Saturday, December 31, 2016

new resolutions for a new year


-take more walks

-write 30 minutes everyday

-go without sugar for two weeks out of the year

-get more sleep

-read 100 books

-connect with nature more

-smile more

-play all the songs in my les misrebles piano book by next december

-judge people less

-study more

-make new friends

-start a bullet journal

-learn a song on the guitar

-take one college class online

-finish les misrebles

-stand up for myself more


-don't let people run over me

-drink more water

-finish a novel for camp nano in july

-cook more

-get up earlier

-stop thinking about last year

-focus on today

-join a fitness group

-start a thankful jar

-save money

-send more handwritten letters

well, i'm off to eat homemade thai food and play lots of games and watch movies with my fam. i hope you all have a great new year!

lots a love,
-clara


Thursday, December 29, 2016

another year over || you won't believe this, guys! + blog anniversary


Reflections on 2016:

This year has been a year of firsts for me. It was my first time traveling to New York City which was the first major trip I've taken, my first time to sing in Carnegie Hall, my first job, my first time to get my drivers license and drive alone. Its been an exciting year of transition from being just a " kid" to a more independent young adult. Looking back on last year I can say I have learned that life isn't all John Green speeches and frivolity. Ive learned that there are always going to be struggles in life, but there will always be joy if I look for it in the little things. This past year wasn't easy, but I can say its all behind me, the good and the bad, and I'm ready to face the New Year ahead with determination and excitement and a new sense of adventure for all that life will bring me in the coming year. I'll be going to college, which is a whole new challenge in itself, as well as being away from home, and all that college life entails! But I am happy and very, very excited! Bring on 2017! *cheers dramatically*


Okay so this January is my 3rd year blog anniversary, guys! 

I haven't always blogged on Reasons To Smile. My first year was back in 2013 where I blogged in another corner of the internet, that I called Count It All Joy. So if you wanna be technical, this isn't this blogs anniversary, but my overall history of blogging in general. I'm so pumped to celebrate this momentous occasion in my blogging history! You won't believe this, but I will be doing a Q&A video in celebration! Yes, this pitiful, camera shy, blogger you know as Clara will be doing a video! GAHHHH I've never done a video so I'm a little nervous but really excited! So for all you readers, that means: I NEED LOTS OF AWESOME QUESTIONS FROM Y'ALL so drop them in the comments, if you would be so kind. The questions can be totally random, silly, crazy, serious- Ask me about my favorite fictional character, what my least favorite subject is, my top 5 favorite movies, if I've ever eaten squirrel- anything. But please be nice and sweet, and all those lovely things that bloggers are, and refrain from vulgar/inappropriate questions and content, if at all possible!

Stay tuned, and I hope you all have a great 2017! Heres to a New Year of happiness, awesomeness and lots of adventure and excitement. Here here! *clicks glass*

-Clara-

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Words Of Winter


alpenglow (german) a rosy glow that suffuses snow covered mountain peaks at dawn or dusk on a clear day

apricity (latin) the warmth of the sun on a winter day

smultroställe (swedish) "place of wild snowberries" a special place discovered, treasured, returned for solace and relaxation; a personal idyll free from stress or sadness

brumous (traditional english) of grey sky's and winter days; filled with heavy clouds or fog; relating to winter or cold, sunless weather


immergr√ľn (german) a plant that retains green leaves throughout the winter, symbolizing the sign of life even through the cold and dark seasons of life

brontide (traditional english) the low rumble of distant thunder

serein (french) the fine light rain that falls from a clear sky at sunset or the early hours of night; evening serenity

chionophile (greek) a person who loves cold weather and snow

peiskos (german) the feeling you get when you sit in front of a fireplace and enjoy its warmth



-i like misty autumn mornings, and cold snowy winter nights. rainstorms bring me peace, thunder sets my soul alight. give me candlelight, long books, tea, early darkness, a silent street.-

i hope you all had a great christmas,
hugs,
c.r

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Things I Love About Christmas || Second Day Of Winter


Happy second day of winter! Also, a happy cookie exchange day, national abilities day, and national date nut bread day! *rolls eyes* (The people who make these things up have too much time on their hands)

Black tea with cream
Frank Sinatra's Christmas album 
Christmas tree lights 
Paper snowflakes hanging in the window
Christmas cards 
Glass nativities 
Snowball fights and making snowmen
Candles 
Decorating cookies
Downtown bustling with shoppers
Holiday music playing on my 1977 radio
A blazing fire  
Saying "Merry Christmas" to the Starbucks workers and customers at work *knows I'm annoying* 
Watching old movies like The Best Christmas Pageant Ever with the fam 
Sledding on toboggans 
The house smelling of cinnamon, holly and orange peels
Going on christmas caroling around the neighborhood with friends
Late nights reading Les Misrebles and watching Jane Eyre and not worrying about waking up cause ITS BREAK *breaks out in the Hallelujah Chorus*
Christmas tree lots
Holiday choir concert
Iceskating with my bro
Driving around town looking at Christmas lights
Escaping the house to get gifts
Thinking about and plotting my novel for Camp NaNo 2017
Singing opera to Christmas songs with my co-workers 
Kings College Choir's broadcast Christmas concert over the radio on Christmas Eve 

