time on hand tonight. *looks shocked* See, THIS is what happens when I actually get all my priorities straight and put work BEFORE pleasure!!! (LOL) Anyways, I thought I’d kick off the evening with maybe a couple of book reviews, including Marissa Meyer’s Renegades, Janeen Ippolito’s Lawless, C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters, and, but of course, Ms. Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes (I mean, come on, you’ve seen how much fun this woman is on IG! She literally takes stories of talking veggies, various– but fortunately not inappropriate– articles of clothing, and stuffed animals!!! Yes, I actually started following her BEFORE I read her books, haha).

So, without further ado, I give to you all….

MY REVIEW OF AN EMBER IN THE ASHES!!!!

*WARNING! SPOILER ZONE! PROCEED WITH CAUTION AND AT YOUR OWN RISK IF YOU HAVE NOT READ*

Overall gist: Pretty good. Wouldn’t say it’s my absolute FAVORITE (the Shadow and Bone Trilogy is pretty high up there, though), but still pretty good. Lots of Roman-esque moments, even mentions of how brutal they were back then. So, while I am not at all a fan of the gruesome gore, I can appreciate how realistic she was with portraying this war-ridden, militia-obsessed world. (Then there’s people like Elias and Laia– pronounced Leia??– who want rid of the tyranny. Yah! VIVE LA REVOLUCCION!!!) Anywho….

As always, I’m going to start with the negatives to get them done and outta the way… (Britt, if you are reading this, you *might* wanna skip down to the positives. I’m saying this as your friend. Because when I critique ANY book, even if it’s a FAVE, I will go HARD on it. I’m a “tough grader,” in short, and WILL nit-pick, even pet peeves. That is all. 🙂 )

  1. The high rape culture. I get that it’s big, and that this culture is (very sadly) built at least partly off of it (brothels everywhere… slaves being abused… 😥 ), but no need to show just how graphic it is. It’s sufficient to know that so-and-so was taken advantage of, or almost taken advantage of, and that we need to DO something about it. I’m not saying we should brush it aside/pretend it does not happen/doesn’t exist. I’m saying we do something about without being super-graphic and go into most detail of what said rapist does (to be fair, she does restrain some things, though).
  2. The wrong kind of “romantic vibes.” Granted, to be fair, Elias Veturius is no Marcus. He’s noble and willing to go the extra mile for someone who really needs it, and his first instinct, at the beginning, is to flee all the horror (can’t say I blame him for that, either… especially if MY Momma Dearest was like that…). It is actually because of this that he stays… Or, more specifically, he stays for LAIA. To help LAIA. (Among other reasons, of course, but that seems to be the main one.) But Laia… Honestly, I feel like there was SO much general confusion between love and lust, desire and genuine agape, that it was NOT OK. Lust, see, is only bodily oriented. While Elias at least respected Laia for her fierceness and determination to be free, as well as Helene for being his bestie, he still lusted after them both. Hard. Same goes for Laia; Augur Cain even says that while she longs after Kaanan with her heart, she longs after Elias with her body. Do you see what I’m saying here? It’s starting to become a lust infestation, which are a HUGE turn-off to me. (TBH, I see this with a LOT of secular YA books, and it saddens me deeply *cough* John Green and Twilight*cough*… So no, not just AEITA. But that doesn’t make AEITA a-OK.) However, this is not to say that the RIGHT kind of romantic vibes do not show up, ever; in fact, they are much more apparent towards the end of the book. I will get to that shortly, don’t worry, Britt. In fairness, I do respect the fact that while the characters DO lust, they actually exhibit great self-restraint, which I both admire and respect. It doesn’t make lusting alright, but it does show that boundaries and limits are good to have in place, in case you are tempted. Which leads me to…
  3. The whole love triangle/rectangle/etc. thingy. Yes, I know some people say this is not a thing. IT IS. Yes, the plot was  great, and I liked the whole rebellion conspiracy thing (more later), I just kept getting slammed with wave after wave of, “Oh, you didn’t know Helene liked you, Elias?” Elias: *inwardly* “Oh crap, she likes me?? What do I do, she’s my BESTIE, not my girlfriend, but, on the other hand, she IS hot, but, on the OTHER hand…. LAIA!!!” Laia is in a similar predicament; as mentioned before, she immediately “falls for” Elias, and gradually starts to fall for young and wise rebel Kaanan. And THEN we have the doubly evil creeper and pervert Marcus, who is both a murderer and rapist, who lusts after BOTH women. (See, people, this be WHY I have issues with… Well, never mind. Not about me. Back to the BOOK review.)Do you see my issue yet? It’s really mind jarring how easily jealousy stirs up between all these characters too, naturally, since all of this is going on. It’s almost too much. In all honesty, I would probably be content if Tahir just took Kaanan out of Laia’s “love” equation, because it’s already puh-ritty messy.But maybe that’s just me.
  4. The Augurs. Yes, I like how they are sage-like. Yes, I like how they are prophetic and hold people in line, if need be. No, I do not like how they read animal entrails; I find it obscene and deeply disturbing (for obvious reasons). No, I do not like how they are seemly omniscient, by little mind-read-y powers alone. I think there needs to be more to it than that. I want to know who’s side they’re on, etc. Of course, I am probably going to find that out as I continue to read the series, right, Tahir?

