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The 31-Day Blog Post Challenge (Part Three)

One of my favorite games at parties, camps, and even on TV is the "do you know your best friend/sibling/S.O." game. In this game, questions are asked about a person that the answerer is supposed to know. The point of the game? To laugh at everyone when they don't know their best friend's favorite color, their sister's favorite song, or their boyfriend's favorite animal.

Today, in part three of the 31-day blog-post challenge, I am arming you with the answers to all of those questions in case you ever have to play a game like that with me. If you are ever invited to my bridal shower, baby shower, or a game show with me, you will take away the prize.

You can check out the schedule for the 31-day blog post challenge (made into a 7-day blog-post challenge) at the bottom of the page. Click on the links attached to the following questions to be taken directly to the questions.

10 of my favorite foods

My absolute favorite is dark chocolate and mint. I don't like the really strong mints (like yorks or junior mints). My favorites are mint M and Ms and I enjoy dove as well. I could survive entirely on cheese, chocolate, bread, cereal, and fruit. For me, they are the four food groups. Most days, I eat cereal for breakfast (cornflakes topped with yogurt or brown sugar) and I love piling fruit on top. No matter what I'm eating for lunch or dinner, you can bet it will include cheese, and most often a least one of the two includes bread. My favorite desserts include chocolate and my favorite ice cream and cake are chocolate flavored. If I had to give a list of some of my favorite foods, this would be it (in no particular order):

  • my mother's mud cake

  • chocolate ice cream (particularly when it has brownie chunks or other things included)

  • fruits like golden kiwi fruit, pineapple, strawberry, tomato, apple, raspberry, banana, feijoa, apricot, and more

  • CHEESE. We usually get a strong cheddar but I love a gouda as well. I like firm cheeses and don't enjoy soft cheeses.

  • Bread. All bread. Particularly homemade bread which my sisters are particularly adept at making.

  • carrot cake which is my favorite cake only second to my mother's mud cake.

  • cheesecake (cheese and cake. what could go wrong?)

  • pizza

  • potatoes. Other than mashed, I love my potatoes cooked just about any way. I am particularly fond of the New Zealand "cheesy potato" dish and enjoy a sausage and potato skillet. I am known to boast the great variety of ways to cook potatoes and sing opera songs of my love for them.

  • tea. Is tea a food? Can tea be made a food. I move to make tea a food.

My favorite comfort food

My family does something we call "feasts" to celebrate great accomplishments. We buy good bread, delicious cheeses and meats, dried fruits, nuts, chips, and chocolate-covered items from the supermarket and lay them out on the table. We'll often have soda and/or apple cider as well. These "feasts" are close to my heart and a favorite of mine. As is the "cheesy potato" dish that comes from New Zealand. The dish is made with a dried sauce packet from New Zealand mixed with cheese that gets poured over slices of potato along with milk and then cooked. The family often has this on special occasions as well. Although I don't know that either of these would be considered "comfort food." "Comfort food" tends to be defined as food that can be easily and/or quickly made and enjoyed, often in hard times as well as good times. For me, this would be pizza. The family has a great recipe for a base that we use which doesn't require yeast. We've often dropped our dinner plans and gathered together to make individual pizzas. One person will make the dough, another grates the cheese and another gathers toppings. We usually watch something together while we eat and, for me at least, there is always leftovers the next day.

My favorite quote

I don't really have a favorite quote. I do have a number throughout the years that have remained close to my heart, however.

As a young child, I had a lot of nightmares. My dad used to tell me the verse 2 Timothy 1:7 and at some point, made up a tune to go with it. I would sing myself to sleep with the following:

"God has not given us a spirit of fear but of love, power, and a sound mind."

During the worst of my time having medical troubles, I came across a quote that really struck me as being perfect for me in that time. I love the rain and always have. I have never been sad when it's raining but rather, light up because it's a perfect day to read by the fire. So when I read the following, I felt like it explained my situation perfectly.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain." - Vivian Greene

And of course, if you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you'll know that I wear a bracelet with the words "Gods Got This" on my left wrist. You can get one for yourself as well. I will tell you the story about the bracelet in a few days' time. But though the words aren't really a quote so to speak, they do really mean a lot to me.