2016 has gone by way too fast. Like guys, Christmas is in two days. Its been a crazy year, but a fun one! I'm so glad I'm finally on Christmas break! NO MORE MATH FOR TWO WHOLE WEEKS! *legit screams in excitement* 

Okay, so my family always opens gifts on Christmas Eve before church. Most normal people *dramatically stares at my mother* like in movies and stuff open gifts on Christmas morning. I've always wanted to wait until morning to open gifts but its sort of a family tradition, and my siblings prefer it because they get to open their stuff sooner. Am I the only one who opens presents on Christmas Eve? Hugs to all you lovelies out there, and I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas! 

Isaish 9:6 For unto us a child is born. Unto us, a son is given and the government shall be upon his shoulders and his name shelled be called, Wonderful Counselor, The Might God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace 



-Clara 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

5 Ironies of The French Revolution: From The View Of A Highschool History Nerd


1. The French Revolution was lead by Napoleon to end dictatorship from King Louis XVI, but Napoleon crowned himself which was anti-Revolutionary following the war. After the trouble of the French Revolution, France just ended up with another dictator. Talk about an active paradox.

2. King Louis XVI was said to be involved in improvising the invention of the guillotine, by suggesting the use of the triangular blade to ensure a sharper, quicker cut of the head (eww) something he would experience some years later.

3. When things really heated up in France, King Louis the XVI and Marie Antoinette literally ran for their lives and obviously attempted to escape the country. Buuuutttt, they were caught at the border. wa-wa-wa Even for the people living in Versailles, it was difficult to identify the royal family. There were no papers, paintings, sketches (and obviously no selfies) of the King and Queen. But there was one direct contact between the French and the people. The coins. So their escape was foiled by the profile of the King on the coins of the French. They were then brought back to Paris and sentenced to death. Well thats unfortunate. *laughs at my own joke*

4. The beginning of the French Revolution was started by the storming of the Bastille Prison by the hands of the revolutionaries. (they were peasants so they didn't have weapons or dynamite) They said they were storming the Bastille to free the revolutionaries held inside, but in all reality there were only 7 people in the prison. The real reason was to get guns. 



5. The Tennis Court Oath was one of the first acts of defiance of the French Revolution. They 3rd party said they were going to make their own assembly, which didn't depend on the royals. When they walked out of the National Assembly to take a break, the king locked the doors and said " Sorry guys you can't go in there. And if you can't assemble. How you gonna be a national assembly??" (I'm paraphrasing of course) So the peasants took of to a tennis court and made the infamous tennis court oath to become their own national assembly.

These have been the results of my thorough investigation of the French Revolution. I am quite inthralled with the time period. *dramatic tone and hand gestures* And I have sworn to conquer Les Miserables (geez I don't even know how to spell it??) and A Tale of Two Cities by the end of winter!! Ha ha! Even though Les Miserables is the size of a large cinderblock I shall prevail! Yes I shall conquer! 


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

17 Signs That Show Your A PK


I'm a PK. My dad has pastored his own church for a few years of my life, and I grew up in a church where my dad preached every so often under the main pastor. I guess all of us kids at church felt like we were preachers kids, cause our dads always taught something or another. So, from all my years as an experienced pastors kid, these points are the proof I have gathered, that I am a full blooded daughter of a pastor.

1. If you were brought up thinking that "don't run in church" was the 11th commandment. 

2. Your second home is church.


3. When your dad uses something embarrassing you've done as an illustration in his sermons and everyone turns around and looks at you like….




4. If those paper pads and stubby pencils in the pew benches were what got you through those interminable sermons when you were six or even 16... *grins sheepishly*

5. If you know every song in the hymn book.


6. When you drink the remaining communion grape juice after the Lords Supper. 


7. When your dad says "ever head bowed, every eye closed" I just be over there like:



8. If people automatically think your called to the ministry.

9. Your the favorite kid to all the older folks in the church, and they pinch your checks and tell you how sweet you are. *this has happened to my younger siblings before* 

10. If you have ever been asked to teach a sunday school class.

11. If your the first one to arrive and church and the last to leave.

12. When you try to talk to your parents after church, but they have to talk to the people in the congregation first. 

13. When your mom tells you not to eat all the brownies cause they are for the church. But you are a part of the church.

14. If you know what "raise my Ebenezer" means. High five and ice cream if you know what song this is from!

15. If your musically inclined in more than one way. 

16. If you know exactly how many chairs are in the sanctuary.

17. If you think thou shall not steal a families pew is the 12th commandment

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys || Book Review

                   Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.
Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.
As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom. Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope- Summary taken from Goodreads. 
I picked this book up at the library along with the authors other book Between Shades of Grey. Salt to The Sea has been one of the few books that has really made and impact on me, and has become one of my favorites. 

