The Morning Report: February (Accidental Theatre Edition)

Sometimes I think that I’ll post something during the hours that I should actually be awake.  And then I laugh at myself, go do something else, and come back to post at 12:30am.  But here we are anyways, so let’s get rolling.

Currently…

Drinking: WATER!  Or, at least trying to drink water.  I have learned fairly recently that water is kind of magical.  It clears up my skin, helps me lose weight, and can be drunk out of really cute vessels.  If there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I will not drink water if I don’t have something cute to drink it out of.  Lately, I’ve been drinking out of either a mason jar with a straw or this really cute water bottle that a friend gave me for Christmas (the sticker was a gift from a separate friend):

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And, as my water bottle says, I am also Rehearsing: Poland! We just started dress rehearsals tonight for our stateside performances and we will be having shows this weekend.  I am also starting rehearsals for Seussical in exactly a week (next Monday), and I need to pick a song for my audition.  Speaking of which, I have been…

Singing: Sondheim.  My voice teacher made the decision to have a Sondheim focus for our spring recital, meaning that I will either be singing (most likely) On the Steps of the Palace or Moments in the Woods.  While you’re on that playlist, just listen to all of those songs if you haven’t already.  It’s well worth your time.  And for all who don’t know, Stephen Sondheim is a brilliant composer, known for such musicals as Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, and Sunday in the Park with George.

Wearing: Stage makeup, good gosh.  I realized as I was putting it all on, once again, for dress rehearsal, that I between Aladdin and Poland, I have spent more time this month with stage makeup applied than without.  Which, if I’m honest, is fine by me.  Anything involving the theatre is my happy place.

Swishing: Coconut oil.  I am a new convert to oil pulling.  I try to do it every night, along with a honey face mask.  Here are the benefits of each:

Oil Pulling:  Benefits: Draws out toxins in the mouth, freshens breath, whitens teeth, strengthens jaw.  Instructions: Deposit a fair amount of coconut oil into your mouth and swish for 20 minutes.  I use about a teaspoon, but I’ve heard of people using as much as a tablespoon.  Fair warning, it is a strange sensation to have oil in your mouth, and it took me a good couple of weeks to keep from gagging when I first started.  I’ve definitely seen a difference in the whiteness of my teeth, and I’ve noticed that mild mouth sores have healed much faster.

Honey Face Mask: Benefits: Cleans face, helps with acne, gives healthy glow.  Instructions: Cover face with organic honey, leave on for 15 minutes and then wash off.  At the very least, this gives me a very healthy glow and just makes my skin happy in general. I highly recommend.

Watching: Hairspray.  My sister’s college is putting on a big-scale production of Hairspray, so I thought I might as well watch the movie FINALLY.  I really did enjoy it.  My favorite part was (of course) the music and seeing Zac Efron just exist in the ’60’s was a real pleasure.  I’m also still watching Gilmore Girls and Downton Abbey with my mommy, of course.

Listening: To showtunes!  My #1 playlist right now consists of Into the Woods, Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, The Last Five Years, and Les Miserables and it is gorgeous.

Anticipating: Seeing Wicked (second time) in August and possibly seeing Phantom in May.  Also, we have officially bought tickets for another round of OSF in July!  This year’s plays: Much Ado About Nothing, Guys and Dolls, and The Count of Monte CristoI KNOW.

I think that’s all for now.  Sleep is calling my name.  I hope (but no promises) that my next post won’t involve quite so much theatre geeking :)

TTFN,

-Gracie

Sometimes You Just

I’d like to talk for a minute about quiet time.  If you’ve grown up in a Christian home, you probably know what “quiet time” is.  For those of you who don’t know, this is Christianese for about 15 minutes to an hour spent, usually in the morning, reading your Bible, praying, and just spending time with Jesus.  Before I go any further, I’d like to say that everything I am saying to you all, I am also saying to myself.  Because I need to hear this.

It is impossible, in ones life, to never have a morning where you wake up and just don’t want to take the time to do your quiet time.  For me, the usual excuses are, “I have so much to get done” or, the ever-more-intimidating, “I’m afraid I won’t encounter Jesus.”  I’ve had good mornings, and I’ve had bad mornings, and I’m sad to say that the bad mornings have given me a fear of more bad mornings.

