Book Review: From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks

BOOK INFORMATION

Publication Date: January 14, 2020

Genre: Family, Mystery, Realistic Fiction

Age Category: Middle Grade (MG)

Pages: 304

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

SYNOPSIS

Zoe Washington isn’t sure what to write. What does a girl say to the father she’s never met, hadn’t heard from until his letter arrived on her twelfth birthday, and who’s been in prison for a terrible crime?

A crime he says he never committed.

Could Marcus really be innocent? Zoe is determined to uncover the truth. Even if it means hiding his letters and her investigation from the rest of her family. Everyone else thinks Zoe’s worrying about doing a good job at her bakery internship and proving to her parents that she’s worthy of auditioning for Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge.

But with bakery confections on one part of her mind, and Marcus’s conviction weighing heavily on the other, this is one recipe Zoe doesn’t know how to balance.

MY TAKEAWAYS

I’m a huge fan of baking shows on the Food Network, and while I wouldn’t consider baking one of my main hobbies, I do like to get in the kitchen every once in a while. Therefore, I really enjoyed how the protagonist, Zoe, had an interest in baking and entering a kids baking competition as a sub-plot of the novel. But in reality, this realistic fiction story was about much more than baking.

The main conflict was when Zoe found a letter in the mail on her twelfth birthday . . . and it was from her father, Marcus, who she’s never met due to him going to prison when she was a baby. Although she’s skeptical about writing back to her father at first, she begins to build a relationship with Marcus through their back and fourth written conversations. He even gave Zoe a new R&B song for her to listen to in each of his letters, which Zoe dubbed “Little’s Tomato’s Playlist” after Marcus’ nickname for her. Cute, right?

I truly enjoyed Zoe and Marcus’ relationship throughout the entire novel, and it was really refreshing to have a book that contains representation of the many fatherless daughters (and sons) that are around the world, specifically so among members of the Black community.

Other topics like systemic racism, the Black Lives Matter movement, and other examples of racial inequality were addressed in a conversation between Zoe and her grandmother. But I admire Janae Marks’ ability to address these topics which can be hard to swallow in a tasteful yet informative way, making this book a great option for kids of all races to learn about the ins and outs of racism and its effect on people of color.

Throughout the story, Zoe had to keep her letters a secret from most of her family–except for her grandmother, whom she has a very close relationship with, and her best friend Trevor–in order to continue to get to know her father. I was rooting for Zoe throughout the entire novel to prove her father innocent of his crime. And while her actions of sneaking out to do so ended up coming back to bite her towards the end, when both her and her blended family’s secrets are revealed, the revolution of this inspiring tale was like the icing on the cake.

Overall, if you’re looking for a book that will tear your heart into pieces and glue it back together again, From the Desk of Zoe Washington is the perfect middle-grade novel for you. From the likeable characters, to the well-delivered hard topics, to the African-American author and protagonist, this heartwarming novel is an appetizing choice that most kids in their pre-teens and teens will happily relate to, while learning important lessons along the way!

Rating: ★★★★✯ (4.5/5 stars)

Recommended Age: for readers 11/12+


Although this novel happened to be a book that I stumbled upon during a trip to a book store, I’m so thankful to God that I gave it a chance! If anyone else has added this to their TBR list, or is contemplating doing so, I highly recommend that you give this novel a try, as well. But if you have already read this literature masterpiece, please tell me some of your thoughts on it–or some other book recommendations–down below!

Have a beautiful and blessed day everyone! God bless you all and I’ll catch you later! Bye, for now! ♡

Monthly Wrap-Up | September 2022

Hey, everyone! My name is Q’Zion, and welcome back to my corner of the Internet! Oof, I just realized that it’s been 5 days since I last posted. I’m so sorry, y’all: it’s been a really busy few days! But thank God I got through it with flying colors! And I’m back with my monthly wrap-up of September of 2022.

Today I’ll be discussing some of my favorite moments from this month, with some of the novels I’ve finished and films I’ve watched sprinkled in between. Okay, okay–enough of the chatter. Let’s get started!

My Life

  • My birthday was this month, and I’ve got to say that it was the best birthday ever. (But just wait until I say the same thing next year.😂) My favorite gift was probably my second ear piercing! I got my first one when I was a baby, so being able to experience getting a piercing for the first time was an experience that I’ll never forget. You can look at my 2022 birthday post here!