A favorite childhood book

Now how on earth do you expect me to choose a favorite childhood book! I read a lot as a child. I don't even know when I began to read but I do know that there was a lot that I read so let me just tell you a little bit about some of the books that stand out. In New Zealand, there is a series called Hannah's Angels. I don't remember much about them except that the main character was named Hannah and I liked that. I read a lot of Geronimo Stilton once I came to the US. At that point, I was beyond the reading level of Geronimo Stilton but Mum was protective of us and there was a lot I wasn't allowed to read (Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, etc.) so I was very limited. Eventually, in middle school, I did read Percy Jackson and was hooked. It wasn't until I read The Lunar Chronicles in 2015 that I had a new favorite series. Somewhere in there I also read Harry Potter and loved it but that was a more difficult series to read. I began to read the series in the bathroom (don't worry I wasn't on the toilet) behind my mother's back. It got awkward when my mother told my sister that we could read the series while I was halfway through the 5th book. I couldn't exactly just suddenly start reading the fifth book in public. What would she think?

If I really had to choose a favorite, I would say it was the old book my grandmother (on my mother's side) has. The book is full of stories she told us as kids. While the book is falling apart, it has lasted for at least a few generations (she has recently had her first great-grandchild). We would climb onto her lap (or sit next to her when we were too big) and she would let us choose our favorite story. Then she would carefully flip there and read it aloud.

My most proud moment

It is more a collection of moments: publishing my first book. In December of 2020, I published my poetry book, Imagine This: From Pain to Possibility. I had been dreaming of publishing books for so long. I had published other poems in other anthologies. I had written other books. And finally, I had realized it was stupid not to be writing and publishing a poetry anthology. So I did. Pressing the button to publish the book was a huge moment in my life. Seeing people buy my book was the next. Recently, my sister heard of someone (a friend of a friend) who had purchased and enjoyed my book and she lives at Cornell. Another reader who knew my dad approached me at the family's going away party and raved about my book, telling me he and his wife loved it so much, they gave it away and purchased a second copy. I couldn't believe it. My book is out there! I'm so proud! I can't wait to follow it with the next one.

10 of my favorite songs

I've had a lot of favorite songs over the years. I don't tend to have "10 favorite songs." I tend to have 1-3 favorite songs (or songs I'm enjoying in the moment) and/or 30+ favorite songs that I enjoy listening to. So instead of listing "10 favorite songs," you are in for a real treat today. I am listing 10 songs that have played a role in my time in Redding (since I am writing in the Redding to Pennsylvania transition). I'm even including my Redding playlist on Spotify for your listening pleasure.

  1. Fight Song (Rachel Platten)

  2. This song was my mantra even before I had medical problems. I struggled with not feeling loved and not feeling like I had anyone to speak to. I felt like I wasn't strong like I couldn't say anything, and like I wasn't heard. This song made me feel heard for a long time. When I got sick, singing it made me feel strong. It remained on my playlists throughout high school.

  3. Sing to the King (Worship Together)

  4. This was a song sung in one of the earliest musicals I was a part of at Bethel Christian School. It means a lot to me because I first heard it so long ago and couldn't remember it until about two or so years ago. It brought tears to my eyes when I heard it again. Memories are important to me.

  5. Echo Holy (Red Rocks Worship)

  6. I first heard this worship song at Elevate camp as a junior high counselor last summer. I didn't know where I was going after the summer but I was beginning to think I wasn't going to do youth ministry. That summer, God was working in my heart, making me realize I needed to go after the dreams he had given me. A lot of the work he did happened at camp and every time this song came on I was brought to the point of tears. Not because of the words but because he was doing something in me.

  7. So Will I (South Side Worship)

  8. I can picture the first time I heard this song. It was on the steps of University Preparatory School, waiting to be picked up. I stood in the shelter of the columns and listened to it play. I was to be singing it on the worship team the next night. I loved the song and I did sing it the next night. That time we sang it was the most beautiful I have ever heard the song sung and I remember it every time I hear the song.