I’m here to tell you (and me) this.  When you wake up in the morning, open up your Bible.  Force yourself to step outside of time.  Don’t look at your clock, don’t look at your phone.  Invite your Father into your space.  And if you’re afraid that you won’t feel Him, just remember: He delights in YOU (Psalm 18:19).  So even if you don’t feel Him as strongly as you want, remember that He feels you.  He listens to you.  He loves hearing you talk to Him.  He loves to talk to you, even if it takes a while for you to hear.

Even if you can’t bring yourself to pick up your Bible… even if you can’t find the courage to pray… just sit with Him and listen.  Sit with Him and let Him calm your doubts.  Because His peace surpasses all understanding.

Sometimes you just need to read.  Sometimes you just need to talk.  Sometimes you just need to sit and listen.

Father, Abba, friend.  Let me have the courage, the patience, the faith, and the discipline to spend this time with you every morning.  I know that even when I don’t treasure it as much as I should, you do. I trust you, I know that you love me.  On the good days and on the bad days, I promise to sit with you in faith and in quiet.

The Morning Report: Happy Not-So-New Year!!

Once upon a time, I thought that I would sit down on January 1st, 2015, and write some kind of super inspirational post about the new year and purpose and all that jazz.  To that, I say “HA!”  So here I am, on January 10th, writing a semi-informative post about how life is going right now.  Here… we… go…

LOVING

-Rehearsal! As I’ve said before in my Morning Report posts, I am going to freaking Poland, and I am SO excited!  I am proud to announce that I am, in fact, fully funded, FINALLY, which means that, well, I can actually go on this trip.  I am especially enjoying getting to know the team that’s going with me, and I’m so excited to get to perform the skits that we’re doing to God’s glory.  I’m also rehearsing for Aladdin, so I’m really loving going home every weekend with Disney songs ringing through my head.  And both of my casts are the BEST.  In fact, Aladdin is opening in a couple weeks, and I think it’s going to be a great show.

-Christmas break.  I got an extra long break this year, because my sister’s home from college, and I adore having her here.  Mainly because she’ll stay up until 5 am watching Disney-Pixar movies with me.  What can I say? She’s my best friend.

WATCHING

-Gilmore Girls.

This my bonding show with my dearest mother.  We’re addicted.

-Agent Carter.

Since only one episode has aired, this is all I have watched, but I love how it’s looking so far.

-Downton Abbey.

Yay, new season!!!

-Into the Woods.

I am, in fact, a massive fan of this show onstage, and let it never be thought of me that I didn’t know of it until the movie came out.  I grew up reading it’s name in playbills and never knowing what it was. I did, however, have the privilege of seeing it in Ashland, and I do think the movie did it justice.  So I’ve watched it twice.  When I’m not watching the movie, I’m either listening to the original Broadway cast recording or watching the Chris Pine/Billy Magnussen “Agony” number over and over… and over… and over…….

READING

   -Harry Potter!!  I’m on the second book now, and I’ve seen the first movie and everything is gorgeous about it.  I’ll admit that I am very late in reading them, but I’m willing to overlook that, if you are, and enjoy them anyway.

-The Hunger Games.  I have yet to begin Catching Fire, but I really did enjoy The Hunger Games.  I specifically enjoyed getting inside Katniss’s head, the way you couldn’t in the movies.

I do think that’s all… and I can’t thank you enough for limping through this post with me.  New posts soon!

-Gracie

When Love Came Down at Christmastime

Every Christmas, we talk about when Jesus came. Christians embrace it, atheists avoid it, most people know it… but whatever you believe, and whatever you do about it, the thought of Jesus usually crosses your mind at some point in the Christmas season.
Then, there’s always that one person… that one blog post… that one church service that tells you to look deeper into it, and really think about why Jesus came down to save us. I’m not going to do that today.

Today, I’m going to state the simple truth. The simple truth is this: Jesus came down to save us. Now, when most people hear this, they hear “Jesus came to save the world,” but He didn’t. God didn’t send His only son to save everyone collectively. He sent His only son to everyone individually. One day, God came to Jesus and said, “Son… this might seem hard, but I have a favor to ask. Our people… they’re… misbehaving. We both know they’re all imperfect, but I don’t want all of them to die. Still, we can’t just let their sins go without a second thought… so I’m going to need you to leave our perfect home and go down there.”  “Sure, Dad, of course I will.”  “Wait… I’m not done. I’m going to need you to go down as a baby, and live a normal, middle-class life for about 3 decades. And… son, in order to save them, you’re going to be persecuted and beaten and whipped and… crucified. Only then can they live with us in paradise.”  “Okay.”  “Okay?”  “Yeah. I mean, I love them more than anything. Why wouldn’t I want to save them?”

