Feb 22, 2017

Debate-why do I do it?

It's ridiculous that I have so much to say and share and yet I don't know what to sit down and blog about. Then something hits me, and I have to write it all before I forget.

My personality type (infp-introverted intuitive feeling perceiving) does not like conflict. I can attest to this being true. I would rather avoid arguments, yelling, and violence at all cost than experience or inflict it on others. Many of you know I'm part of a speech and debate league so you might be wondering, how I can enjoy and participate in debates. Isn't the whole point arguing?

First a clarification, formal forensic debate is very different from arguing. What we tend to consider "arguing/arguments" usually aren't real arguments, it's bickering. Formal arguments are logical, structured, easy to follow, and usually don't involve raising your voice.
Second, formal debate isn't spurned by anger. You speak with a clear mind rather than say something illogical or hurtful in the emotion of the moment. And whether you may or may not be emotionally invested in your argument, you can still speak with passion.
Thirdly, and most importantly, I value truth over relativity and lies. I would contend the truth rather than sit back and let the falsity roll free. That is why I love debating and why I will argue with people. Not argue in a bickering way, but argue with logic and integrity. I don't argue to win or triumph over another, no. I argue for a much more important reason, I argue that truth may be upheld and will not be beaten down by lies and inconsistency. I argue that others may begin to see that truth and how it stands firm. I may dislike conflict, but I dislike truth being shot and trampled without any support for crazy claims even more. And upholding truth is more important than being peace-loving.

1. How can anyone be peace-loving or achieve peace, if everyone is at war with each other because of their different values and different interpretations of peace and truth?
2. There are consequences for not upholding truth. Earthly consequences and eternal consequences. I fear the consequences more than I fear going outside my comfort zone.

Ultimately, this is why I debate, that I may defend truth whenever it comes into question.

"But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." 1 Peter 3:14-16

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should." Ephesians 6:10-20

Jan 8, 2017


   I was too distracted and exhausted to make new resolutions for the new year. Even though resolutions are overdone and quite frankly, pretty ridiculous most of the time, there's nothing bad about making goals (even if you don't always keep them).

   Now that I have some time, here are my goals for the new year.

1. Stay in the Word - read the Bible more. Not just read, but take notes and study the entire passage.
2. Go to bed at a reasonable hour each school night - no more late night history reading.
3. Stay off the screens - Even though I take classes online, read articles for debate online, and exchange important information with coaches, pastor, and team mates online, it's time to spend more time outside and take advantage of the vitamin D.
4. Read more books - I know what some of you are thinking, "Wini? Read more books? Wut?" When I was younger, I was able to eat books for lunch. As I get older, I realize that although I read more than the average person my age, I read less and less. My booklist has only grown. It needs to shrink.
5. Write once a week - I'd like to do it more than once a week, but I know I won't accomplish that. So I'm starting with a small goal. Sit down, work on my stories, actually get some words down, move forward.
6. Blog twice a month - I love this blog. I like how it's quiet and waits for me and let's me sort my thoughts. It's nice to see that people can relate and appreciate my brain sometimes too. I want to share more with those who don't know me well, and so that those who do can know me better.

   That's all I have that I feel like sharing out loud. I don't want to put lots of small strenuous things on here and overly burden myself. Or make things seem like they just need to get checked off. It's good to evaluate your year and what your priorities should be though.

Dec 31, 2016


     2016 has been a challenging and joy-filled learning experience. I'm still practicing and mastering new habits and I have a long way to go. Although I'm still a loud-mouth and procrastinator, this year (particularly, this semester) has been quieter and more productive than my previous years in high school. Realizing that I connect dots better while thinking out loud to my mother has grown a brand new understanding of how my brain works and why I do things the way I do them. Studying scripture and prayer has brought me through several trials and I'm so thankful for the work the Lord is accomplishing.

     Here is a taste of my favorite opportunities and moments from this year.

A Louisianan Holiday! Oh my, what fun I had experiencing my first major solo trip to be with dear friends. Getting to celebrate my birthday, the new year, and Jess's birthday last December and into January was an exciting start to 2016! I will never forget that special trip.

Reading so many great books in the last half of school early this year. 1984, The Great Gatsby, Uncle Tom's Cabin, A Tale of Two Cities, and How Should We Then Live? to name but a few.

Something that may seem small to others was a peaceful day on Concordia University Campus, sitting on the huge hill steps with my friend Cheryl. The grass was green, the sun was bright, it was quiet, and the day after Cheryl's birthday. We sat there and talked about writing. We shared our worlds with each other. It was a special moment.