  • I realized that in the past few months, I’ve been reading (and actually finishing) more books! In fact, ever since I joined Book Club last year, I feel like I’ve started getting into the swing of things again when it comes to reading every month. And that’s a huge relief, because I could never imagine my life without books!
  • Goodmommy and I spent a lot of time in the kitchen, this month. As part of our fitness journey, we’ve been experimenting with flourless cookie recipes, and so far we’ve made peanut butter cookies, dark chocolate oat cookies, and fudge chocolate cookies, which were made from hot chocolate mix. While the peanut butter cookies were my favorites, they were all fun to bake and taste!

  • I’ve had at least one club meeting for each of my clubs now (which are Creative Writing, Glee, and Teen Driving Club). Even though most of the clubs are way different then what I was anticipating to join, this year, I couldn’t be happier with my choices! They make school days so much more, eventful, if you know what I mean.

Books I Read

  • Guts by Raina Telgemeier (link to review) I’ve been a fan of Raina’s books since I was eight years old, and after finally getting my hands on the triology of her Smile series, I have to say that it didn’t disapoint. From the protagonist’s quirky character to the elementary school nostalgia, this book is the perfect gift for any tween or teenager–not to mention the perfect new addition to my growing graphic novel collection.
  • Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullay Hunt (link to review) Although I love to read more than most things in this world, I’m hard to impress when it comes to giving a book five stars. But Fish in a Tree is one of the few novels to win that award. From the lessons of friendship, self-esteem, and being yourself, to the character development, iconic quotes, and heartfelt moments, this novel is officially one of my new favorites.
  • From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks – I don’t want to reveal too much about this one because my review on it isn’t out yet . . . but this was SUCH an inspiring book! Zoe reminded me so much of myself, and the pace of the story was just right to keep things moving without being hard to follow. It’s so hard to believe that this was Janae Marks’ debut novel. In fact, her second novel, A Soft Place to Land, is now on my TBR (to be read) list!

Movies That I Watched

  • An Unlikely Angel – This film was such a beautiful reminder and demonstration of how God gives us second chances. Overall, there were a lot of funny and tense moments in this movie–a bit of an emotional roller coaster for the protagonist as we follow her on her journey to learning how to be a mother. If you’re a Christian who likes sweet movies that are perfect for family movie night, I would highly recommend watching this film on Pureflix.
  • The Mystery of Her – To be honest, I was really excited to watch this movie as soon as we turned on the trailer. And for the most part I liked it . . . that’s kind of all I’ve got. This film was about a teenage girl who tries to find herself after loosing her memory in a car accident. At first, it was good, but it slowly became more and more confusing. The end was pretty open, so it kind of left it up to you to imagine how the girl’s story ended. Not my favorite kind of ending, but it was an okay movie overall.
  • Grace Unplugged – This. I absolutely LOVED this movie. The main character, Grace, is a newly-eighteen-year-old girl who dreams of becoming a pop star–like her father, who was a rock star that threw away his fame to sing at their local church. I really appreciated how this movie showed young audiences–especially Christian teens–what it means and looks like to go down the wrong path. But there were also some amazing characters in the film that helped Grace get back on track with pleasing the Lord–and finding herself in the process. This film is definitely a must-see for any Christian teen/young adult.
  • The Way Home – To be honest, I didn’t watch the first half of this movie because I was busy watching YouTube videos and playing Roblox lol, but the second half was super emotional and pretty good, overall. And considering its about a community working together to try and find a missing two-year-old I expected that from the beginning. The ending was super heartwarming, and the fact that the film is based on a true story made this movie that much sweeter.

My Favorite Posts of the Month

So, we wrote a total of 11 post this month, 12 including this wrap-up, and I’ve got to admit that although I didn’t post a lot, I’ve written some really awesome posts, this month. I think I deserve a little self-pat-on-the-back. Anyway, here are some of my favorite posts of the month.

If you’d like to check out all the posts that I’ve written, this September, please check out THIS LINK!


I hope you all enjoyed reading what I was up to for the entire month! Overall, I really enjoyed myself these past thirty days, and I pray you all have, as well. And speaking of prayer, please send your prayers for all the victims of Hurricane Ian around the world. Your kind thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

What were your favorite parts of this month? I would love to hear your responses in the comments!

Have a beautiful and blessed day, everybody! God bless you all and have a splendid weekend! ~ Q’Zion ♡

Recipe: No-Flour Peanut Butter Cookies

Hello, everyone! This is Q’Zion, and welcome to The Joys and Trials of a Christian Teen. Those of you who follow me know that about 2 months ago, I began my fitness journey with a healthier diet and frequent exercise. One of the things that I’ve incorporated into my healthier lifestyle is new, healthier recipes to satisfy my sweet and salty cravings, while maintaining the nutritious value that our bodies need. Therefore, Goodmommy and I decided to whip up a batch of flourless peanut butter cookies!

