Thursday, September 22, 2016

After All These Years I Finally Know My Patronus

I woke up this morning to my Facebook wall going crazy over the new patronus quiz on Pottermore.  It's the test that many of us have been waiting and asking for since Pottermore's early beginning.  I was honestly bummed when a patronus quiz wasn't offered during The Prisoner of Azkaban and Order of the Phoenix chapters, before the new revamp that got rid of the book/chapter format.  (I do miss those old scenes.)

Being the imaginative nerdy creature I am, ever since book 3, aka Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, I've wondered what my patronus might be.  (A patronus being a difficult charm that wards off joy sucking dementors, a burst of light from a wand that takes the shape of an animal.  Each patronus is unique to the witch/wizard and is difficult to predict.  The producer of a patronus cannot choose the patronus shape).

So I've wondered about my hypothetical patronus, at one time wanting a red fox,wild mustang, or red panda.  More recently wanting a lynx.

Never wanting a mouse or crow.

There's been hints from J.K. Rowling and Pottermore about a patronus quiz, but no release date.  So upon waking this morning I was surprised to see the quiz was finally available, and I jumped out of bed to immediately take it.

The quiz wasn't what I was expecting.  It's better, but way too short, honestly.  3D graphics whirling you around a white forest of trees, my cursor making fun magical sounds as random words pop up asking me to choose which word I connect to as the patronus spell gradually forms.

And when mine finally formed I got a  . . . Grey Squirrel!

Heh, I wasn't expecting that at all, and had a good laugh over it.

Grey Squirrel . . .

The Hogwarts Running club is all abuzz about the quiz and they've been posting their results: Mastiff, Mole, Tortoiseshell Cat, White Stallion, Dolphin, Buffalo, Sparrowhawk, Brown Bear, Nebelung Cat, Badger, Ginger cat, Irish Wolfhound, St. Bernard, Black Mare, Weasel, Little Owl, Ocicat, Hedgehog, Minx Cat, Dun Mare, Sparrow Hawk, Wood Mouse, Basset Hound, Salmon, Piebald Mare, Wild rabbit, Osprey, Ibizan Hound, Grey Squirrel, Wild Boar, Black Stallion, Doe, Unicorn, West Highland Terrier, Chow Dog, Buzzard, Eagle, Ragdoll Cat, Mink, Dapple Grey Mare, Field Mouse, Scops Owl, Orca, Wildcat, Marten, Borzoi, Dragonfly, West Highland Terrier, Siberian Cat, Thestral, Goshawk, Bay Mare, Kingfisher, Marsh Harrier, Stoat, Capuchin Monkey, Orangutan, Dapple Grey Stallion, Red Squirrel, Greyhound, Hummingbird, Polecat, Tonkinese Cat, Swift, Grass Snake, Brown Hare, Black Bear, Fox, Goshawk, Bay Mare, Sparrowhawk, Otter, Bloodhound, Robin, Black Swan, Scops Owl, Dragon, Wolf, Stag, Beagle, Stoat, Vole, Tiger . . . may have repeated some animals by accident.  So these are the animals I've seen people get.

The reactions have been varied with some people being super excited vs. those who are simply 'meh': "I'm allergic to cats" "I don't like horses" "Got chased by a squirrel as a kid" "My pride has been damaged so I'm going to go hide in a corner" etc.

I'm just going to be amused.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Trusting God When We Can't See

"We cannot always see the end from the beginning.
We trust in the Lord and wait upon Him, knowing that in His own time and His own way, He will bring about his miracles."

~ Neil L. Anderson

I have a hard time trusting in God's timing.  In trials there are lessons.  In trials there are things the Lord wishes for us to grow and learn.  It seems one of the traits God is granting me is patience.  Patience with his timing.  Patience in learning to read.  Patience in taking seven years to get a four year degree.  And patience in starting a family.  I can't see the end from the beginning, but I still put trust in God, even though I've messed up on my path in life.

Sometimes I feel God gives us miracles to let us know he's still with us and watching.

On Twitter I typed out an experience I had ten days ago:

September 8th, 2016, "Just now while on the way to the theater to see a play with my Mom, we lingered a couple second at an intersection when the light turned green.  All of a sudden a car sped through the red light, oblivious.  My Mom and I were shocked.  The cars on the other side of the intersection lingered as well.  At the next intersection a car pulled next to us at the red light, window down, and a nice woman told us that the spirit told her to tell us, "The Lord is protecting you."  I'll be honest, I was disappointed for not winning anything at the photography competition.  Been bummed since I got home.  How selfish and silly.  I need to focus on what's important.  I need to count my many blessings."

