Monday, August 29, 2016

Filled, Lit & Ready

Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps alight. 
~Luke 12:35

Hey everyone!!
It should come as no surprise that I am writing my first novel, a fantasy set in 15th century England. Though I admit, I'm not very good at focusing only on my book, that was originally the primary reason I created this blog. XD
Something that might strike you as a surprise though is that my dad had been working on a book as well.
Go back a few years, my dad seemed like the last person who wanted to read a book (with the exception of the Bible), let alone write one...and now he has done just that!!

My dad read a book about the Jewish Feasts and the significant meaning behind each one. I suppose that was the foundation for the book he would eventually write. He'd spent several months writing a book that focuses on being ready for Christ's return. 

Chapter 25 of the Book of Matthew, from the New Testament, tells the parable of the 10 virgins. The parable talks about the 10 virgins, or bridesmaids, awaiting the bridegroom. 5 of the virgins were out of lamp oil before the bridegroom arrived. Once they had set out to buy more oil, the bridegroom came. The 5 virgins returned, but it was too late.

I've read Dad's book quite a few times. I believe it's very informative and motivating. It's about understanding that Christ WILL return one day. It's about ALWAYS being ready for His return. It's about being filled, lit and ready, like the other 5 virgins.

Inspired with the idea, my dad felt that God put it on his heart to write it down for other people, believing it was not just for himself.

The book is titled Filled, Lit & Ready by my dad, George Yorba. It was published just last week. Please check it out, and thank you so much for reading. Would love to hear from you in the comments below. ;)

Yours truly,

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Olympic Games - Michael Phelps

Growing up, and even now, I have never been someone who's enjoyed sports. Growing up with brothers, going to youth groups, summer camps, etc. I was the girl who sat on the side and watched. Lame right? 😜
I much preferred to read a book or make up stories with my dolls, or create something. I prefer literature, music, art, and theater over sports. I don't like basketball or football (gasp). I strongly dislike watching it on TV, I don't get into the Super Bowl, like, AT ALL.
I know, I'm writing about sports on a fantasy blog. Please bear with me!! I just want to tell you guys what I've been doing the past few nights. But first...

I remember watching the opening ceremony for the 2008 Olympics with my mom. Later, I watched very little swimming, and little more of the women's diving, which I fully enjoyed. I didn't really watch anything else from the Olympics that year. In 2012 I watched the Olympic games more than I ever had before. I watched several different events with the girls in the staff cabin at the camp I worked at and in the basement of my brother's house (long story). That was the first time I heard of one of America's greatest athletes ever - Michael Phelps. 

Swimming was already one of the sports I enjoyed watching most of all. And then I saw how many gold medals Michael Phelps was winning, and he was representing Team USA, and he was really entertaining to watch.

And then the Olympic Games Rio 2016 came. 😄
I wasn't aware that it was going on again, but a few days after the fact, I saw something about it on the internet. My sister and I then began watching it, streaming it live a few times, but mostly watching YouTube videos. Eventually, we turned the TV on and watched it for several hours one night. But swimming wasn't on. I watched a lot of team sports like basketball and women's field hockey, amongst other sports. Most of it was entertaining too! But where was Phelps?

The online schedule was no help really. We sat up later than I care to admit, but we watched about 6-7 hours of the Olympics on TV a night for several consecutive nights last week to catch swimming. No, I'm not obsessed. It's just good.

During the Olympic games, I'm proud to be an American! My sis and I were cheering on every American team that was competing.

And then Michael Phelps came on for his final olympic challenge and the USA won the men's 4x100m medley relay. The finger wag he did after winning the Men's 200m Individual Medley was hilarious!! And let us not forget about the Phelps face which fans are saying is better than McKayla Maroney... 😂 "The memes are hilarious," he explained to Access Hollywood's Billy Bush.

Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian athlete ever, with 28 Olympic medals, 23 of those being gold medals.
He first competed in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney at the age of 15, winning no medals. He took 5th in the Men's 200m butterfly.
In 2004 Olympics in Athens, winning 6 gold medals and 2 bronze medals.
At the Olympic Games Beijing in 2008, he won 8 gold medals.
In 2012 at the Olympic Games in London, he won 4 gold medals, and 2 silver medals.
In 2016 Rio, he won 5 gold medals, and 1 silver medal. Phelps came in second to Joseph Schooling in the Men's 100m butterfly.
He's extremely talented at what he does, and he's really fun to watch. It's just kind of bittersweet that he insists that this year will be his last time competing at the Olympics, especially after watching him get emotional during his last award ceremony. In an interview with Bob Costas, Phelps stated, "Where I am now is exactly where I want to finish my career." I'm glad America had someone like Michael Phelps representing the country. For someone who doesn't like sports as much as I don't, I thoroughly enjoy watching the Olympic games. ;)