For years, this recipe has been a favorite in our household, and it’s also perfect for anyone who has a taste for a cookie (or anything sweet) that’s not going to count for half-a-day’s worth of calories. Today I will be sharing the recipe for this chewy, sweet, and salty cookie with you all! Let’s get in to it!

INGREDIENTS

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup sugar (we used a sweetener that is 100% sugar-free, but it tastes like sugar)

1 egg

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 pinch of sea salt for sprinkling

STEPS

1.) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit before you prepare your batter.

2.) Mix your peanut butter and sugar together in a large bowl. In a different bowl, combine your vanilla extract and egg; whip them lightly. Pour your wet ingredients into the large bowl and mix until all the ingredients are well-combined.

3.) Take about a teaspoon-full of batter and place it onto your baking sheet/parchment paper; roll each cookie into a round ball. Don’t forget to space your cookies about 1.5 inches to give them room to spread without touching.

4.) Use the teeth of a fork to create line indents in each cookie–once vertically, and again horizontally–to create a crosshatch pattern. Only put enough pressure to create indents; we wouldn’t want to create holes in the cookies!

5.) Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on each of your cookies.

6.) Let the cookies bake for 10-12 minutes; don’t take them out until you see the edges becoming golden brown.

7.) Let the cookies cool down for 5-7 minutes.

8.) Enjoy your soft and chewy no-flour peanut butter cookies!

We made our first batch of these delicious cookies for the first time in a while last Thursday night, and believe me when I tell you that they were gone by the next day. Peanut butter cookies are addicting, chewy, and delicious; but I love how the healthy ingredients (plus extra optional ingredients like dark chocolate, oats, and M&Ms) soothe the sweet & salty craving that pops up every once in a while.

If you have ever tried peanut-butter cookies, please tell me your thoughts on them in the comments! And if not, I highly encourage you to give this simple, nutritious, and delicious recipe a go; if you’re someone who loves peanut butter, you’re bound to love these cookies! I would love to hear from you all in the comments!

Have a blessed rest of your day or night, everybody! God bless you all, and I’ll catch you later! Peace in! ♡

A package from my favorite YouTuber… ♡

Author’s Note~ None of the art contained in these photos was created by me. Also, I pre-ordered this package back in March, and it arrived about 3 days ago. Although it did come much later than expected, and that’s something that potential buyers might want to consider before purchasing merch, I am really happy with what I received. I hope you all enjoy my mini-review! ~ Q’Zion ♡

Happy Friday, everyone! My name is Q’Zion, and welcome to The Joys and Trials of a Christian Teen! I don’t know if any of you know this, but I am a HUGE fan of YouTube. Alongside Roblox, it’s probably one of my most-used apps considering how much I listen to music, watch gaming videos, and binge the content of on my favorite channels almost every day.

But it’s very rare that I mention YouTube on my blog, let alone the identity of my favorite YouTuber of all: Moriah Elizabeth. With over 7 million subscribers, she posts a lot of art content where she paints on things, does squishy makeovers, reviews a large spectrum of art kits, and just about any other artsy thing you could imagine. For about 3 years, I’ve loved how funny, creative, and wholesome her videos are. And for the first time, I finally ordered one of her merch items–her very first Rainbow Academy Character Yearbook!

In short, the Character Yearbook is a compilation of many of the most iconic characters that Moriah has created over the years in a yearbook format, and Rainbow Academy is the made-up name for their school. Isn’t that so adorable?

After a quick introductory of the school’s Administrative Team (principals, teachers, nurses, etc.) there was a section for each class–including both a class photo and a portrait and each student–one by one. Like mostly all of Moriah’s illustrations, the colors were so vibrant, it was almost like you were in the classrooms with the characters.

I’ve got to admit that seeing some of these characters come to life in the gorgeous illustrations was so good to see; I remember watching the videos in which many of these characters were first created, so to get to see them all together and interacting with each other made this purchase so worth it!

Each “student” had their own portrait, as well as a list of all the extra curriculars that they’re in. I love how couples/best friends were positioned next to each other: I think that was a really cute touch!

I think that mostly all of us can agree that school just wouldn’t be the same without the extracurriculars. And speaking of them, there was a section for that, too! They had different categories for sports, clubs, and the arts, and it was super fun to see each character all dressed up in something besides their usual attire.