What my Mom later told me was that right before approaching the first intersection she envisioned in her mind a car accident.  The driver side getting hit and she dying immediately, the car spinning, getting hurt, and surviving.  This is incredibly strange for my Mom to imagine such a thing.  But she saw it, and it didn't trouble her, she felt peace in it.  And when we stopped at the intersection waiting for the light to turn, both of us didn't do or say anything when it turned green.  We just looked at the green light, peaceful, calm like, our van not moving.  (And that's strange for me because I spent the whole day back and forth from Salt Lake City saying, "the light's green. the light's green. the light's green."  But this time I just starred.

Then suddenly, out of nowhere, a car sped through the intersection on her red light, left to right.  We couldn't see her because the rode had three lanes in each direction, and there were already several cars stopped in the two lanes close to us, so she was completely blocked from view, driving quite fast.  If she had hit us it would have been our driver side.  My Mom would have taken the blow.

When she started driving and reached the next intersection we went into the left turn lane, waiting at a red light when a van pulled up to our right, rolling her window down to talk.  I can't remember everything she said, but she was in complete shock and awe with what she just witness, with an overflowing feeling that we were being kept safe.  She then said, "The Lord is protecting you, and he wanted me to tell you that."  She wanted to talk more but the play we were going to started in 13 minutes, and we were supposed to be in our seats ten till the play's start.

I do wonder what else she wanted to say.

I took the experience differently than my Mom.  For me it was a reminder to focus on what's important and to remember that God is mindful of us.  My Mom was stressing about an upcoming trip, praying, more like pleading, to the Lord to keep her safe.

An incredible blessing.

Proverbs 3: 5-6 states: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

I repeat that over and over in my mind sometimes, especially when I'm struggling and feeling lost.  Trust in the Lord.  And I do believe, when we trust in him, he will direct our paths.

But always remember, as Joyce Meyer said, "God can't drive a parked car."

Another thing I'm constantly reminding myself.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

How Much Money Each Charity Makes On the Charity Miles App

Thanks to the Hogwarts Running Club I started using Charity Miles, an app that you can download and use on Androids and iOS.  It encourages me to exercise while earning money for charity, thanks to corporate sponsors.  (And earning Gryffindor house points with team #hrcgryffinroar16 simply a bonus).

The site use to state that every running/walking mile was worth $0.25, so 4 miles was a dollar.  The site no longer states this.  Once upon a time the Charity Miles app, CM for sort, would state how much you earned for your chosen charity after your race/run/walk, immediately updating how much that charity earned. The app no longer does this as well, and instead updates at the end of each day the cumulative total earned through combined users.  All we see is how many miles we've walked/ran that day with no idea how much money we actually helped earn towards our charity of choice.

Money for each charity is still being earned, but I was curious how much money each charity was earning, as some charities have only a few thousand dollars earned while others a couple hundred thousand.  This disparity comes from a variety of reasons: charity popularity, where a charity is listed on the charity list, and how long the charity has been on the app, as new charities are added every so often.

Below is a list of the charities on Charity Miles.  The order corresponds to the order found on the Android app, instead of alphabetical.  The first gross is the amount of money earned on September 4 around 9:30 PM MST, 2016.  The second gross is the amount earned on September 14 around 3:00 PM MST.  I then divided the increase amount by 10 to get the daily average.

(The links take you to the main website for each charity if you wish to learn more).

1. National Park Foundation. $14,097. Ten Days Later = $15,028 ($931 increase)($93.10 Daily Average).

2. ALS Association. $1,912. Ten Days Later $2,428. ($516 increase) ($51.60 Daily Average).

3. Habitat For Humanity. $61,142. Ten Days Later $61,639. ($497 increase) ($49.70 Daily Average).

4. American Diabetes Association. $2,343. Ten Days Later $2,343 ($0 increase) ($0 Daily Ave.) (Back in April their total was also $2,343.  No increase in 5 months?  Really!!??  This can't be right.)

5. Charity: Water. $22,902. Ten Days Later $23,577. ($675 increase) ($67.50 Daily Average).

6. ASPCA. $164,029. Ten Days Later $165,392. ($1,363 increase) ($136.3 Daily Average).

7. Stand Up To Cancer. $226,599. Ten Days Later $228,009 ($1,410 increase) ($141 Daily Average).

8. National Multiple Sclerosis Society. $2,519. Ten Days Later $2,911. ($392 increase) ($29.2 Daily Average).

9. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. $107,565. Ten Days Later $108,047. ($482 increase) ($48.2 Daily Average).