  9. Bad Guy (Vitamin Quartet)

  10. You may know this song is the soundtrack I played for most of the fight scenes in The Criminal. When I wrote the book, this song played over and over and over. Particularly during the fight scenes but even during some of the other scenes, I played Bad Guy on repeat. I hear it occasionally still and every time I do, I think of Harmony and Chase.

  11. Found/Tonight (Ben Platt, Lin-Manuel Miranda)

  12. I went through a phase in high school of listening to musicals (mostly because that's what my friends were doing). Don't get me wrong, I do like musicals but that's not generally what I listen to unless I want to sing at the top of my lungs or unless the musical in question is His Story. At one point in my time in Redding, though, I loved Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton. Found/Tonight is the most stunning blend of the two that made me cry the first time I heard it a number of years ago simply because the music (and blend of voices, lyrics, and harmonies) is stunning.

  13. Home (Susan Egan)

  14. For a while, I took voice lessons with Julie Cushman. She helped me to grow what people used to tell me was a good voice into a better-trained voice. This was one of the songs that she used to do it. I have always considered Belle to be one of the Princesses I relate to most but I actually have the range of Princess Belle as well!

  15. Part of Your World (Jodi Benson, Disney)

  16. The thing I remember most about this song is that I sang it in front of 400 people at Elevate Camp. It is still one of my favorite songs and one of my favorites to sing.

  17. Voice of Truth (Casting Crowns)

  18. This is another that was sung in a musical at Bethel Christian School. My favorite musical, in fact: Haven's Finest in which I played a superhero named Animatrix who brought inanimate objects to life and controlled them. I love this song and know portions of it in Spanish as well.

  19. Fierce (Chris Quilala)

  20. This is one of my favorite songs for a singular reason. It was one of the songs that were sung during worship the first night that I visited the youth group at Pathway Senior High. From that night derived all the friendships I currently have and most of the life experiences I have enjoyed in Redding since then.

My favorite physical features

What are you supposed to say for this? I like my hair. It usually is wavy and it holds curls well. My eyes are hazel which I like and get compliments on.

5 of my favorite blog posts

My favorite posts tend to be the ones that differ from the norm. Those are posts with more than one book review, posts about my life (moving posts, dog posts, tea garden posts), or DIY posts. I love any post that gets more than 20 views since, commonly my blog gets 3-5 views per post. The following five were my favorites to write and were enjoyed by viewers. The runners-up were also great posts. I encourage you to check them out if you haven't already.

  1. We're Moving: read all about the Mason family's move to Pennsylvania

  2. My Calling: read about my calling to open a bookstore and publish novels

  3. How to Make a Fairytale-Worthy Cloak: always dreamed of having your own fairytale cloak? Now you can with this DIY!

  4. 100 Books I'd Recommend: need a recommendation for a good book. Check out this list of 100 good books.

  5. How to Design an Apartment: need some help with interior design? I'm here to lend a hand. And on a budget!

Runners Up:

The 31-Made-7-Day Blog Post Challenge Schedule:

Day One: Intro to the Challenge

  • An introduction to the thirty-one-day challenge

  • 20 fun-facts about me

Day Two: All About Me

  • My earliest childhood memory

  • An old photo of me

  • 3 personality traits I am proud to have

  • My deepest fears

  • My piercings/tattoos

  • My first celeb crush

  • My guilty pleasure

  • A weird quirk I have

Day Three: My Favorites

  • 10 of my favorite foods

  • My favorite comfort food

  • My favorite quote

  • A favorite childhood book

  • My most proud moment

  • 10 of my favorite songs

  • My favorite physical features

  • 5 of my favorite blog posts

Day Four: Daily Life

  • What's in my handbag?

  • A timeline of my average day

  • My worst habits

  • My pet peeves

Day Five: My Past (part 1)

  • Something I miss

  • The last time I cried

  • Something that always makes me feel better

  • A difficult time in my life

Day Six: A Difficult Time in my Life (part 2)

Day Seven: The Future

  • What would I do if I won the lottery?

  • My dream job

  • Where do I want to be in 10 years?

  • My top bucket list items

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