When Moriah does her “squishy makeovers,” she can only paint the characters one way: one outfit, one expression, and one look. But when you are able to draw them in multiple settings, it adds a lot more variety to their design and helps you get to know who they are even more. Despite the simple and clean drawing style, the characters’ expressions really help reveal their individual personalities.

And last but not least are the superlatives–or those awards that one or two students win at the end of every year, e.g. best dressed, most likely to succeed, smartest, etc. This has got to be one of my favorite sections in the yearbook, just because it brings together two characters who may be really different together, like unlikely friendships. Plus, the short quotes underneath each award added just the right touch.

Oh, and what I didn’t include in photos here was a small Spirit Week section–which was where each day of the week had a different theme and a photo for each one–and an autograph section where each of the left over characters that didn’t sign their name throughout the book put their signatures. Although I didn’t show them here, you can take my word for it that they were super adorable sections!


And voila! That was Moriah Elizabeth’s 2021-2022 Character Yearbook. Honestly, if I said everything that I loved about it, I would probably end up writing an entire short story lol. Even though the package did end up arriving really late, I couldn’t be happier with the final outcome. Also, if you want to check out Moriah Elizabeth’s YouTube channel, here’s a link! Hopefully they’ll make you smile just as much as they do me!

Who are your favorite–family-friendly–YouTubers? Have you ever bought any of their merch? And if so, how did you like it? I would love to read your responses down below in the comments!

Have a beautiful and blessed day, everybody! God bless you all, have an awesome weekend, and I’ll catch you next time! Peace in! ♡

Common Mistakes New Bloggers Make

Hello, everyone! This is Q’Zion, and welcome back to The Joys and Trials of a Christian Teen! Being a part of the blogosphere is like a dream for those of us who love to write, inspire, and create. But when many bloggers make the decision to create a website of their own, there are a few common mistakes that I have noticed being repeated.

So whether you’re a beginner blogger wanting an overview on what to expect or a more experienced content creator needing some blogging advice, these common mistakes to avoid that I have noticed myself and other awesome content creators make is for you!

Not Having a Clear Purpose or Audience

For my fellow teen bloggers, it can be easy to create a blog just for the fun of it! I often see new bloggers post a bunch of random–but really entertaining–posts with little repurposed content or common topics. And while displaying our personalities in what we do and post is important, it’s also crucial that we have an idea of what audience we’d like our blog to reach or resonate with.

E.g. when you choose the name and major topics of your blog, you want to make sure that what you’re posting will appeal to your target audience–whether that be people in a certain age group or with similar interest as you.

Lack of Consistency

Not having a blog post schedule has got to be the largest–and most common–mistake that I’ve seen within the blogging community. At first, some new bloggers will post excellent content every single day . . . and then they’ll disappear for a month. Trust me, I understand that some things come up in our lives, such writer’s block or a lack of motivation, that can make it difficult to keep posting content. But at the same time we have to remember that the only way to get our blog to grow is by being consistent. Posting only two days a week can do wonders for a blog’s traffic–all we have to do is show up and stay committed!

Grammatical and/or Punctuation Errors

Alright, I’ve got to put my hand up on this one. While writing the first draft for a stellar blog post, it can be easy to accidentally miss a letter or type a word twice. You see, the fact that we make simple errors like these is not the mistake; it’s when we make the errors and fail to revise them. Re-reading your blog posts aloud before you introduce them to the public is the best way to avoid grammatical mistakes. You could even read them aloud to a second person to catch errors you may miss and get a second opinion. Either way, revision is one of the keys to making every post the best that it can be.

Not Engaging with their Audience

It’s not uncommon that I’ll see 3-5 comments underneath a blog post . . . and all of them are by fellow bloggers complimenting the writer’s work. Thanks to the wonderful invention of notifications, we get a message every single time someone comments on our posts. And since one of the main goals of most bloggers is to build an audience, its important that we show our appreciation to the supporters that we already have. Not only will your viewers appreciate it, but you could even make a few new friends along the way.

Creating Extremely Short Blog Posts

Another common trend that I’ve seen going on, especially within the last few months, is bloggers making five- to twenty-word posts about five times a day. And all they do is tell their viewers good morning, afternoon, or night.

It’s always nice to greet your viewers before you get into the topic of a blog post, and short posts are acceptable now and again (especially on holidays.) But you want to make sure that you’re not just posting to post–after all, we want our readers to see our effort when they look at our blog. Not a bunch of short spam posts piling up in their email.

Choosing Quantity over Quality

When you create your blog, it’s easy to want to post every single day to get your website out there! But when you’re posting five times a day, it can become a challenge to give every single post your all. Therefore, even if you can only create one post a week on your blog–that one, well-written post is probably much better than five rushed ones.