10. Save the Children. $16,448. Ten Days Later $16,756. ($308 increase) ($30.8 Daily Average).

11. Feeding America. $164,922. Ten Days Later $165,798. ($876 Increase) ($87.60 Daily Average).

12. World Wildlife Fund. $105,110. Ten Days Later $105,528. ($418 Increase) ($41.80 Daily Average).

13. Shot@Life. $18,057. Ten Days Later $18,181. ($124 Increase) ($12.40 Daily Average).

14. The Michael J. Fox Foundation. $99,393. Ten Days Later $99,788. ($395 Increase) ($39.50 Daily Average).

15. Alzheimer's Association. $95,133. Ten Days Later $95,914. ($781 Increase) ($78.10 Daily Average).

16. (RED). $26,320. Ten Days Later $26,414. ($94 Increase) ($9.40 Daily Average).

17. Operation Smile. $19,378. Ten Days Later $19,587. ($209 Increase) ($20.90 Daily Average).

18. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. $53,105. Ten Days Later $53,970. ($865 Increase) ($86.50 Daily Average).

19. Sight For Kids. $1,934. Ten Days Later $2,037. ($103 Increase) ($10.30 Daily Average).

20. Autism Speaks. $136,729. Ten Days Later $137,105. ($376 Increase) ($37.60 Daily Average).

21. Team Red, While & Blue. $144,873. Ten Days Later $145,651. ($778 Increase) ($77.80 Daily Average).

22. Every Mother Counts. $46,755. Ten Days Later $46,924. ($169 Increase) ($16.90 Daily Average).

23. The Partnership For A Healthier America. $22,326. Ten Days Later $22,377 ($51 Increase) ($5.10 Daily Average).

24. Girls On The Run. $44,288. Ten Days Later $44,526. ($238 Increase) ($23.80 Daily Average).

25. DoSomething.Org. $7,633. Ten Days Later $7,659. ($26 Increase) ($2.60 Daily Average).

26. Wounded Warrior Project. $284,783. Ten Days Later $285,347. ($564 Increase) ($56.40 Daily Average).

27. The Nature Conservancy. $52, 678. Ten Days Later $52,848. ($170 Increase) ($17 Daily Average).

28. The World Food Programme. $90,065. 10 Days Later $90,174 ($109 Increase) ($10.90 Daily Average).

29. Pencils of Promise. $29,670. Ten Days Later $29,774. ($104 Increase) ($10.40 Daily Average).

30. Special Olympics. $31,843. Ten Days Later $31,995. ($152 Increase) ($15.2 Daily Average).

31. Girl Up. $38,807. Ten Days Later $38,914. ($107 Increase) ($10.70 Daily Average).

32. Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. $36,302. Ten Days Later $36,491. ($189 Increase) ($18.90 Daily Average).

33. Team For Kids. $7,286. Ten Days Later $7,317. ($31 Increase) ($3.10 Daily Average).

34. She's The First. $21,894. Ten Days Later $22,052. ($158 Increase) ($15.80 Daily Average).

35. Soles4Souls. $17,728. Ten Days Later $17,766. ($38 Increase) ($3.8 Daily Average).

36. Nothing But Nets. $13,526. Ten Days Later $13,588. ($62 Increase) ($6.20 Daily Average).

37. Back On My Feet. $23,912. Ten Days Later $24,027. ($115 Increase) ($11.50 Daily Average).

38. Achilles International. $9,785. Ten Days Later $9,828. ($43 Increase) ($4.30 Daily Average).

39. The Ironman Foundation. $9,553. Ten Days Later $9,597 ($44 Increase) ($4.40 Daily Average).

40. Vision Spring. $5,766. Ten Days Later $5,805. ($39 Increase) ($3.90 Daily Average).

Final thoughts.

First, what the freak is up with American Diabetes Association!!!!????  I'm walking 6 miles for them tomorrow to see if they go up a dollar, because staying the same for four months is ridiculous.

Second, it's obvious that those on the top of the list do better than those on the bottom.

Third, I noticed--because I took screen shots--that in the last 10 days Charity Miles mixed up the order of the top 10 charities, but the bottom 30 charities stayed in the SAME EXACT ORDER.

And Fourth, Vision Spring is always at the bottom, and has been since I started using Charity Miles.

Overall the numbers are interesting.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Remembering For Those Who Cannot

9-11 will always be a somber day for me.

A week or so ago I found the picture below being passed around on Facebook.  I don't know who to credit it with, but the realization of the message hit me pretty hard.

"Did you know? 2016 marks the first year high school freshman will learn about 9-11 as a historical event they were not alive for."

How crazy is that!!??  I did the math in my head and realized it was true.