 

Annnndddd, onto the positives!

(If you disregarded my previous warning and read the top part first anyway, Britt, I give you leave to go and punch a punching bag before returning to read this.)

  1. The dialogue and character growth. For what she lacked in describing the setting, Tahir definitely made up for it with both of these. Laia and Elias kinda have parallel growths, side-by-side, actually. Laia is initially deemed cowardly, too afraid to stand up for herself or her brother, but she grows bolder. Bold enough to spy on Elias’s tyrant of a biological Mother for the Resistance. Bold enough to endure excruciating torture for the sake of springing her brother from prison, even if she knows, deep, deep down, they can never go back to living their old life the same way again. Elias, on the other hand, is tempted and tested and taunted. He is constantly warned that he will become a murderous monster if he does not follow through with the Augurs’ wishes. Granted, he still sheds plenty of blood (and, very sadly, some of it HAS to be his friends… #HungerGamesForTheWin), but he still, in a manner of speaking, hangs onto his soul. I think that was one romantic aspect I did like between Laia and Elias, is that they started to appreciate and love each other for their PERSONHOOD, not simply BODILY. Laia gives Elias a beautiful little moment when she talks about his soul being free, and he does likewise with his Mother, before he is led out to be executed. In fact, that was probably one of my favorite parts: The free-soul speech. The fact that he was ready, and even willing, to die. Not a lot of people can say that, and I applaud Tahir for it.
  2. The mythology. It is deep and well played out. For spiritual purposes alone, I love the fact that Tahir had the whole, “You didn’t believe in them, because you logically thought, “Nah, something that powerful/magical/spiritual couldn’t possibly exist because it defies XYZ…”… Well, guess what? YOU WERE WRONG, IN YOUR FAAACCCEEEE!!!” It was a very intriguing play, even if most of the spiritual being they’ve encountered so far are pretty much the evil ones. It makes me wonder if they are GOING to encounter any GOOD ones, too…
  3. The Resistance Conspiracy. One of the main reasons I kept page-turning… And what can I say? ALL THE HUNGER GAMES RELATED STUFF!!!! I mean, granted, it’s probably just me seeing connections. But between the friend-based bloodbath, both getting inspiration from Roman time periods (and the Colosseum, no less), AND the fact that the Resistance also has a leader that looks to be suspiciously like President Coin? Like a person who would make one heck of a dictatorial power-play the instance they were on the head honcho’s throne?

Incredibles1

*cough* Ahem… ANYWAYS….

Overall, again, I thought the story was good (negative lust and rape stuff aside). I liked the character growth, the backstories were interesting, and the whole conspiracy was enough to keep me reading. I also liked the perspective switching; Tahir pulled this off spectacularly. As in, “Oh no! Person A is alone with Person B, and Person C’s coming! He/she is gonna see Persons A and B together and think *********”

My rating, overall: 3.5.

My Rating Scale:

0= Horrible, don’t bother

1=Poor

1.5=So-so

2=Meh, not too bad

2.5=OK

3=Good, but not enough

3.5= Very good, but some stuff bothered me

4= Great, but could use some final tweaking

4.5=GREAT, pretty polished writing

5= AWESOME, I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN FOR DAYS

 

___________________________________

 

Image Credits:

The Incredibles GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_Ember_in_the_Ashes

 

Mimi

When we first got you

You were a ball of

Fluff;

A giant stuffed animal

I could plop on my

Lap;

You loved your polar bear

Toy, tugging and chewing

With great joy…

Gone.

 

You grew and got bigger, and

Some swore

That they’d never, ever seen

A real polar bear

Before

You arrived at our door;

Rebelliously crossing the road, it’s

A miracle you weren’t flattened

Like a toad.

Gone.

Mimi4

Up on Moore Hill, surveying her kingdom

You ran away that one winter,

After a deer,

Or perhaps you stole someone’s fancy,

And they took you from here.

I was but 12,

I cried and cried;

I told Boopy I thought you had died.

Then you came back from the

Amish, praise the Lord;

And immediately began to play

With Boopy;

I guess you were bored.

Gone.

 

Remember when

You’d hunt groundhogs?