Not Using Attention-Getting Blog Post Titles

Ahh~titles. They’re the first thing that anyone who stumbles upon one of your posts will see–alongside your images when viewers are browsing WordPress Reader, which are also very important. Therefore, it’s important that you add relevant, fun titles to your posts that get the main topic across and grab your viewers’ attention. There are a lot of great bloggers and posts out there: that’s why we need to use our titles as a strategy for convincing our viewers to click on ours.


So, those were some of the most common mistakes that new bloggers make, and I hope each and every one of you got something positive out of it! Also, I’d like to know, what are some common mistakes that you notice and/or made that I missed here? And if you’d like, is there any advice that you’d like to give to other bloggers to prevent them from making that mistake? Feel free to share your responses to these discussion questions in the comments!

Have a beautiful and blessed day or night, everyone! God bless you all and I’ll see you next time! Peace in! ♡

5 Things that Exercise Has Done for Me

It’s been about a month since I started my fitness journey, and it all started when I began my ‘Physical Education with HOPE’ course. After struggling to complete the mile run for a baseline fitness assessment, me and my grandmother started walking a mile (at minimum) three days a week, while incorporating other exercises (like dancing and muscle strength training) to spice things up, in between.

Even though these awesome changes in our lifestyle are still pretty new, my life has changed for the better in so many ways (even as a teenager) and I’d like to share some of the things that exercise has done for me with you all! Let’s jump into it!

1. It’s made me stronger

Believe it or not, exercises as simple as walking engage quite a few of your muscles. And I’ve noticed that my muscular endurance–or the amount of walking that I can do without getting tired–has increased significantly within this first month. Now, we always manage to surpass our goal of 1 mile on our “park dates” and I always love the challenge.

2. It has increased my confidence

There’s something about creating an exercise routine and sticking with it that gives your self esteem a huge boost. Like you’re capable of anything that you set your mind to. For me, exercise has become a way for me to clear my mind and have a productive rest of the day. Whenever I’m done with a workout, I feel like I’m ready to take on the world!

3. I feel lighter on my feet (mentally and physically)

Even while scooting the results on the scale aside, I can see just by looking in the mirror that I am making progress. Plus, I can feel my progress with how much easier it is to engage in physical activity, both while exercising and doing everyday things. And while most people think that exercise is just for physical benefits, I think the mental aspect is what keeps me the most motivated. While getting a breath of fresh air and working off some calories, I can’t help but feel that much more at peace. And considering that that’s coming from someone who’s always had a happy personality, it means a lot!

4. I’m more productive

Remember how I said that walking has helped me prepare for a productive day? Well, something else that I’ve noticed in the last four weeks is how much more energy I have throughout the day. I’m able to focus on my school assignments even more than before, my attention span has increased, and I’m able to get more done throughout the week.

5. I have a better quality of life

In short, exercise has made me feel happier, healthier, and more productive every day. I’m able to do more and feel great while doing it. Even a little bit of exercise a few times a week has made a huge difference in my physical, mental, and spiritual health. And a healthier body, mind, and spirit make for a happier life.


As you all can see, exercise is a powerful tool that we all need a little bit of in our day to day life. I wrote this post not only to share my experiences during my fitness journey with other teenagers, but also to encourage other young people to get a few minutes of exercise every day! From dancing to playing fitness video games to playing sports, there are so many different ways to get active: we just have to be a little creative! Hopefully, this post will help you do just that!

What are some of your favorite (or most fun) ways to exercise? I would love to read your responses in the comments!

Have a healthy, happy day, everyone! May God bless you all, peace in, and never forget that God is love! Bye everybody! ♡

Graphic Novel Review: Guts by Raina Telgemeier

BOOK INFORMATION

Publication Date: September 17, 2019

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Age Category: Middle Grade (MG)

Pages: 224

Publisher: Graphix

SYNOPSIS

A true story from Raina Telgemeier, the #1 New York Times bestselling, multiple Eisner Award-winning author of SmileSistersDrama, and Ghosts!

Raina wakes up one night with a terrible upset stomach. Her mom has one, too, so it’s probably just a bug. Raina eventually returns to school, where she’s dealing with the usual highs and lows: friends, not-friends, and classmates who think the school year is just one long gross-out session. It soon becomes clear that Raina’s tummy trouble isn’t going away… and it coincides with her worries about food, school, and changing friendships. What’s going on? Raina Telgemeier once again brings us a thoughtful, charming, and funny true story about growing up and gathering the courage to face — and conquer — her fears.