Qualifying for the National Invitational Tournament Of Champions in Team Policy with my debate partner, Thomas. I cannot tell you how thrilled we were. The hard work paid off.

Qualifying for NITOC again. In Parliamentary debate. With Cheryl. HOW? I don't know how.

Going to Nitoc in MI. Speaking with and alongside some of my best friends. My favorite debate memory from Nitoc 2016 will always be our last TP round. We hit Ira Hoel and Abigail Chen, an amazing and humble team. Mr. Trefethan was our judge. The clash, the words that flew into the air, they were crisp, and strong. I felt like live sparks were flying around us. They were great debaters. I'll never forget that round. I was sweating afterward, yet had chills. I never felt that way before. I'll never forget it.

From NITOC we drove on to my school's end of the year reunion party which was another highlight.  I met so many classmates and connected with kindred spirits-we had tremendous fun!

In July we found a beautiful Belgian Shepard on the side of the road. He was a grown pup, hungry, and covered in ticks. We kept him contained and got him de-ticked, eventually. My brother named him Thor and he was a bundle of love. After having him all summer and for a short time into the school year, he was hit by a car in front of our house. We loved him to pieces and took care of him. He had a good life here.

Later in the summer, I had a camp at my house. Carter won the award for farthest traveled(what a privilege for us that she could make it). She was in the states already, visiting family, but she lives all the way in Qatar. Next we had the Dunlaps from LA staying with us, and Christy from down south, and Cheryl and her sisters from up north. Being able to spend time with my far flung friends was a super special occasion. Having a mud fight, tubing down a canal, hiking, and talking late into the night, were just a few of the lovely adventures we had together.

Soon after, I headed to Christy's for our annual summer "sister" exchange. My turn to spend a week in the city. It was a restful time to recoup after the amazing and busy summer events. Of course we went thrifting and I bought too many books. We also spent an afternoon bumming the beach. Until the beach bummed me with a sunburn that seems to be personal hatred between me and southern CA sun. We took care of adorable fluffy cats and (I died) jogged around the super gigantic city park only six times (later Christy ran in a marathon). We enjoyed Rita's.  Quality time with my friend Christy refreshes my soul. Always and forever, Christy summers will be a favorite memory.

Two twin lovelies got to ride the train down to my house and spend a few days enjoying the fields and watching cows give birth.  We danced to music, tried on funny faces, and spent another afternoon on the "river" where we discovered a vole? mouse? an adorable furry creature who lived on the bank. I love these girls. Nothing is so great as finding people who don't mind your quirkiness.

To top off the summer, I spent two days up north again, with the other lovelies, the "sisters". We gazed in awe at crazy technology and tried not to squeal during the movie on National Parks in the Imax theater. Zoffe, Cheryl's sister, had a birthday so we rode china horses and flew on giant swings the next day. Then to House of Fruit for dinner (and found the second adorable mouse of the summer, scurrying in and out of a crack in the cement outside the building).
                                                                      a picture

I ordered all my books for school somewhere early in the midst of this, and they kept arriving throughout so I couldn't help but grow more and more excited because WE ARE READING THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, THE ILIAD, AND THE CITY OF GOD. What could be better than that?

The school year started, and debate and speech along with it. Both my partner and I are extremely busy with classes and homework, so how we got our case together and evidence is beyond me. I was incredibly thankful to be partnered with Yzzi. He is kind, inclusive, smart, and though it's probably to our chagrin that we both get distracted easily, we listen to each other and we are both in this to learn. We received a checkmark at our second debate tournament. This pleases me but we have lots of work to do.  We're really excited, but not stressing about NITOC as NITOC isn't the goal. Learning and growth is the goal.

Half of my Great Conversations class and Dostoevsky Literature class books have been read. So far my top picks for each class: The Iliad and Notes from the House of the Dead. The Iliad is (contrary to popular belief, not about the Trojan War at all) about the wrath of Achilleus (Achilles), how he was avenged, and how common grace was displayed. Notes from the House of the Dead is about Feodor Dostoevsky's five years in a Labor Camp in Omsk, Siberia. Because he was an aristocrat (although a very poor, lower class aristocrat) the majority of the prisoners (who were serfs) didn't accept him into their "brotherhood of prisoners". This book dives deep into human nature, differing personalities, the inherent value of human beings, and a different perspective on prison. It is a book that everyone should read. GO READ THEM.