 This book was amazing. The novel was so carefully written, interwound with compassion and hope among such a time where hate and cruelty was present everyday of the characters lives. This novel left me with a feeling of hopefulness, love and inspiration although the events in the book were heart wrenching and at times very depressing. I think the author had a sense of what these four teens were going through although she had never lived during their time. I think thats a real talent, when you can get a hold of the feelings that they must have felt and the things that they experienced. Her writing made me rejoice with the characters and cry along with them. I also admired the authors ability to provide such depth in the characters role in this story. It was truly amazing. It was that kind of book where you feel as if you lost some of your best friends after the book is read. I'm still missing all of them. Like a lot. Maybe a little more than I should.  As some people have told me. *That constant question that all book geeks ask* "Why is it that most of the time, the best people are found in books? Why can't they be real?"

I loved the way the author wrote the book from alternating view points of four teens. It was really neat to see how their accounts fit together. The book also kept me in suspense. Each of the characters had a secret that wasn't revealed until the end, and it wasn't predictable or easily guessed. Predictable endings is something I find a lot in books which makes the read not as enjoyable. But this book wasn't like that. The novel was also romantic (in a good way), which I loved. I won't go into detail about Florian and Joana Me: *squeals* And guys its just like-" * Julia covers my mouth*, but if your a hopeless romantic, like myself, read this. Like now. Me: "Okay, okay I'll be quiet now...." 

Not only were the main characters amazing, but the supporting characters as well. In both of the authors books I have read, some of the supporting characters names were not provided, but were a big part in the story, and went by names such as Sorry Eva, Shoe Poet or the Bald Man. The author didn't describe the features of the characters either, which I really like in a book. It gave me a chance to imagine and come up with my own view of the characters and their surroundings. 

---------------------

I wouldn't change anything about this book. It was all so realistic and honest, filled with love, truth, hope and forgiveness. I hope you read this book, because I believe everyone should know about the story of the Wilhelm Gustaff. Lastly I would like to say how hard it was for me to not included spoilers in this review, because I just wanna tell you all about everything! I had to cut everything I wrote in this review to the bare minimum. It was so hard, but I refrained. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Why Yours Truly Is Far From Being A Mechanical Genius || Broken Down At The Library

My last experience with cars taught you yet another thing about yours truly. She does not get along with cars. But yet, being her awkward absentminded self, she had to face another battle with not a car, but a truck. *cringes* My dad has this huge truck (Well actually from the guys point of view its probably not that huge. In all likelihood, they would rather have something bigger, cause they're guys, but anyways...) which we affectionately call Tin Lizzie. I drove it to work, then after my shift I got back in the truck and was planning on driving to the library to take my books back before I went home. I drove to the the library, returned my books and went back out to the truck.

But guess what?? THE STINKIN' TRUCK WOULDN'T START, right? Yeah yeah, I was thrilled.
So here I was stuck at the library at night. Its pitch black, creeps are hanging around outside, and Tin Lizzie won't start. Great. I try and try to start it again and again, but it just makes this weird noise that oddly sounded like a hippo having an asthma attack. I tried for about 5 minutes straight, to no avail. I didn't want to flood the motor or blow it up or anything so, in my current state of panic, I ran inside the library, to find someone who might be able to help me.

Me: "My truck is broke down, or won't start or something."

Library lady: "What year is your truck?"

Me: "Uhhhh, I have no idea. Its from the 70's or something?" *It was actually a 1986 Chevy*. I virtually know nothing about this truck, guys. I don't even know where to find the registration in that machine if I ever got pulled over. 

Library lady: "Well, the battery is probably dead if it won't start. Do you need to use the phone?"

Okay, so I didn't even think of asking to use the phone. I usually don't think straight when I am in a situation like this. *covers face in embarrassment*

Me: "Oh uh, actually that would be great!"

I called my dad and he kindly came all the way down to the library with spark plugs, er ah, jumper cables, but we didn't need them cause the battery wasn't dead. I still have no idea why it wouldn't start. Dad got in the truck and of course after a few revs, he got it started. I was just standing there like, "howwww???"


So this concludes another installment of public embarrassment of yours truly. (don't you dare judge me) Stay tuned. Most likely there will be more stories of this kind in the future. Hopefully not, but I can't change fate.