MY TAKEAWAYS

I remember the moment I got the first two editions of this triology, Smile and Sisters, when I was nine years old. To make a long story short, I fell in love immediately, and I still re-read them every now and then to this day. On a recent trip to Barnes & Nobles, I finally got my hands on Guts, a highly-anticipated graphic novel for all of Telgemeier’s loyal fans–and let me tell you, it was all worth the wait! Guts is an absolute masterpiece!

At the beginning of this gem for tweens and teens, Raina (who is the author when she was in 4th grade), catches the stomach flu that had been spreading in her family. And when her stomach problems continue, she develops the fear of getting sick and throwing up (emetophobia) to the point where she is worried about catching something from her family and classmates. Eventually, her family signs her up to see a children’a therapist, and she progresses throughout the story learning how to face her fear while making new friends along the way.

Raina is such a quirky, fun, and relatable protagonist, so its not hard to take a liking to her character within the first few pages of the story. She seems like someone that I would’ve liked to be around back in elementary school. And believe me, having the protagonist be someone who I actually like as a person is critical to me when I read a novel for the first time.

While I thank God that I’m not a victim of anxiety, there are so many young people who struggle with their mental health, even if they fear something small like the dark or going to the doctor. Stories like Guts are not only relatable to a large range of audiences, but they also teach us that while fear is a normal feeling, we shouldn’t let the things that scare us take over our lives. And like any trial, fears can be conquered.

Like always, the vibrant illustrations on each page of this masterpiece illuminated the story, making it that much more entertaining for readers of all ages. Even though the topic of mental health among youth was discussed throughout the course of this story, the funny, light-hearted moments within the book didn’t fail to put a smile on my face.

Overall, Guts is a must-read for bookworms–and even non-bookworms–of all ages! I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it!

Rating: ★★★★✯ (4.5/5 stars, 5 being the best of the best)

Recommended Age: for readers 9+


I’ve got to admit that I am very pleased with Guts. It was one of the three books that I got for my birthday, earlier this week, and I’ve got to admit that I made some pretty good choices. Be on the look out for the book reviews for the other two novels of my choice; they’re coming soon!

If you haven’t read this book already, I hope my opinion will encourage you to give it a try! However, if you already have this book in your collection, tell me your thoughts on it in the comments!

Have a wonderful rest of your day/night, everybody! God bless you all and I’ll catch you later! Peace in! ♡

Just Me . . . Having the Best Birthday Ever!!!

As I mentioned in my last post, a special day was right around the corner that I wanted to share with you guys. And that special day was (drumroll, please) my birthday! I know that I say this every year, but me and Goodmommy had such a blast, and I still can’t hush up about how hyped I am.

Even though birthdays come back every year, they’re a really big deal. It’s not just a day about you, but also a celebration of the beautiful and wonderful gift of life that God has blessed us with. Life has it’s ups and downs for everyone, but the fact that we are still breathing is a blessing within itself. In reality, every day is worth celebrating.

Sending time with Goodmommy is always a blast, and I want to share how we spent our special day with all of you, as well! Okay, enough of the chatter, now! My 2022 birthday post is a go!

Our first stop was probably one of my favorites out of the whole day; and it was only just beginning! We decided to stop at Claire’s to do something that we’ve been talking about for years–getting my second ear piercing! And considering that Claire’s has been known for piercing ears for decades—or 40 years, to be exact—we thought it would be a great place to get the job done.

I actually got my first ear piercing when I was a few months old, so I obviously don’t remember anything from that experience–though Goodmommy’s retelling of my baby-self’s reaction always makes me giggle. As a result, I never knew how it felt to get your ear’s pierced before my birthday, so I was naturally a little nervous. But considering that I handle shots so well, I knew that this was going to be a walk in the park.

Despite our original plan to get the silver cross, we decided to get a stainless-steel star after the reccomendation to get a smaller earring. And I immediately fell in love with the results–it’s small, sweet, and simple. I can’t thank Goodmommy enough for getting me my second piercing! In fact, I loved it so much that I may even get another one, in a few years.

Before we left our house, Goodmommy shared with me that she was contemplating taking me to a surprise destination for my birthday celebration, and I was over the moon to find out that it was Barnes and Nobles–my favorite bookstore.

If you’re a frequent visitor of my blog, you already know how I feel about books. And what I really appreciate about Barnes & Nobles is they’re variety–not only with the genres of their books, but with the types of items that they sell, too! As soon as I saw on a sign that the Young Readers’ section was upstairs, we took a ride on the escalator and searched around the entire second floor.