They were your prizes and

Delight;

Sometimes, I wonder,

If you stayed into the night

Hunting,

Bringing us your now-inanimate

Toys

Which were burned, lest you

Also use them

For perfume that

You think you earned.

Gone.

Mimi3

Investigating our fire pit up on Moore Hill. She would make a similar motion with groundhog holes, sticking her face inside, and shuffling it around until she found it.

 

You’d prance down to aunt Luella’s to

Kick up a fuss;

Treating their dogs’ turf as yours, making

A big ol’ ruckus.

You upheld the honorary rivalry

That came between the

Predecessors,

Dolly and Sparky.

Gone.

 

If I was sad,

You’d want to know why;

You didn’t understand,

But you could not

Stand

To see me cry.

You’d nuzzle

Me until I caved;

I stroked you until

Every drop of

Affection

I gave

Was yours.

Mimi5

In her usual position, in our front living room. 

 

You’d follow us hither and thither, through

Mountain and valley;

Herding your little “flock,”

Was right up your alley.

You’d always look back, always

Wait,

To ensure we were keeping up with

Your quick-trotting gait.

Through the years your pace slowed,

And you had to keep up

With the ones you once show’d

The right way to go.

And then, suddenly

You could no

Longer go

Through the neighborhood,

To Grandma’s,

Even out in your snow.

Your hips hind’ring,

You struggled to

Rise;

You avoided even

The herd inside.

You wond’red

Where the

Little Herdlings went

If only I could show you

We were

Temporarily sent

To school, not

Forever

Gone.

Mimi1

Last day with Mimi– the Saturday the week before she was euthanized

 

They say there’s a

Place up there

For special animals, who

Were deeply cherish’d

With love and care.

A place where she can trot, and

Not worry about

If her bones rot;

A place where

She and Boopy can bark and play,

Angels joining in, forever and always.

She’ll follow a new Shepherd,

The One Who made her;

The One Who comforts her

Herd that was

Left behind.

 

Loved, yet never truly left.

Gone, but never forgotten.

 

In Loving Memory of Daisy “Mimi” Moore:

Great Prynees, pureblood, received from family friend Dr. Valez, the same doctor we received Boopy from. 

Euthanized Friday, 2nd February 2018 due to lymphoma, starvation (would not eat due to depression and tumors in throat), dehydration, dislocated hip and extreme suffering at approximately 4pm EST. 

Your Herd will always remember and love you deeply. May you find forever happiness with Dolly, Boopy, and Jesus. Rest in peace, and suffer pain no more. Sissy has always loved you, and always will. 

Mimi2

 

Out With The Old

Out With The Old

Hi, guys!! Me-sa back from Yisrael!!! 😊 So much happened; it seemed so surreal, and dreamlike… I seriously did not want to leave (seriously—on impulse, during our second—and very long—flight, I had to fight the impulse to tell the pilot to turn the plane around, and head back toward Tel Aviv!!). I learned a lot, and am now able to connect a lot of the land (i.e., En Gedi, Scythopolis, the “Sea” of Galilee, which is really just a massive lake…) to Biblical stories in my brain-head. Our guide, David, was wonderful—not only super informative and helpful, but considerate, friendly, and unafraid to say it like it was; he is a true Israeli, through and through.

Annnyyyywwwwhhhhoooo….

So, while we were there at our first hotel, an old friend of David’s came to visit us; like David, he too was a Messianic Jew. But he was also a pastor, and gave a powerfully inspiring message to us that night, one that I’ve been wrestling with, TONS, and reflecting on ever since.

You see, like most of us, even believers, he had his passions, his hobbies. Even before he got Saved, for instance, he loved going to the movies. Later on in life, he even became involved in martial arts (which REALLY got my attention!). But, he felt convicted about partaking in these things. Why?

My first thought and objection was going to be that we should be allowed to have harmless but gratifying passions or hobbies that we can enjoy doing from time, so as long as there’s nothing inherently wrong with them. But he brought up one very valid point: God asked him to compare how much time he spent doing his respective hobbies, and how much time the pastor spent with Him. For movies, the guy spent an unhealthy amount of time, like at least a few HOURS a DAY, on a DAILY basis, versus the fifteen minutes he gave God before bed each night.

Doesn’t seem quite fair, does it? Buuuutttt… It DOES seem STRIKINGLY familiar…  (*cough* Netflix… *cough*)

Now, as a fangirl, my primary guilty pleasure is my fandoms–my little, well, obsessions. It’s very easy for someone like me to get sucked up into a GOOD fandom, and start fangirling pretty hardcore (depending on what it is, after all). But, I think God’s been nudging me ever since that night, and has given me something of an ultimatum: Either I give them up completely, or like and enjoy BUT don’t idolize them.

Yes. I used the “I” word.