Do you have a story to share?
Am I alone in my misfortunes with vehicles? 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Its You



i know you're scared right now,
maybe you miss someone
maybe your heart hurts a little- or a lot.
or maybe your not quite sure of who you are, or who you want to be.
you want that feeling back. the one where it doesn't seem
like the whole world is against you, but its still here. 
it never really left. 
and one day, you will realize that the only person who can find it again
is you.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Ultimate Guide to Christmas Shopping For The Teen With Virtually No Money


Speaking from my own experiences, Christmas can be an expensive time of year. Especially for us teens who are saving for our futures, weather it be saving to buy a car, college, sports, or traveling. So I've put together this lovely list of things you can make yourself or buy for less money than buying gifts for your family and friends brand new.

For The Girls 

-Body scrub, lip balm, bath salts and homemade bath bombs make wonderful gifts. They are cheap and fun to make! Check out my EOS Lip balm Refill DIY post while your at it!

-Knit something fun. I'm not a big knitter, but sashay scarves  are amazing! They are super duper easy, but look complicated when finished. (So people think your an expert knitter)You can also do all sorts of things with the sashay material like sew it into hats or crocheted infinity scarves.

-Everything in a jar is perfect for any occasion, (birthdays, anniversaries ect ect.) and make great stocking stuffers.

-Homemade baked goods are perfect for anyone. Homemade freezer jam, peppermint bark, hot apple cider cinnamon spice mix   and the best brownies are some of my favorites, and are sure to make your family and friends drool!

-Go pick up a cute journal at Barnes and Noble or Ross or create this adorable handmade one!

-Gift cards to Starbucks, iTunes or Walmart are great gifts for any girl, or guy for that matter.

-Vintage teacup candle DIY

For The Dudes

-Coffee mugs and are easy to make and really cute if your artsy. Check out this site for to go cups for dads or bros on the go!

-T-shirts with sarcastic comments, or aprons if your dad likes to bbq or cook! I've been looking at this one for my dad.

-Take him out for a concert. A few years ago, I took my dad to Handel's Messiah preformed by the city choir and symphony. We got all dressed up, and we both had a great time!

-Personalized picture frames.

-Movie tickets. Always fun.

-Anything sweet. Peanut butter chocolate fudge is one of our family favorites!

-Memory slideshow cd with music and photos is bound to make anyone tear up.

For The Sibs

-PVC homemade marshmallow guns

-Candy. Need I say more?

-Costumes. are always great for kids. Make them their favorite movie characters costume from scratch, or if your not crafty and good at sewing like yours truly, buy them cheap at Walmart or Target.

-Homemade play dough is the best and smells amazing! Check out this recipe for edible play dough. You will want to eat it!

-Board games. Monopoly, Wits and Wagers, Sorry, Are you Smarter Than A 5th Grader, Racko and Sequence are some of my family favorites.

-Going out and iceskating, watching a movie together, or even feeding the ducks at the park is always a way to make your sibling feel special and grown up!

-Create a Christmas treasure hunt on Christmas eve for your sibs. Create riddles which lead them all over the house or even outside to discover a big surprise!


Thursday, December 1, 2016

See Ya Later November || Favs

Soooo like whaaaa??? Its December already???


Obviously life has been crazy busy, and time just kinda sneaked away. 2016 is going by too fast, don't you agree?! I've been such a busy bee this month, but its been awesome. Work, school (lots of algebra, ugh), choir and piano seem to be the focus of my life right now. I'm prepping for a piano master class this month, which I'm thrilled about. This is my second year attending, and I'm looking forward to not being a newbie. Ohhh, and guys. It literally started snowing about an hour ago. I don't know whether to be happy or not, cause I DONT LIKE WINTER, but decorating the house, hot chocolate, singing Handel's Messiah in choir, sweaters, new books, paper snowflakes, candles and Christmas music (#bingcrosby) on the radio is just making me feel completely into the Christmas spirit! 

So, now onto some of my November favs. 

1. Check out Vanessa's Blogger Gift Exchange post, if you haven't already! She and Jo have such a great idea about doing blogger appreciation posts. 

2. Julia's poem punched me in the heart. But don't all her poems do that? She's such a talented writer! 

3. Elizabeths post, Things To Do on A Rainy Day was so fun to read! She has a lot of fun little things in her post!

4. Morning's Blogger Yearbook idea is just simply brilliant! 

5. Sarah's November In Review post  was fabulous to read! Congrats on 30k, Sarah!

6. I got a laugh out of Naomi's post, If Period Drama Characters Had Internet Bios 

7. Lauren writes wonderfully, and her posts always give me the feels. Like this one.


Congrats to all of you who finished NaNo alive! I'm so proud of you all! Even though I didn't participate this year, I know you all worked very hard, and I loved keeping up with your NaNo posts! Great job!