After a few minutes of searching, I finally found the section in question, and I couldn’t have been more excited by the shelves of novels that stood before me. I really love how this section in particular had literature that varied from pictures books to upper-middle grade, which makes it appropriate for a large range of ages.

We ended up purchasing three awesome novels–one of which was a graphic novel–for about ten bucks each. Another one of them was on my TBR (or to be read) list for this year, so I was super grateful for the opportunity to finally read it! Oh, and don’t worry, y’all; I’ll be posting all the book reviews for each one soon. ;))

So, I’m a firm believer that birthday’s don’t have to break the bank. But a simple piece of cake is always nice. And that’s why our next stop was no other than The Cheesecake Factory. Now, in case I’ve never mentioned this on my blog, cheesecake is one of my absolute favorite desserts, and we hadn’t had a slice for like, two years. So as anyone would assume, I was greatly anticipating eating a slice.

Me and Goodmommy are on a health journey, so it was a little shocking–to say the least–to see the amount of calories in a slice of each cheesecake. Seriously though, one slice is like half of the calories for the day! And although all of the options looked absolutely delicious, we both decided to stick with the classics–a slice of Cheesecake Factory’s original cheesecake.

After we saw the fact that it was a full house inside the restaurant, we decided to eat our delicious treats in the car. But I didn’t mind, at all; we had a close up view of the entire food court section of the mall!

To all of the cheesecake fans who don’t think they’d like the plain original, I’ve got to press the fact that The Cheesecake Factory knows what they’re doing. The piece of cheesecake had the perfect amount of sweetness, and the soft texture of the cream cheese melted in your mouth with the perfect serving of sour cream to eat with every bite. What can I say? If you’re looking for a tasteful—and delicious—dessert with fewer calories, the Classic is probably the way to go, in my opinion.

While that sweet surprise was absolutely delicious, we wanted to work off some of those calories. So we ended up making our last stop at Celebration Station, which is this amusement park full of rides (go-karts, water karts, roller coasters, etc.) and an arcade.

After entering the building, we decided to buy a couple hundred coins and explore the arcade. It was actually my first time ever visiting this place, so when I looked it up and saw the booming reviews, I was really anticipating exploring. And trust me, it didn’t disappoint!

What I find so captivating about arcades are all the bright lights. As someone who’s naturally attracted to colors, I got excited by seeing the games. There were so many games to play. And I have to admit that most of them are super addicting!

One of the first games that I played was a massive claw machine that was full of large bags of 5,000 tickets. I tried it about three times, and I got a good grip on all three tries. But as always, the grabber didn’t seem like it was strong enough. Boy, I would’ve really loved those tickets; just imagine the prices I could’ve won.

After about a half hour of exploring, we decided to check out the additional games located upstairs, and Goodmommy’s eyes lit up when she spotted two huge pool tables. She’s told me several times how she used to play pool years ago, but I never had the opportunity to play pool with her. That is, until my birthday.

At first, I was struggling with getting a good grip on the pool stick, but eventually I got the swing of it, and I was able to hit the balls. Practice makes improvement!

But honestly, seeing how happy it made Goodmommy to play a game of pool with me is what really made it all worthwhile. Just look at her!

Finally, here’s a quick selfie of me to get a closer look at my outfit. Goodmommy did such an awesome job on my hair, didn’t she? She really made me feel special on my special day, and I am forever grateful to her for that.

I have to admit that this birthday was genuinely the best that I’ve ever had. Sure, I say that every time my b-day arrives, but my 2022 celebration is going to be hard to beat. I thank God for letting me and my Goodmommy having such a blast! I hope we get to make many, many more blessed birthday memories together, for many, many, many, many, many more years to come!

What are some of your favorite that you’ve done on your birthday? I would love to read your responses down below in the comments.

Have a beautiful and blessed day, y’all! God bless you all, and I will see you all next time!

Thank you, Lord, for another happy and blessed birthday! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

It’s Been a Busy Week + life updates

Hey, hey, everyone! WOW, I had a lot of work to do this week due to Labor Day. But I’ve got to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed my day off! Besides, I have some exciting things planned for a ✨ special occasion ✨ this weekend, so it was all worth it! But we’ll dive a little deeper into what that ocassion is in just a second.

Right now, all I have to say is #TGIF. Or in other words, thank God it’s Friday!

Today, I’ll be talking about a couple of the things that I did this week, as well as sharing a very exciting announcement about some upcoming fun-filled adventures. Let’s get started!