Because, if you really think about it, that’s what an obsession is, isn’t it? An idol. The light of your life, what you think and talk about the most, what you give the most time in your life to, willingly. Now, I am NOT saying school is necessarily an idol (for you fellow students, that should not be an excuse to NOT do your homework!), but I could see how it could become one, with competition for good grades, and constant pressure to do well. But with fandoms, it’s generally a LOT more obvious: Cosplayers, line-quoters (seriously, we should be quoting SCRIPTURE, not MOVIE/BOOK LINES, guys!!!), fantasizing about making out with a fictional boyfriend or girlfriend, you name it. They all sound idolatrous, and in fact I can think of at least TWO Scriptures that go against that last one (which I am equally guilty of committing, mind… And I’m sure you can guess who with…). It’s convicting, to say the least.

 

So what should we do about it?

If you’re anything like me, you likely have multiple fandoms. This doesn’t make it a super bad thing! You can still like stuff, and even fangirl/fanboy over it, to a degree. But it should not be your primary reason for living, nor should it consume your thoughts almost every waking 24 hrs. Jesus deserves that spot, guys, not a fandom. Not an earthly obsession. I’ve seen/heard about plenty of those obsessions taking a turn for the worse, and the end results aren’t pretty. It’s like how I’ve been with Harry Potter; I was too obsessed when I was younger, but now I just like and enjoy it, but am not “into” it. Sometimes, people are– literally or spiritually– scarred or damaged for life.

I would say that God is offering you the same ultimatum He has been offering me: Him, or the fandoms. We can’t worship both, as stated in Scripture. No human can serve two Masters, and sadly, I know a good many people who would not choose God (which breaks my heart, btw) over their fandoms. But! I think I know some who, when it boiled down to it, would. And I would encourage you to do the same.

 

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

            Romans 1:25, NIV

 

            “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

            Luke 16:13, NIV

Love you guys, and I promise there will be more, soon.

~~O.R. Moore

ISRAELSELFIE

Me near the Western “Wailing” Wall in Jersusalem. More pics to come!

Cover picture of Yisraeli flag that I took at Masada. 

 

“The Last Jedi”– And a Multitude of Fangirling

“The Last Jedi”– And a Multitude of Fangirling

OK, first off… apologies for the lack of posts. Between senior seminar, finals, other homework, then FINALLY being off on break for some SERIOUS, MUCH-NEEDED INTROVERSION— Well, you get the picture.

December, this year, for the most part, is my happy month, guys. For four reasons: 1., Christmas (the obvious), 2., I got yet another 3.8; 3., I AM GOING TO ISRAEL IN LESS THAN A WEEK!!!!! And 4., The Last Jedi. 

(Don’t worry; you guys will get pictures galore when I’m back– maybe even a post or two, seeing as how I’ll be chronicling my travels in a physical journal the whole time 😉  But anyways)

So, as you guys know, I am a MAJOR, major, major “Star Wars” geekette. I have a purple lightsaber in my closet as we speak (light-up, too– though, I STILL WANT MY INDIGO LIGHTSABER!!!! ARRRRGGGGHHH), glued to every single episode of Rebels that’s ever been out, as well as some “Rebels Recon” (and most of “Clone Wars”), am in possession of most of the Complete Star Wars Visual Dictionaries (I am planning on buying The Last Jedi one soon), and became so recently appalled at my youngest cousins (ages 10-15) NEVER HAVING SEEN STAR WARS BEFORE, I made SURE to give them the chance to have some mandatory viewings before Episode VIII.

Which brings me to….

The EPISODE VIII REVIEW. (dun dun dun duuuuuunnn…)

WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED THE LAST JEDI, YOU SHOULD not READ ANY FURTHER! THIS IS YOUR FINAL WARNING!!!

In brief, for the most part…

I. Loved. It.

OK, maybe “love” is a bit strong: I would say, “really, really liked” is probably more accurate. But in actuality, Episode VIII is probably one of my fave SW Eps.

Sure, there were some dumb things with Poe and the whole mutiny thing, but the Rey’s training, Rey and Kylo, and the awesome SW animal things totally made up for that. Those things made Episode VIII worthy of my love (yes, at the risk of me sounding like Lusamine 😛 ). And, all things considered, the number 8 IS one of my two fave numbers, so I gotta say, no pressure or anything, Johnson— putting up high expectations out there, but for the most part, they were met.