*All photos courtesy of Getty Images.*

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Cyclopedic of Fairies: Dryads, Hobgoblins, & Banshees

First off, I'd like to say that I meant to get this post up a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, instead I had my wisdom teeth pulled. It really sucks. My face was so swollen for the first 5 days. I still can't really eat anything that isn't mushy (thank God for mashed potatoes and pudding). I slept a lot the first few days, but I somehow still managed to begin and finish reading The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. Oh.My.Gosh. Such a beautiful book. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

I also highly suggest you check out THIS post I wrote back in November of 2015. It is one of my most viewed posts about the fairies from my book, Beyond The Veil. The only way that post is relevant to this post is that this post is also about fairies, which I'm guessing you already knew if you read the title. :D As many of you are probably aware, I have shared knowledge with you about pixies, pillywiggins, and sprites. But those aren't the only fairies featured in my book, which you already know if you have read my first chapter. Here I am going to share with you a few things you may find interesting about dryads, hobgoblins, and banshees.

Type: Dryad
Habitat: the Forest

A dryad is a tree spirit and originates from Greek mythology. Originally, dryads were only the spirits of oak trees, though now the term is lightly used to refer to any tree spirit. While some tales say that dryads can move from one tree to another, some believe that a dryad is tied to one tree and if that tree died or was cut down, the dryad would die. Their appearances vary, taking on a humanlike figure with elfin features, green or pale skin, and roots or leaves for hair. Some say that they have no physical body, but they can only be seen through leaves blowing in the wind. Like all nymphs (nature spirits), dryads are only female.

"And there are spirits. Not evil transparent ghosts with chains. They are tree spirits, dryads as they care called. They are the soul of the tree. Unlike a human soul, a tree spirit can leave its body whenever it wants, but only for short periods of time. If you listen to the wind, you can hear soft whisperings. This is how they communicate to one another, using a lost language once known to man, now understood only by the fairies and the dryads themselves." ~ Beyond The Veil. First mention of dryads in the book.


Type: Hobgoblin
Habitat: the Forest

Hobgoblins are thought to be of Welsh origin. The word goblin comes from the Greek word "kobalos"meaning rogue. Since a hob is a part of a fireplace, the hobgoblins were believed to be household fairies, unlike goblins. Perhaps the most famous hobgoblin today is Puck from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Nights Dream. In folklore, hobgoblins lived in people's houses, hiding in the walls, closets, and chimneys to remain unseen. Like most fairy creatures, hobgoblins did not particularly like humans. Yet they did household chores, from dusting and sweeping, to darning socks. Usually the only thing they would take in return was food. Hobgoblins were believed to be more closely related to brownies than to goblins, but some believe that hobgoblins take on the dwarf-like appearance of old men, even though they are able to shape-shift according to some.

"...strangest of them all, are the hobgoblins. The size of a small child, but hairy like a beast, with the face of an elderly man, they are able to shape-shift. Though pleasant enough, they can be very ill-mannered, bad tempered, and greedy. They spend nearly every night in the village, never taking anything without first having earned their loot." ~ Beyond The Veil. First mention of hobgoblins in the book. Brakt, amongst others, is the hobgoblin featured in the story.

Type: Banshee
Habitat: Unknown

A banshee is a female fairy creature from Irish folklore. The banshee was an omen of death. Some believed that her scream, or wail, was a prediction of a death in one of the major Gaelic families, while others believed that a banshees keening meant that she was already mourning one's death. One thing to be perfectly clear on, is that banshees never caused one's death; they only warned of it. Banshees could not be seen by the dying, but by loved ones surrounding that person. The family then knew that that person would die soon. However, if the banshee became aware of humans watching her, she would disappear as mist. The origin of the banshee is unclear, but it is widely believed that folklore about them came from ancient Irish traditions where women would sing laments for those who had died, and get paid in alcohol. It is said that the church frowned upon this, that when the keening women died, they became banshees; forever having to grieve the dying as punishment for their false grieving. Some say that a banshee is the spirit of a woman who was murdered or who had died in childbirth. The banshee changes slightly with Scottish folklore and Welsh folklore. Sometimes she was depicted as an old hag and sometimes she was a beautiful young woman with red or green hair and pale skin. The Irish usually depicted her as having a comb in her hair, as finding a comb was considered bad luck. In Scottish folklore, she was believed to wash the grave clothes of the dying in a wash bucket or a river.

I have not written about a banshee in Beyond The Veil, and since the story is set in England, I haven't entirely decided if I will or won't put one into the story. I know I would like to write about one. I know exactly where she will appear and how I will use her, I'm just not that far into the story yet. It also depends on where the story is at by that point and my mood. :D
So I guess you can look forward to seeing or not seeing a banshee within the story.

I always have so much fun doing research about fairies. I hope you found some of this interesting, thank you so much for reading!! I look forward to hearing from you in the comments!! ;)