He knows us. He saves us. He wants us to live with Him in paradise. He thought of you and He thought of me personally when His father sent Him down. Then He gave us perfect forgiveness.

That is Christmas. That is why we celebrate.

My Magical Wonderful Happy Place (a.k.a. OSF)

As promised, here I am with my post on the one… the only.. Oregon Shakespeare Festival!!!  Now, all of you, go back and read that sentence with the “20th Century Fox” fanfare in the background.  Done? Good. Thanks.

Now, let’s talk.  I know I linked this in my last post, but read it, if you haven’t.  If you have, read it again.  It’s important.  Anyways, for those of you who don’t know, “Oregon Shakespeare Festival” (OSF) is a festival of approximately 10-12 plays that run from February to November every year in Ashland.  Over the past 5 seasons, I’ve had the privilege of seeing such plays as Hamlet, Pride and Prejudice, As You Like It, The Heart of Robin Hood, and many more.  This year, I got to see The Cocoanuts, The Tempest, Into the Woods, and A Wrinkle in Time.

So dang excite.

I loved ALL of them, as I always do, and I’m really not going to go into it now, but seriously, I had SUCH a great time on this trip.  I was able to take it with the lovely Emory as a carpool/elbowing buddy, and in addition to enjoying these plays with me, she also took the time to pleasure me in partying around Ashland, shopping, sitting, and even singing and dancing down the streets of Ashland, Oregon. (“Nothing suits me like a suit….”) She even obliged me in reading Chapter 1 of A Wrinkle in Time out loud in preparation for seeing the show, AND doing all the voices (I readily forgive Charles Wallace’s brief time as a 50-year-old man because Emory couldn’t quite voice a 5-year-old boy).  PLUS, she listened to and gave her much-valued opinion on a monologue I needed to practice for an upcoming audition.

Fun fact: Monologues and reading are much more enjoyable in a place like Lithia Park in Ashland.

We got to see all of those plays, we got to do all of that singing, and we got to have my favorite time in Ashland so far.  Sadly, however, it had to end sometime.

PLOT TWIST!!!  About a week after our return, my sister called my mother up with news of $10 rush tickets to OSF plays, and since she hadn’t gotten to go with us the first time around, she suggested we go back to see A Wrinkle in Time.  AND IT WAS MEANT TO BE.  So we returned to Ashland, and we were the first in line for those last few tickets.  We got tickets that would normally have been over $100 dollars for $10. This means I got to watch closing night for my favorite play this year with my favorite sister, after already watching it with one of my very favorite people.  This also means that I got to see my favorite OSF actor, Joe Wegner, play Calvin O’Keefe all over again.  AND THEN, we went to a Q+A afterwards, where we got to talk to Alejandra Escalante (Meg Murray), Sarah Bruner (Charles Wallace Murray), and Joe Wegner.  I had one of my less proud moments in my life during this Q+A… so, it is the story time equinox.  And I think we all know what that is.  It’s a made-up event, just to give me a valid excuse to tell a story!

I usually don’t ask questions during these things, but I made the decision to step out and ask if these three actors were returning to next season.  Sadly, Alejandra is not, but Sarah and Joe will be coming back!  In fact, and here’s where my moment comes in, Joe announced that he is going to be in Guys and Dolls.  Let me just take a moment to say that literally the one and only reason I asked that question was to find out if Joe is going to be in Guys and Dolls, so, the moment he said that, I… how do I put this… sqeaked. Loudly. If you have any doubt as to the volume of this squeak, a friend of mine, who was sitting in the back, told me afterwards that she “loved my sqeak.”  That’s how it went down.

Oh, and lookie here!

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Walked away singing

Let me just end this post by saying this: Please, for the love of all that is good and pure GO TO OSF NEXT YEAR.  The new season is released and stinking GUYS AND DOLLS, COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.  SO MUCH GOODNESS.

Lastly, a great big, ginormous, THANK YOU SOOO MUCH to Emory, her mother, and my mother and sister for making the trip the most wonderful Ashland experience so far.