So, here we go! As always, we’ll go with the criticisms first, then add with positive closures:

CONS:

  1. The whole Poe Mutiny thing. It was just kinda stagnant for me, and made it more like an episode of “Rebels” than an actual legit SW movie. Didn’t really move for me. Same with Rose and Finn’s mission, it didn’t feel as genuine as the mission with operation Starkiller base shutdown (aka remake of Ep. IV) in The Force Awakens. Then I ended up being confused of who to root for when Leia became conscious and outright STUNNED Poe for his mutiny. Which side is the “good guy” side here?
  2.  Rey being too repetitive, when meeting Luke. She starts to sound like a broken record at times, continually relaying Leia’s message of hope and urging him to join the Resistance,  instead of just answering his own questions half the time. It made her sound less realistic, and more like one of MY “pamphlet-y” characters (*cough* Guy… *cough*). This isn’t good, because Rey is such a good, strong, sassy character. She’s more than a recording playback of hope, Johnson. You already had that throwback of Leia’s recording via Artoo to nail that one on the head.

Rey1

3. Why DID Luke Skywalker pull an Obi-Wan on us? Rather  than fully face something he believed he triggered, Luke doesn’t show up to confront his fears and face them himself; he sends only an apparition of himself. He owns up, but doesn’t show up. This cowardly behavior is reflected in his initial refusal to teach Rey anything about the Force: He’s afraid of creating or triggering another Kylo. It’s this reason that he says he’s seen that kind of power once before, and while it didn’t frighten him into sense then, it did now. However, this fear leads to him not really resolving his problems, only running away and hiding from them. He literally was so dejected about the whole stupid thing being his fault that he went off to end the Jedi Order by dying, alone, on secluded Ach-To. He didn’t even fully die– just vanished into the Force, like Obi. Why? The world may never know, but it seems slightly cowardly to me.

Luke2

PROS:

  1. The new critters. Oh. My. Gosh. This film is living proof that there are really cool and cute creatures in the SW universe, not just Hutts. Or Nexus. Or Acklays. Or… Well, you get the gist. In Episode VIII, we get the Vulptices (ice foxes). Those cool, beautiful creatures that Rose and Finn need to ride to get to safety, that look like they’re part horse, part kangaroo, part something else. And, MOST IMPORTANTLY….

PORGS!!!!!

porg

#Chewieapproves

We first spy these little penguin-like guys on Ach-To, and later, we learn (with much dismay), that Chewie has been ROASTING THEM OVER AN OPEN FIRE FOR SUSTENANCE. Three poor little porgs look up at him like, “What are you doing?” making him growl, and they scurry off; one brave lil porg remains, looks up at him with huge, watery, eyes, and gives a tiny, pitiful little cry like, “Budddddyyyy…. Why are you eating my buddy?” and Chewbacca ROARS a bit to scare that one off, and thus ease his conscience. We later see him having made amends with the adorable beings, however, by taking them on the Falcon to hitch a ride for kicks.

I want a plushie porg, and I want it now. And unfortunately, the cheapest I can find are on Amazon for no lower than $52. WIM. T_T Why me???

2. Rey’s Jedi Training. Rey finally starts on the path to what she is destined to be, and will be the ultimate tide-turner for the story as a whole. In fact, I feel like the whole story of the three new movies is a major telling of HER story. She, not Finn or Poe, is the true protagonist, or the major protag. Because, if you think on it– in The Force Awakens, the Force has literally been awakened in her; she learns that she’s Force-sensitive. In The Last Jedi, she is literally the last, singular, Jedi at the end of the film, as well as according to Luke. I feel like the film titles alone dictate her destiny, or at least what happens to her specifically in each film. I can hardly wait to see what happens to her in the final installment!

3. THE WHOLE DYNAMIC BETWEEN REY AND KYLO. I could literally go on for pages about this (seriously, someone shut me up if I start fangirling too much here). One major motif I noticed even in the trailers ( and thought about a LOT while watching the movie) and found thoroughly fascinating was the whole idea of them being a LITERAL balance of good and evil, light and dark. Kylo’s “dark” but struggles with resisting the light; Rey has the opposite problem: She’s fighting for “good,” but is somehow called by the “evil,” and finds it surprisingly difficult to resist. While I could write a little sermon-post on this interesting topic, on how it relates to human nature as a whole (and perhaps someday I will…), now is not ideal; however, this does affect their relationship a great deal. Thanks to a certain individual’s interference, the two interact a lot more and actually get to know each other better. While Rey initially thinks Kylo’s a monster (as implied in Ep. VII), she gradually warms to the fact that he’s only fallen, only twisted (“twisted” in this sense meaning that he is a warped version of initial good) because of a sad backstory, and eventually comes to believe he needs her help in returning to the light. However, we eventually see that Kylo has the mirror sentiment of her; he believes her own ideals are “twisted,” and senses her own inner conflict, and believes he can help her in turning to the dark side. There is returning familiarity with these scenes as they grow more and more comfortable with each other’s presence, that reminds me strongly of the Darkling coming to visit Alina numerous times, via corporeal visions, in Siege and Storm. And maybe it’s just me, but I think because he gets to know her, because he can relate to her inner struggle, that he might even be ATTRACTED to her. Sound far-fetched? Well, in one vision episode, he appears to her SHIRTLESS (obviously intentional) and she, somewhat embarrassed, asks him to put something on, clearly flustered (he doesn’t). Later, when in Snoke’s throne room, and on our way to Snoke’s room in the elevator, we see several direct parallels:

Kylo’s conversation with Rey mirrors a similar one Darth Vader had with Luke Skywalker, when Skywalker comes to redeem him– Vader also wished to turn his son to the Dark Side.