When 9-11 happened, a moment I still remember clearly, watching in real time as the second plane hit the tower, I was struck with horror and emotion.  Later that day I wondered what those who lived during Pearl Harbor and the Second World War felt.  How do they look at my generation?  I've been to many Veteran events.  I even went to a couple Veteran memorial services while visiting France last April/May.  Myself honoring an event I've only read about and watched footage for, while those men standing in uniform were honoring an event they lived through.

Now I have a taste of what those men must have felt.  I will never understand the horrors of war those Veterans experienced, but I honor their bravery just the same.

And now, remembering 9-11, I'm realizing how precious my memories are.  I must remember for those who were not born at that time.  For those who who can't remember because they were too young.  I'm remembering for my nieces and nephew.  Remembering because if you forget the past repeats.  Remembering because we need to not forget how far we've come, and the place we are now, positive or negative.

Always remember.

And now, always remember for those who cannot.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

In Whispered Silence, an original poem

In whispered Silence,
in Silence wake.
Note the empty streets that light forsakes.

If I walk will Silence remain?
Or will Silence consume my empty frame?

Time chimes on in quiet song,
with hollowed beats, insecure.

Waiting for breath.
Waiting for thought.

A flutter.
A scatter.
Echos refraction.
A stumble.
A bumble.
Slow introspection.
Walking slowly through Silence refrain.
Streets empty, yet here I remain.
A sobering note in my hand.

Ink faded.
Words melting.
 Sentiments jaded.
Damp paper tears quickly,
dropped to the ground.

When love falls it makes no sound.
Silence completely consumes.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Light Between Oceans, mini movie review

Rating: 3.25 out of 5 stars

The emotions!

All the emotions!!

The Light Between Oceans, based on the book by M. L. Stedman, takes place after the plights of the first World War, those surviving scarred by memories and survival.  Tom Sherbourne, played by Michael Fassbender, is stationed at a lighthouse, a survivor of the war, trapping himself by chosen isolation.  Soon he marries Isabel Graysmark, played by Alicia Vikander, and in their isolation they find joy, peace, and happiness, but all their true trials begin when they wish to start a family and later discover a baby washed ashore in a little boat.

The whole movie is a set of emotional waves, one wave following the next, tragedy, joy, tears, and so forth.  The whole theater was in tears, literally.  I don't think I once heard a sniffle break, all around me in surround sound.  We were all a mess of sorts.  I didn't go into full on cry mode, but the movie affected me just the same, and it continued to affect me even after, honestly leaving me a little cold.  Now that isn't to say that the movie has a bad ending, but its an ending that affects you, and the whole theater was affected.

My family, as habit, always stay to the end of the movie credits out of respect for the film, even if there isn't an end scene.  And we're usually the only ones left in the theater when the light come back on.  I saw The Light Between Oceans with my Mom, and when the theater lights came back on there were people still sitting, starring at the screen.

That's not to say this is a bad movie as there are many elements that make it good.  The acting by Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, and Rachel Weisz is absolutely superb.  The cinematography beautiful.  And I love the ebb and flow of the movie's pace.  Oh, and the customs and time period.

But this is a movie that reflects more on the cause and effect of real life.  As Americans we kind of expect everything in movies to end all happy and joyous, tied up in a pretty little bow.  Well, I at times really enjoy a good happy ending.  But real life isn't like that.  

I'm not quite sure if I'm happy having seen The Light Between Oceans.  I can see some people really enjoying it, perhaps, but I don't care for the melancholy feeling that stayed with me.

Go if you're in the mood for a sob-fest.

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for thematic material and some sexual content.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Don't Forget Pluto!

I know these stamps came out a while ago, but it wasn't until recently that I finally got my hands on them.  When the announcement for the "Views of Our Planets" came out, it was announced that Pluto was going to be included.  I was glad Pluto wasn't forgotten!  For me Pluto will always be the 9th planet.

But as I was looking through the stamp binder at the Post Office, I couldn't find Pluto on the sheet of 16 stamps.  It wasn't until I got to the end of the binder when a little page of 4 stamps, two Pluto and two of a satellite, almost fell out.

There Pluto was!

All by its lonesome.

Categorized in the "explored" category, emphasis on its downgrade:

Space rock!

Pluto is a beautiful, perfect sphere of space rock.

Well, on the bright side he wasn't forgotten.

And Pluto, to me you will always be more than a piece of space rock.

Other stamps I picked up.

I love the Delicate Arch and time-lapsed stars stamp.

And Shirley Temple!  A while back I picked up a set of her movies, not sure if it's the complete set, but I need to show them to the Nieces, in black and white!  I need to give them a history of film.  And somewhere I have the complete Fred Astaire and Ginger Roger movies.  They need to see those too!  And Singing in the Rain.  They need to see Singing in the Rain.  Moses Supposes :0)