In late October we found a precious family of mini pincer & Chihuahua mix dogs.  They were completely black/dark brown, a father and three pups (the mom had been hit). We took them in and they have become the Coco Pup Family. The two male pups died from Parvo, but Cecily Coco and Coco Papa remain, and absolutely love meeting visitors.  Although we are partial to big dogs, the Coco Family have found a place in our hearts.
This just about brings us up to speed. There are so many other memorable, special, and noteworthy occasions that happened this year, but these are the ones that really stand out to me.

One final account. This one is for all you city slickers... just kidding, we weren't expecting this either.

     On Wednesday, the 21st, a wild ranch steer showed up like a ghost out of the fog on our farm. He had a pretty recent brand, thus after some calls that didn't prove fruitful my dad called the branding inspector's office to inquire. No one was very familiar with the brand, but they put the word out that a cow was found and eventually a cowboy came calling.  A few of his animals had escaped through a cut down fence(crime scene) in the foothills and wandered off. After identifying the livestock as his via photos, cowboy came down the hill on Monday to pick up his unruly beast. This wild steer (who had recently been immigrated from Idaho) had wandered over a hill, across a canal, crossed two major highways, and traveled five miles due west to be with the gals on our farm. To boot, he did this on one of the foggiest nights we've had this winter, without causing an accident or becoming hamburger. I do not think this man was prepared to wrangle a steer on a dairy farm. It is the wet season, thus a whole lot of manure mud going on. It took my father, uncle, brother, the cowboy, Sergio, Juan, and even my mom and I(and alot of time and patience) to lock this steer in an alley and corner him into the trailer. This sounds simple. It wasn't. He got loose multiple times, would shove up in between the cows locked in their stanchions, trying to hide from his pursuers, slid in the mud (and spattered every one of us), kicking at anyone behind him, glaring and backing away from (or practically running over) anyone who was foolish enough to get in front of him. Did I mention he was about half the size of our gentle Holsteins? He was bright red with long, wooly hair, and as soon as we got him into the trailer he let us know just how much he appreciated us ruining his good time with the girls(wouldn't stop kicking the door.) It was quite the experience.

     I have a much greater respect for cowpokes now. I don't know how they keep it all together with cows wandering over thousands of acres of hills and rocks and manage to keep them healthy, alive, and accounted for.

That was our excitement for the end of the year. I hope 2017 proves to be just as rich and full as 2016.  Full of growth in wisdom, stature and favor with God and mankind.~Luke 2:52

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  ~2 Corinthians 5:17

Dec 20, 2016

The Last Day of a Sixteen Year Old Girl

   I was born on the Summer Solstice. That's right, December 21, the Summer Solstice. Let me explain. No, I was not born in Australia, but I was born in Africa.
   On the way to the hospital, Dad got lost. That's when he convinced Mamma that, "I really think we should call her Emma Lois, not Emma Josephine. Your grandma Lois never got along with Josephine. She'll be mad." At this point, Mom didn't care what I was named, so that's what they went with.
   At 8:-- am I was born in the Windhoek Medi-Clinic, Namibia, Africa. I guess I was aptly named because Mamma says I looked like Granny Lois. Dad had to get a certificate of birth from the Namibian consulate and then run down to the embassy (the marines waved him through the gates) and get my passport.
   According to my parents, they had to keep going back to the hospital because I was too yellow. I always knew there was a reason it was my favorite color. I also had a giant stork bite on my face. Whenever I get extremely upset or cry, it still shows.
   Some of the nurses were Afrikaans ladies, and we have a home video of one tucking me in and saying, "Oooh Emzakey!"
   According to my parents, it was a special time, because they had no family there to give advice and Christmas was coming and, "You never made a peep unless you were hungry, and we were all by ourselves with a new baby and we didn't know what to do with this perfect precious bundle." There was no car seat, not a lot of clothes, and a civil war was coming very close to them (the Namibian government let Angolans come over the border and use Namibian roads to fight against the Unita-go look up the Angolan civil war).
   Three weeks after I was born, January 7, they flew to Holland and visited my Dad's Uncle John for a week. That's when they realized that it wasn't summer anymore. Aunt Gerbregt put a hot water canister in a sock to warm the bed and bought Mom a bunch of waffle, flannel clothes for me. Mamma says that she must have thought I was going to die because the only clothes I had were "Namibian threads".
   When they finally made it home (somewhere around January 13th), they were greeted by all of my mom's family and my dad's parents. A month later, their luggage arrived along with my hope chest carved from Acacia wood.
   Since then we've had a tradition of standing me before the ancient seeder in the corner of the yard and taking a picture on my birthday.