Kylo’s act of killing Snoke and sparing Rey mirrors Vader’s albeit more selfless act of killing Hideous– sorry, SIDEOUS– to spare Luke’s life.

Kylo literally offering Rey the chance to rule alongside him. Not beneath him, not just to JOIN him, but ALONGSIDE HIM. This parallels Vader TWICE: When Vader told Luke they could rule the galaxy side-by-side, as father and son, and when Vader made that same offer to Padme Amidala, albeit in a slightly more romance-oriented sense.

I believe that Kylo meant more of the latter here, even saying that while most saw Rey only as nothing, a lowly scavenger at best, he knew she was something special, and meant much more than that to him. Again, I get a very Darkling-and-Alina vibe here, which is probably why half my body and mind is screaming, “JOIN HIM, YOU FOOL” (because, what can I say, still suffering from a loss of Darklina shippings…), the rest saying, “Oh, you know she’ll only resist.” And yup, sure enough, she does. She tries once to get him to the Resistance’s side, major fail (don’t do that to a passionate guy; he’ll take that as dissing his passions). Even after she has rebuffed him, though, this doesn’t stop him from calling out to her one. Final. Time. At the very end, before she leaves with the Resistance. And it’s heart-wrenching, because of the look she gives him before the door shuts, severing their connection. It’s a look I imagine Alina giving the Darkling, but even she was more sympathetic.

joinme

4. The Yoda cameo. Because seeing old friends is always a pleasant surprise for nostalgic old geezer fans like myself (and even older).

Shipping-wise: Initially, I shipped Finn and Rey, but now I’m thinking of Rey and Kylo a LOT more (namely because sucker for sympathetic villains.). And now considering events in the new film, I gotta say I’m also leaning towards shipping Rose and Finn, too. Because reasons. 😉

Anyways, though this film had a few bugs to work out, and a couple unanswered questions, I do want a couple things to happen:

I want another animated series, similar to Clone Wars and Rebels, only this time, set RIGHT AFTER this film. So, similar to Rebels in some manner, but I want to see Finn and Rose’s, as well as Kylo and Rey’s, relationship bud and blossom. This stuff takes time, more time than could ever be conveyed super realistically in a single film (unless you count the whole, “time day skip” thingy, but we aren’t gonna count that). I want Rey to talk to Yoda’s, Luke’s and Obi-Wan’s ghosts. I want to see her training more. I want her training younglings, the future of the Jedi. I want more Kylo Ren temptations. (I don’t know if I would’ve resisted, if I were her, or not…) GOSH DANGIT GUYS, I WANT IT ALL!!!!!

I do want the final installment to have answers to my questions, including why Luke chickened out, is Rey going to cave (got a feeling that answer is “no,”), is Kylo going to slowly about face and start to turn to the Light Side, why did Chewie stop eating porgs (other than their unadulterated cuteness), and so much more.

My final rating: 4 outta 5 stars. Sooooo close, Johnson; just a BIT more!!!

 

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Image Credits:

http://www.insidethemagic.net/2017/10/top-5-jaw-dropping-moments-star-wars-last-jedi-trailer/

https://www.inverse.com/article/37276-star-wars-last-jedi-trailer-porgs-twitter

https://techcrunch.com/gallery/heres-the-new-star-wars-the-last-jedi-trailer-as-scene-by-scene-gifs-to-tear-apart/

https://www.engadget.com/2017/04/14/star-wars-the-last-jedi-trailer/

The Golden Calf

The Golden Calf

Author’s Note: This poem was written in open defiance of the Deceiver, the Father of Lies, that cunning, cursed, blood-shot-eyed bogus bat who fell from heaven after rejecting God completely. 

The title is unique. It relays to how I felt this evening, to how Moses must have felt upon seeing how soon Satan had turned the Israelites against God in worship of a golden statue, instead. Every time I see Satan score like that, whether it be in my life or in the lives of others (particularly loved ones’), I get angry about him trying to subtly dismantle and entirely demolish people’s lives. I get defiant. And this is an outward expression of that defiance, whether Satan likes it or not, whether, heck PC people like it or not (and I’ve really given up on caring about that so far at this point.). So… in a sense, my poem is saying, loudly and proudly, “IN. YOUR. STUPID. FACE. SATAN.”