Who wants to join us next year?

A Story(:

For world history this week, I was supposed to write a story, true or fictional, about someone being in the right place at the right time. Of course, I chose fictional, so I could just let my mind run rampant.  I just thought I would share it with you people. Enjoy and let me know what you think!  Sorry it’s so long(;

Red Lipstick

     A chilling wind blew down the street, throwing fallen, dead leaves every which way as it went. Leroy looked down, away from the chill, and pulled his jacket closer to himself. When he had left that morning, his mother had told him to wear a heavier coat. “It’s only autumn, Mom. I’ll be fine.” He had said. Besides, the past few days it hadn’t been cold. In fact, it had been almost balmy… but not today.

“Of course,” Leroy thought, holding his jacket tighter, “the one cold day had to be today.” He could just imagine the “I told you so” from his mother when he got home. Still, he walked further.

“Don’t forget to stop for cornmeal on the way home. I’m making cornbread with supper tonight.” Leroy’s mother’s voice echoed through his head once again. At least he had that to look forward to when he finally arrived home. Just the thought of warm chili and cornbread almost warmed him right up, even out in the cold.

“Cornmeal… cornmeal… cornmeal…” He repeated it over and over again to himself. Leroy didn’t want to forget… again. He didn’t want a reputation as “the one who always forgets.” He let out a chuckle; as if he didn’t have that reputation already.

Still, he walked.

“Tap, tap, tap, tap….” Leroy’s shoes hit the pavement one after the other. “Tap, tap, tap, click–” He stopped. Those weren’t his shoes. Those sounded like his mother’s Sunday heels; the ones she only wore on very special occasions. “Click, click, click…” Leroy listened awhile longer, then looked up. He saw a young girl, about his age, maybe a little older. She was wearing high heels–too high. She couldn’t walk very well in them. It was apparent that she had put on makeup that day, however, most of it was all over her cheeks by now, smeared by tears, apparently.

Red lipstick.
That was all that was left intact.

He stopped for a moment and watched her. She was looking down, so she couldn’t see him. He watched her take a few steps, then stop to wipe a tear from her eye, smearing her makeup even more. She took two, maybe three more steps, then collapsed onto the pavement. Before he even knew what was happening, Leroy ran to the girl and stooped down in front of her. “What am I doing?” he questioned himself, “Why did I stop?” It was as if something else, something outside himself had pushed him over there, and had set him in front of this stranger. He wished it hadn’t, but there was no going back now.

Leroy was good with people. In a few seconds, he could feel someone out and immediately know just what to say to them. It was different with this girl; he didn’t know what to say. All of the sudden, he was totally conscious of himself. He started to reach his hand out, but his arm felt as heavy as lead. Still, he pushed on. Leroy gently put his hand under this girl’s chin and lifted her head. Quietly, he asked, “Are you alright? I saw you fall.” He didn’t mention the fact that he had seen her crying… he didn’t want to embarrass her. He looked over his left shoulder and saw a bench along the sidewalk. “Do you want to go sit down?” He inquired, gently. When she didn’t respond, he stood up and held out his hand. “Here, come on.” The girl reached up and put her hand in his. Her hand was small, and her fingernails were painted red to match her lipstick. The hand was cold, Leroy noted, it felt like it hadn’t been warm in a very long time. He closed his hand around hers and pulled her up, still very gently. As she looked up, for the first time, he saw her eyes. They were the most beautiful eyes Leroy had ever seen. They were bright green, and they sparkled as the light reflected onto them, off of the cloudy sky. Once she was standing beside him, Leroy let go of her hand, took off his jacket, and draped it over her shoulders. He felt silly for thinking he was cold, not two minutes ago. Seeing this girl, dressed in business attire, not at all appropriate for the weather, he knew she needed that jacket more than he did.

Then, Leroy put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her close to him. He hoped she wouldn’t think he was trying to take advantage of her, he was only trying to help her–to warm her up. She seemed to appreciate the gesture, and leaned into him. They were walking, slowly, carefully, and finally they reached the bench. They sat down, Leroy’s arm still around this strange girl, whom he had only just met. They sat in silence.

It could have been one minute. Five. Thirty. Leroy didn’t feel the silence. He sat with her. No words were necessary.
Finally, he turned to her, “Can I… um…” Leroy had never been one to struggle with his words, “can I pray with you?”

More time passed. He knew she had heard… or had she? He couldn’t tell.

Then, a tear. Two. Three. A flood of tears cascaded down this girl’s face. Hardly any makeup was left.

Red lipstick.
That was all that was left intact.

Finally, she nodded. Ever-so-slightly, she nodded. Leroy took a deep breath, and plunged in.
“Lord, I lift up this young lady to you today. I ask your shield over her, that she would know that whatever she is going through, whatever is happening in her life, it is all part of your plan. You might let your people bend, but you will never let us break. I know she might feel broken right now, but you work through broken people. Thank you, God, that you made her and you have a plan for her life. Stand by her, guide her, comfort her, protect her. Thank you…… amen.”

There was more silence after this, but, again, Leroy barely noticed. Slowly, the tears stopped. Slowly, this beautiful girl looked up. Slowly, she turned her head to look at Leroy. All of the sudden, he knew God had used him. He knew that there was a reason he had been there, on that street, at that time. Leroy had heard stories like this. Stories of people being in the right place at the right time… and that had just happened to him. He prayed a silent prayer, thanking God.

Then, he looked straight at this girl who he had just prayed over. Her makeup had been completely washed away by her tears, and as the sun peeked through the clouds, her eyes sparkled like the stars.

Red lipstick.

Leroy realized, then, that he still had his arm around her. As he pulled it away, she took his jacket off her shoulders, folded it gently, and placed it in Leroy’s hands. She took a deep breath, looked straight into his eyes, and finally, she spoke, “Thank you.” Her voice was like music. That was all that she said, but Leroy knew that she meant it.

Then, without another word, she leaned in, kissed him on the cheek, and stood up. Leroy watched her as she walked away, then he stood up and walked the opposite direction.

When he reached home, he walked into his house to see his mother in the kitchen. “Cornmeal!” He exclaimed aloud. I’m sorry, Mom, I’ll go back and get it.

“No, Leroy, don’t bother… there’s no time. Just go into bathroom and get washed up.”
“Alright. I’m really sorry, Mom.”

She glanced up, from her cooking, and looked at Leroy with an inquisitive expression.

“What is it, mom?”
She paused. “Um, nothing… we can talk about it later.

Leroy went into the bathroom, and, as he washed his hands, he looked in the mirror and understood his mother’s reaction. It was right there, on his left cheek.

Red lipstick.

The Morning Report: 10:22 p.m. Edition

It’s 10:22.  Logically, the first thing on my mind right now is, “Hey, um… I should blog.”  So here I am.  I’m just gonna update you real quick on, well, EVERYTHING.

School: Senior year, guys!  It’s something I’m really excited about, but I’m realizing that there are reasons that senior year is always so laid back, school-wise.  It’s because there is so much besides school that needs to be done!

1) College.  What I didn’t realize is that a massive part of senior year is figuring out what to do next.  I, personally, would like to go to college and get a degree in drama. Easy enough, right?  NO!  There are so many colleges in this world, you guys!  This has been a HUGE point of surrender for me.  Like, it’s hard to give something away that’s so huge, but I know that God knows what school I need to end up at, if I need to go to college at all, and I really don’t at this point.  So college hunting… that’s a thing.

2) Extra-curricular activities.  I tried to leave room in my schedule this year for a lot of extra stuff.  However, that “extra stuff” has proceeded to pile up and up and up.  Super fun.  But, honestly, I love it.  Right now, I am in rehearsals for a) Aladdin, which a children’s theatre company in my area is putting on. b) a singing/dancing/drama program through the 1700’s. Performing next week! c) A drama mission trip to POLAND.  Yeah, dude.  d) Choir. Yeppers.  And my swamped schedule really hasn’t stopped me from trying to sign up for voice lessons, and hunt for a job. Speaking of which…

3) JOBS.  Remember when I mentioned college?  Yeah… it’s freaking expensive, guys.  So money is good.  And no matter how busy you are, money is necessary.  I’ve applied to three places so far, and I’ll let you know if anything comes of that.

 

Music: One of my sister’s college friends has recently turned her onto an artist, and she, in turn, turned me onto them.  This artist is Twenty One Pilots.  I’ll tell you right now, they’re not for everyone, but please, give them a try.  My favorites by them are “Screen“, and, um, ALL OF THEM.  SERIOUSLY.  So listen.  They not only are super talented, but their music has a great message against suicide and self-harm and all of that.  A subject very close to my heart.

 

Telly: As of right now, my mother and I are watching Once Upon a Time (new post coming in regards to my opinion on this season) and Dancing with the Stars.  I have also successfully completed Seasons 1-9 of How I Met Your Mother *bows*, and when I have a spare second, I am plowing through Season 2 of Arrow.  And GRAVITY FALLS you guys!!!

 

Traveling: AAAAAASHLAAAAND!!! Ashland.  Read this.  More on that later.

 

That’s all for now!!!  I promise I’ll be back within the next couple of days.

Hugs and all that jazz……………. Gracie(:

 

Is Chivalry Extinct?

I have some things to say about chivalry. It’s something that used to be expected of the young men of the world, and wasn’t that nice? Wasn’t it just handy dandy when you could rely on a young man giving up his seat for you or holding a door open? Now I, personally, am not one to take advantage of my rights as a woman, but there is something to be said for a gentleman. In case you hadn’t figured it out, there is a story that I have for you about this.

Fall is upon us, and I have taken it upon myself to make the very most I possibly can of my favorite season. This means, as you might guess, pumpkin flavored everything. However, I learned yesterday that there was, sadly, a great lack of pumpkin in my household, so I also took it upon myself to drive to the store and get pumpkin. When I made this decision, my mother took it upon herself to give me our entire grocery list. I arrived safely at the store, only to find out that they had done a tremendously grand job of hiding their canned pumpkin. So well, in fact, that I found everything else on the list plus some, before I found the treasured cans of the orange vegetable. After I had acquired all of my groceries, I proceeded through the self-checkout and bagged everything in two bags. On my way out, I looked down at my bags and thought, “Hmmm, these are pretty heavy… they might break……….. NAH.” Then I said a little silent prayer that my bags would hold out at least until I got to the car. Sadly, right outside the automatic doors, both of my plastic grocery bags broke and all of their contents fell out; an applesauce bouncing a bit, the brownie mix boxes toppling out, and a can of pumpkin rolling treacherously close to the parking lot. This is where the gentleman part of my story comes in. You see, a young man walked by right after my bags broke, so I was full-on grovelling on the ground, trying to gather my groceries, while simultaneously trying to move out of the way of traffic. This guy walked around me, without giving me so much as a second glance. Exasperated, I evaluated the situation, and finally just decided that the best course of action was to gather my things in my arms as easily as possible. I had gotten almost everything… except the treasured pumpkin cans. This was when, OH GLORY, another young man came out, saw me sizing up a can of pumpkin with an armload of groceries and two broken plastic bags, and he knelt down, picked up the can, and handed it to me. “Thank you,” I said with more conviction than can be displayed through type. Before going, he asked, “Are you good?” “Yeah, I think so… thanks so much.” Then I walked to my car, dumped my armload of food, and returned for my second can of pumpkin, lying on the pavement.

Now I am sitting at home, watching The Incredibles, with fresh pumpkin chocolate muffins in the kitchen, and candy corn on the side table, and reassuring myself that, yes, chivalry is scarce in today’s society, but, no, it is not extinct.

–Gracie

Review: The Maze Runner

This review is pretty delayed, and I’m sorry for how silent I’ve been lately. Trying to prioritize as school gets going is a bit of a pain-in-the-butt. Anyhow, let’s get under way.

I had a slight roadblock in my attempt to read The Maze Runner before I saw the movie. I was about two thirds of the way through, and still going strong, when my friend called me up at the last minute and asked me to go see the movie with her. It had taken all of my will power to even keep from just going by myself before I was done with the book, so I easily conceded. This made for a strange situation as it pertained to knowing what happened, etc. Also, as usual, if you haven’t read the book and/or seen the movie, please leave for your own sake and to put my mind at ease. Thanks(:

All of this aside, however, let me just say that this movie was lovely. LOVELY, I tell you! The first thing I have to say is this: there was a plethora of beautiful men. A. Plethora. I have never seen that many beautiful men together at one time. Casting director, Denise Chamian, I salute you. As is to be expected, I didn’t quite agree with all the changes they made, and I spent more time than I’m proud of leaning to my neighbor, whispering, “In the book, it was like…” For instance, I really didn’t appreciate how it was the initial sting of the griever, and not the serum, that made Ben go crazy. It left me wondering if Alby was just going to die from the griever sting. But it was okay, because Teresa’s all like, “Hey, um, Thomas… I found these serum things in my pocket, so… thought they might be important.” Good. Thanks. THEY’RE OBVIOUSLY FOR ALBY. Pssshhhh Teresa. I’m sorry, but… Teresa… her face… I don’t know… but you know what? I actually accepted it very quickly. She fit well. Yes. And, one quick thing, correct me if I’m wrong, and this may seem a bit disrespectful, but I feel like Gally wasn’t disagreeable enough.