1st Birthday

   On this last day of being sixteen, I hate thinking about getting older. I don't want to grow up. I wish I could go back to being eight but with the same friends and thoughts.
   I don't think age really matters. It seems like a big deal when you're young, and you try to downplay it when you're old. But overall, it's just a number. You grow older each day. It doesn't mean you have some new revelation or epiphany, but you learn and are sanctified.
   I'm thankful for the friendships that have grown this year, and the things I've learned in class, and for my parents. I know tomorrow I won't feel any different. And maybe not the next day either. It's just another year, a number. Even though I hate the thought of growing up, I still will. A birthday and a number doesn't grow you. It's your maturity level. It's Christ working his all-sufficient grace in your life, sanctifying and purifying.
    I don't like "growing up" so I guess I can take comfort in the knowledge that I'm still in need of a lot more sanctification. x)
   Here's to the last day of sixteen.


"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
Ephesians 2:1-10

Oct 23, 2016


   Seasons change and color pallets are organized for the fashion world. Each year a color is elected as "color of the year" and each month the styles shift. However, there are some basic styles and colors that never ever grow old, for instance red.
   One time when I was seven, Mom and I went into a store and I saw a gorgeous plum colored peacoat. After a confirmation of the beauty of the desired article, my mother explained to me that I would not be getting or wearing a plum peacoat. Why? you may ask. I was wondering the same. Thus began my first lesson in fashion.

Lesson #1. Wear your best colors.

   As with all lessons and rules, there are exceptions. For instance, today I'm wearing a white shirt. My two worst colors are back and white (and plum). Two reasons why I'm wearing this shirt.
   1. The message on the front makes me extremely happy and, 2. I'm wearing a rust colored scarf with it so my face isn't blotchy and red from the whiteness.
   You can often get away with breaking L#1. by cheating like me, with a scarf, hat, or jewelry. Earlier this year I was forced to wear black and white (by a certain someone) to sing at a nursing home. She was absolutely convinced that it was fine because the blouse was not white but ivory. It was fine.
   Red is such a classy color, and next to black and white, it is the most classic color out there. I imagine an exotic dark headed woman in a mermaid cut flamingo dress, the most brilliant and classy of reds. I imagine a girl dangling her black and white oxfords from the high bar chair in her red soda fountain dress. I imagine girls and boys running in the park, in overalls and red sneakers.
  Red has always been one of my favorite colors. Green and blue and purple are all breathtaking in their own way, but red is special.

My red dream car

   The underlying inspiration for this blog post is my cherished history with red shoes. The first pair I had were some flats with sparkles and beads on the front. I wore the soles out of those things. Then I had these fancy ones. They were special because they were one of the first pairs of "grown up" heels I got. Over the years I've come to own multiple pairs of red shoes. Now I have red sneakers and they make me happy. In conclusion, I really wanted to talk about red because it's my favorite color. Hope you enjoyed. x)

She is not afraid of the snow for her household, for all her household are clothed with scarlet. -Proverbs 31:21

Feb 14, 2016

Random Cadoodles

Happy Valentine's Day or SAD (Singles Awareness Day), whichever you prefer.
For a the longest time I've wanted to write a blog post. But with speech and debate, school, and chiropractic appointments, I haven't been motivated enough to sit down and organize my thoughts into smooth solitary subjects.
But today I really felt like writing so you get random cadoodles from me instead. Woohoo!

1. Thank you Petra Grace for tagging me in your wonderful Blogger Recognition Award. :) (I promise I'll be getting that post up soon!)

2. I finished a novel. Yes, a book that I wrote, should be arriving in the mail, any day now...

3. Mom and I got two new cookbooks. One is Feast by Gwen Brown and I highly recommend it. Sugar free caramel sauce guys. CARAMEL SAUCE. Did I mention the sugar free stinkin' amazin' caramel sauce? The other is the new Trim Healthy Mama cookbook with some insanely mouth watering recipes. Honestly, eating chocolate cake for breakfast and calling it dieting; how can it get better than that?

4. Hamilton the Musical. What other words are necessary? Oh yes...

How does a ragtag volunteer army in need of a shower,
somehow defeat a global superpower?
How do we emerge victorious from the quagmire?
Leave the battlefield waving Betsy Ross' flag higher?
Yo, turns out we have a secret weapon.
An immigrant you know and love who's unafraid to step in.
He's constantly confusing, confounding the British henchmen,
Everyone give it up for America's favorite fighting Frenchman!

5. Uncle Tom's Cabin. This book. This *breathes* book... If you haven't read this book, it is imperative that you read it. As soon as possible. The depth, the appeal, the tears, the sobs, the heart wrenching facts of the past. (And I was just getting over A Tale of Two Cities and Frankenstein... yes read those too!)

6. I got some peppermint tea for Christmas from a friend (it tastes amazing and there are real peppermint pieces in it!!!). They told me where they got it, and I proceeded to order a fandom sampler of tea over at the place. If you subscribe to their site you get a $5 off coupon. Their loose leaf tea is simply scruuuumptiouss, and I have so enjoyed the wide variety of flavors that came in the sampler (it was the Avatar: the Last Airbender set). You can design your own sets, blends, etc., order in bulk, and they have sales each week. Thanks Jess for the share. ;)

7. I've begun scrapbooking. I have my dear friend, Natalie to thank for this. I had the opportunity to visit Natalie and she told me about some special trips she'd been on. She proceeded to illustrate her stories with some inspirational scrapbook pages. The light began to turn on... ^all those plane tickets, and event tickets, and postcards, and little thingymagums from travels I've collected, there's a reason why I saved them^ *facepalm*

8. Online things... yep. I'm bad at keeping up with blogging. *rolls eyes* and chats. And even though it may look like I'm online, I'm either a) not online, I just left my laptop on and my browser open while I went grocery shopping with Mom, b) doing school, c) doing research, or d) writing a book in response to your message. 

9. Future Aspirations. That moment when you get a phone call from a college asking you if you've thought about college and what you want to do with your life. *Pause* Considering colleges. If so, which one? Although I have a tight criteria, there are definitely more than five options. And getting ready for college, agggghhhhhhh, so many credits, so many community service hours for a scholarship, so many things to do. And once I do them, once I get there, then what do I do? o.o I know what I like to do. What I'm good at studying. But I'm not sure how it translates into a supporting-myself-job. 

10. Friendship is hard. And I'm not just saying this because the majority of my friends live in a different state (or country). The older I grow, the more I really appreciate my true friends. And the more I realize that a good friendship is made up of two people that have the same set of values and core beliefs. Hopefully I will be sharing some of that with you soon... *mysterious eyebrows* 

I'd really appreciate it if you would pray for me with #9. And if you have any random cadoodles or prayer requests you feel like sharing, please comment below or email me at yourmateywinifred@gmail.com (I do check my email regularly so I will get back to you =] ).

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. -Philippians 4:6

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. -Proverbs 16:3

Jan 4, 2016


Hullo Everyone! This was me on my 16th birthday. :)

And do you want to know what happened on my 16th birthday?

I got this beautiful scrapbook album from my parents. And you know what was inside the album?
A plane ticket. 


Hello! Jess here, and guess what I got for my birthday!

So yes, quite right! 
I had no idea Emma was coming. Firstly, that's awesome. Secondly, I trust no one anymore. XD Haha. It was the best sort of surprise I think.
It was!

Here we are touristing. :)

On the 27th floor (balcony) of LA State Capitol.
It had to be cold and rainy of course. =) But that's much better than scorchingly hot.

Puffness. Awesomeness.
She's such an amazing photographer. 

The GREEN here.
Have I ever mentioned my obsession with green?
You definitely came to the right spot. ;)

The Mississippi River.
The big sludgy river of sluggishness. 

So I had a bit of a massive birthday party whilst Emma was here. This is a picture of ALL me mates, or more than usual. That is,one more than usual. =)

By the Mississippi River.
We may look suspiciously calm but in all truth, Emma had vaulted down the steps as quickly as she could while her camera counted down from ten. =)

A bunch of goofs
Those faces tho!

Catty <3

A Tea Party :)
Goooooood sandwiches,and company!

Lainey and Annie <3

"I'm on top of the world!"

It has most certainly been fun, all the time, at least for me...*poke poke* I hate that she ever has to go back! Oh well. hopefully she won't stay away too long. *nudge nudge* ;)


Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice! -Philippians 4:4

But let all who take refuge in You be glad, let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, that those who love your name may exult in You. -Psalm 5:11