 

“Not today, Satan.”

Those words

Ring

In my ears

After seeing people

Being torn

A-

Part,

One the edge

With fear

And destruction

In their hearts.

 

“Not my family, Satan.”

You try to

Pick

And pick

And pick

Until there is nothing

At all

Left.

Corrupting,

Deceiving,

Controlling

My loved ones,

Oh yes, I know how

You operate.

 

“Not my life, Satan.”

For it belongs

To my Father

Above

Who has already

Ransomed

Me with wild

Abandon, and restless

Eternal

Love.

The most you can

“Accomplish”–

To tear my soul from

My temple,

However you wish.

 

“Not your world, Satan.”

This is my Father’s world

And in it has begun

Through hope and fears,

And all the years,

In time, God’s

Flawless

Masterful

Plan

Will be

Done.

You have not won.

 

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Image Credit: 

Exclusive Interview with “Halayda” author, Sarah Delena White!!!

Exclusive Interview with “Halayda” author, Sarah Delena White!!!

OK, first, again, apologies to you guys for not touching base as much as I should’ve… But then, I might not have been able to surprise you with something truly wonderful!

This summer, as I’ve previously mentioned, I read and got addicted to indie author Sarah Delena White’s first book of her Star Fae Trilogy, Halayda. (I will include a blurb at the bottom, for all those interested. I will say this, though: Fae meets alchemy meets steampunk. Meets the classic, “good vs. evil”. Hehehe.) I’ve actually had the pleasure to get to know Sarah personally via Facebook, and bonded a great deal, amidst several good-natured, and sometimes comical, conversations. She informed me that book 2 is coming out soon, this spring, in fact. I asked if, to help build hype and satisfy some of our curiosity, she’d be so kind as to agree to an interview– and she agreed!!!

I AM SO FREAKING PUMPED, GUYS!!!

Anyways… Ahem *clears throat* Let’s get this show on the road!

 

L4G: Thanks soooo much for joining us today, Sarah! It’s really quite the honor to be having this interview; it seems super surreal….I know a lot of readers and Bookstagrammers are rather unfamiliar with you and your writing, so we’ll start off there. First off, how did you get started in your writing business?

SDW: I never intended to be a writer, believe it or not. I’ve always enjoyed creating stories and worlds, but I didn’t prioritize writing until I was in my mid-twenties. I started writing while living and working overseas as a way of processing my experiences. I came to realize the profound power of storytelling and spent the next few years honing my craft and working on various projects. I always wrote fantasy, though. I love the power of speculative fiction to put the real world in a new perspective.

L4G: That’s awesome! I have to agree, I love how fantasy puts a novel (see what I did there?) spin on reality, and am a big fantasy reader and writer, myself. Speaking of which, I know a lot of people who are interested in writing, particularly fiction (and not just myself!). What pro tips can you give for future, aspiring authors?

SDW: 1. Always keep writing, and don’t be afraid to try new things. Before Halayda, I left a trail of half-finished stories in a range of genres. I had to keep trying different ideas and creating different worlds before I hit on something that deeply resonated with me and that I loved enough to commit to for the long run. 2. Don’t be boring! This piece of advice was given to me by one of my editors, Janeen Ippolito, and it changed my whole perspective on storytelling. I used to think I had to plow through the “boring parts” of a story so I could eventually get to the “interesting parts.” The result was some very uninteresting stories! When I started writing Halayda, I chose to make every scene an “interesting part,” realizing that if I wasn’t interested in writing something, people probably wouldn’t be interested in reading it.

L4G: Those are definitely words to live by… All you writers out there, take notes! 😉 I know I’m personally guilty of leaving stories half-finished, sometimes due to duller parts, until recently… But that’s another tale for another day. 🙂 Since, going by your Facebook and Instagram, we already know you love ballads and fae stuff, but… What SPECIFICALLY inspired you to create the world and characters of  Halayda and the Star-Fae Trilogy

SDW: Halayda was sparked by a dream in which I got dragonfly wings thanks to a crazy scientist’s experiment. The dream lingered in my mind after I woke up, and within a few hours Sylvie and Taylan came to life and started to tell me their story. I originally intended the book to be a superhero story, but I quickly realized that the concept wasn’t unique enough and needed other elements to make it sparkle. Since I love genre mashups, I combined fae mythology and steampunk with some of my favorite superhero tropes, and the world of Kyure was born.

L4G: What?! No way, I had a story world that was invented via a dream, too! OK, this is CRAZY *high-fives* OK, OK, Livia, stay focused… stay focused… In Halayda, there are a few things that are very symbolic, the Dragonfly wings and Dragonfly abilities being one of them. Maybe the Humanities and my English-y classes are getting to me with symbols and themes, but I need to ask: What made you choose the specific image of not just WINGS, but DRAGONFLY wings to symbolize and mark out Faerie’s Savior? 