Oh yeah, and what was with all the cussing in that movie? There wasn’t hardly any in the book.

 

Shank.

 

Shuck.

 

Klunk.

 

And they just GOT RID OF beetle blades. Fine.

I spent the whole entire time that Thomas, Alby, and Minho were trapped in the maze with a full-on expression of “uuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhAAAHGRIEVERaaaaahhhhhgriiieeeveruuuuuhhhh” on my face. Actually, scratch that, I had that expression for the full-on two hours in that movie theatre.

All that said, let’s talk about what I did like. Nay, LOVE. First, THAT OPENING SHOT, THOUGH. OHMYGOSHYES. Chills, guys. Chills. And tell me I’m not the only one who noticed that Thomas and Alby were wearing the same… freaking… shirt.

See? SEE?

And I’ve never been happier about someone portraying my favorite character than I was about Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt.

 

“It’s a girl.

Well spotted, Newt… well spotted.

Also… that there is the best facial expression of all time. Seriously, good luck finding anything better.

  How old do you think this young man is? 16? 17? That’s was I thought too. But NO… he’s FREAKING TWENTY FOUR. TWENTY FLIPPING FOUR, GUYS. They grow up so fast *sniff*. And let me just say, Ferb, you are holding up just fine.

  When the movie finished and the credits rolled, after that gorgeous ending, one of my friends goes, “So I guess they’re making Maze Runner 2?” I’m proud to say that I bit my tongue, kept from ridiculing her, and calmly said, “Yeah! The Scorch Trials.” I didn’t even blatantly correct her. Y’all should be proud of me.

  Next, a great big thank you to my whole entire theatre, you were great. I do really appreciate a good, respectful theatre, especially after being in a theatre for The Fault in Our Stars (third time), where someone laughed, laughed, when Gus said this line: “I guess the world isn’t a wish-granting factory.” But I’m getting off-subject. All in all, lovely job. I have yet to stop raving about this movie. I also have yet to stop holding contests for the best-looking character in the movie. Sadly, I also have yet to finish the book, but I would like to finish it and the rest of the series before The Scorch Trials comes out.

  And cheers to that.

–Gracie

Seattle Adventure

I don’t know if you remember (I didn’t until just now), but in my Guardians of the Galaxy Review, I mentioned that I had been on a mission trip to Seattle and would be blogging about it soon. Ladies and gentlemen, soon has arrived. Let’s begin.

Our team of about 20 teens and 4 adults left for Seattle on August 3rd and arrived back on August 8th. Over the course of the trip, we helped out in the local food bank, sorted endless amounts of shoes in a confined space tailored specifically for 17 people or less, painted, weeded, chainsawed (definitely a word), just generally were very helpful. At each place we volunteered at, we received the same comment: “There just seems to be a real unity in your group.” Maybe they knew this, maybe they didn’t, but we all firmly believe that the unity they saw was unity in Christ… I group coming together for one common goal: to do God’s work. It was an amazing thing.

The working was awesome, but my favorite part of every day was the evening, because every night, after we were done working and we all had gone to the showers (the church we were staying at, sadly, didn’t have showers on the premises, so we had to drive to separate public showers), my youth pastor had hand-picked a place for us to go and worship and have devotional time. The first night we went to Gasworks Park, the second night we went to Ballard Locks, and on third day we went to Golden Gardens, on the Puget Sound, and did church on the beach. No matter where we went, though, it was just a great experience to go out into those public places and feel God so strongly. As people walked by, sometime they would just stop for a moment and watch us ascribe to the Lord glory due His name.

On the last day, we got some free time and we were able to go to a Mariner’s Game and take an afternoon at Wild Waves before we headed home, but through every moment of the trip, it was just amazing to be able to form such strong, Godly relationships with everyone on the trip. It was incredible.

–Gracie