So, my school has this yearly event called a “Club Rush,” which is essentially a Zoom presentation of all the clubs that my school offers, and each of the club sponsors gets to share a little bit about their club. For the past couple of years, I had already set my mind on which clubs I wanted to join before the Club Rush occurred. But this time, I stayed for the entire meeting. And ironically, 2 of the clubs that I joined were different from my original plans.

At first, I was anticipating on joining Creative Writing Club (for my 3rd year), Book Club (for my 2nd year), and Art Club (for the 1st time ever.) But once I took a look at my schedule and saw a lot of the other awesome clubs that my school offered, I ended up applying for Creative Writing Club, Glee Club (or Chorus), and Teen Driving Club! And guess what, y’all! I was accepted for all three!

My first club meeting of the year was Glee Club, this Wednesday. And I’ve got to say that it might just become one of my favorite clubs of all time! But I’m not exactly surprised: I am a music lover, after all.

Let’s not forget about how I said that I will be doing some fun things, this weekend. Now, you might be thinking that we just decided to plan some special outings just for the fun of it, right? But for me, this weekend is actually the celebration of a major holiday on my calendar . . . my BIRTHDAY!!! And we plan on celebrating for the entire weekend!

Goodmommy even ordered some early birthday gifts for me, and they arrived just a few hours ago. At first, I was going to show them to you guys today. . . but then I thought, why not let you wait until my birthday post–which will be coming very soon–to show you all the good stuff! What? It’s fun to keep you all on your toes!

But until then, Happy (Early) Birthday to me!


I had a really good time writing this casual post about the things that I did this week, and I hope you all had a blast reading it, as well. Have a beautiful and blessed day, God bless you all, and I will catch you next time! Peace in! ~ Q’Zion ♡

Imagine A World Without Music – Words of Wisdom #22

Psalm 150: 1-6 -- New International Version (NIV)

1 Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Could you imagine a world without music? That means no instruments. No melodies to listen to when you get home from school or work. None of your favorite singers or musicians. No singing in the shower.

For most people, music is a part of everyday life. In fact, many people use music as a way to get through the hardest of moments in their lifetime. And considering that many of us consider the blessing of music a part of life, it’s really difficult to imagine what life would be like without it.

In today’s episode of Words of Wisdom, I will be touching on the subject of music, the reason why God gifted us with music, and what life would be like without music for followers of Christ. Let’s get started!

Why Did God Give Us Music?

I can’t necessarily give a direct reason as to why God blessed us with music–although I’m eternally grateful either way–but I can share a little bit of how I feel when I listen to music, and how it influences me on a regular basis.

When I listen to music, I feel an indescribable happiness and sense of peace; as if in that moment, all the bad things in the world have faded away. I often use music to relax after a long day or worship the Lord, and I believe that gospel music is an outlet for us to build a closer relationship with God. Songs such as “Because of Who You Are” let us discover more about who God is and what He says in His Word; this means that we can learn a lot about the Bible by listening to godly music. Awesome right? (But remember, reading God’s Word is still important.)

Further more, have you ever been in a tough spot in your life, and then all of a sudden a song came on that tells you exactly what you need to hear? Almost as if God himself is speaking to you through a melody, telling you that it’s all going to be alright? It’s always been amazing to me how a simple melody can carry 1,000 words. And I think how music can be one of God’s ways of communicating with us makes it that much more powerful.

What Would Life Be Like (for Believers) Without Music?

As followers of Christ, music is a huge part of our faith. I mean, one of the best parts of church every Sunday is the music during praise and worship. But, how would our lives change if music never existed? This is a solid question to ask because of how much music is involved in the celebration of our salvation in Christ.

But the truth is, whether or not music is involved in our worship, we can still praise the Lord. Just think about it: music is only one way that we can worship as followers of Christ. Praying, reading the Bible, loving our neighbors as ourselves, giving, fellowshipping, and being obedient to God are all ways that we can worship the Lord. Music is like the icing on the cake when it comes to giving God the glory . . . but it’s far from the only way to do so.

In fact, I think that’s one of my favorite things about being God’s daughter; there are so many ways to express the love that I have for my Heavenly Father.


As Christians, the first thing that may come to mind when we hear the word “worship” is singing our favorite gospel hymns on Sunday morning. And it is true that music is a great way that we can deepen our faith; after all, God himself loves music and named the instruments for us to praise Him with. But worship comes in more forms than one. And that is something that could never change: even in a world without music.

Have a beautiful and blessed day, everyone! God bless you all, and I will catch you next time! ♡