SDW: While most of the symbolism in Halayda was deliberate, the dragonfly wings started as an unintentional symbol (or perhaps a subconscious one). I originally chose them because they were an element of the original dream and I liked the aesthetic. As I delved deeper into Sylvie’s significance and role while drafting the book, I realized that dragonfly wings were a perfect fit for many reasons. Dragonflies often symbolize renewal, as well as change leading to deeper maturity and self-realization, and this is perfect for Sylvie’s journey in Halayda.

L4G: Well, I guess that makes sense. I mean, sometimes dreams just have so much powerful imagery, you can’t help but include some of it… And the fact that it turned out to be something so much more… THAT’S what I call a “God-incidence”! Alright, since I promised my good friend Jarrett I’d ask a question or two regarding specific characters in your story, the Wild Hunt… (Sorry, Casimir– I PROMISE you’ll get a WHOLE interview to express your glorious self next time!!) He wants to know, how do the leaders of the Wild Hunt get chosen (by age, seniority, family/clan, descent, etc.)?

SDW: The leaders of the Wild Hunt claim their positions through a combination of seniority and fighting ability. The older, more powerful members of the Hunt will often fight to assert their dominance and try to claim a higher rank in the pack. Iberek became the chief hound shifter about two hundred years before Halayda takes place, winning a fight against multiple challengers. He is the oldest living member of the Wild Hunt, and very few Hunters are bold enough to question his authority.

L4G: I’m sure Jarrett’ll be pleased to know that fascinating tidbit about his fave character. He also wants to know, just how animal ARE the Wild Hunt– as in, are they mainly human/fae with animalistic traits, or is it vice versa?

SDW: Good question! It’s always interesting to see how authors handle this aspect of their Shifter characters. In this case, the hound and cat shifters of the Wild Hunt are primarily fae, but they prefer a more primitive life than the elemental faeries. While certain aspects of their culture resemble a wolf pack, they don’t view themselves as animals at all.

L4G: That’s very interesting! I thought that way myself, but Jarrett asks a lot of intriguing questions I never would’ve thought of, myself… I gotta hand it to him. Anyways, let’s wrap this up! 🙂 So happy we could get together to do this! Hopefully we can get together to do this again sometime in the future! Just one more question: Any clues as to what book 2’s going to have in store for us– a blurb, or even title-wise? Because there were noticeable changes on your Pinterest, hahaha….

SDW: I don’t have a blurb or a final title yet, but keep an eye out for that this winter, along with the official cover reveal! Here are a few clues about book 2, though:

-It is partly inspired by the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone.
-You’ll get to see more of the mortal (steampunk) world).
-Everyone has a secret, and nothing is quite as it seems. 😉
 
Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Olivia!

 

Thank YOU, Sarah!!! This was a lot of fun, and hopefully we can do it again in anticipation for book 3!!!

 

Interested in the Star Fae Trilogy? Here’s more!

Halayda blurb:

“Betrayed by a trusted mentor, Sylvie Imanthiya hides on the fringes of society, caring for half-fae orphans and trading her alchemical creations on the black market. She lives for the one night each season when she can see her dearest friend—a man whose destiny is far above hers.

King Taylan Ashkalabek knows better than to exchange halayda vows with a mortal. Even their friendship is a risk; love is an impossible dream. Then a brutal alchemical attack poisons his realm, unearthing a dark power within him—and leaving Sylvie with the ancient mark of Faerie’s savior.

Manifesting unpredictable abilities and aided by allies with their own secrets, Sylvie and Taylan journey into the wilds of Faerie to heal the damage and confront Casimir, an invincible star-fae determined to claim the realm as his own. But only their enemy knows Sylvie’s true capabilities—and Taylan’s weaknesses—and how to use them in his vicious schemes.

Her fate is life. His fate is death. With Faerie in the balance, Sylvie and Taylan must stand together before reality as they know it is destroyed.”

Find out more in this dramatic clash of fates and destinies in her first book of the trilogy, now!

https://uncommonuniverses.com/books/halayda/

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About the Author:

Sarah Delena White

Sarah is a vagabond on a never-ending quest for truth, beauty, and really good lattes. She has degrees in Intercultural Studies and Teaching English as a Second Language, and loves to explore the connections between fantastic stories – both modern and ancient – and the cultures that invent them. When she’s not writing or editing, she can be found making jewelry, singing Irish ballads, and working a variety of odd jobs. She occasionally remembers to eat and sleep, because those things are apparently important. She also loves chickens.

SarahDWhite

Image Creds: Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram