## C-O-O-P-E-R-A-T-I-O-N

The first thing that always pops into my head when I say the word “cooperation” is team work. It’s when people work together to achieve one certain goal. It’s like spelling a word. You put each letter together, and then you get a word with some meaning into it! Cooperation is when we all work together  to get some meaning into a task.
When a family cooperates, time is well spent. You do your part of the job, you spend less time quarreling with others about who didn’t do her part of the job or who did this and who did that. The more we quarrel, the less time we have for quality bonding with the family.
That is what exactly went wrong this morning. Kayla, Mama, and I had an argument about all the clutter scattered about in the living room. Kayla didn’t cooperate by not doing our share in keeping our things organized. Therefore, everyone was in a bad mood and we didn’t get to enjoy a discussion of today’s MOH lesson.
Moral of today? COOPERATION is the key to good family relationships!

## Life Lessons in Algebra

Now that I’m in high school, I’m currently learning Algebra in math. When somebody says “algebra,” what is the first thing you think of? Numbers? Variables? Coefficients? X? Y? N? The list can go on and on and on. But have you ever thought about how you can put the algebra in life instead of the other way around?
Most people think of how you can USE Algebra lessons in real life situations. But when you think about it, you can bring your algebraic principles and learn great life lessons out of them! It’s amazing!
In life, “Y”, or the unknown, could be the purpose God has given us, yet we are still trying to find the solutions to that. We work through the problems that could help us become a stronger person (aka, the solution). Life is full of equations put together, and with that, we are always trying to find that one solution.
Another lovely life lesson from Algebra is that there may be so many negative things in life, but we can get something positive out of it. If something doesn’t go right, we should always be optimistic and never look down on things. Everything is in God’s hands. We may get either a positive or a negative outcome, but every little thing happens for a reason.
When we undo equations in reverse order, it’s like looking at the bigger picture and then dissecting it to fully understand it! (Ah, the science of deduction!) It tells us that we’re never going to achieve something unless we get there one step at a time.
Simplifying in algebra can also make a big impact in life. My mom has this book called, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff,” and it’s basically what Algebra teaches us! We should look at life simply because when we look at it in a more complicated manner, then that’s how it’s exactly going to be. Life will be too serious, and you’ll be so stressed out, you won’t be able to experience the fun it it!
“Freeing X from Parentheses” reminds us that we should rid ourselves of distractions and unnecessary worries, aka the parentheses and life becomes simpler. We can then focus more on the things we want to achieve in life, which is finding our purpose. We should discipline ourselves so that we can achieve the plan God has set for us.
These are quite amazing discoveries! Who knew we could learn great life lessons from algebra!

## Respeto sa Magulang, Respeto sa Kapwa

 {click photo for high-resolution version}

## Biological Key = the Science of Deduction!

Recently, I just got into the BBC TV show, Sherlock, which is a modern take on the tales of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. One of the things that intrigues me about Sherlock Holmes is his ability to deduce information about a certain crime scene {or even person} with just one look.
In Science, I learned about how to use the Biological key to classify organisms in their respective Kingdoms, etc. As I thought about it, this is actually a form of “the science of deduction.” As Sherlock Holmes described it, we extract every bit of information to get to our answer {the final result}.
Aside from seeing the connection with my science lesson, I also saw a connection with my Geometry and Statistics lessons. Geometry is also a form of the science of deduction. The way the Greeks did it, they wanted everything to be exact. They use if-then statements, along with venn diagrams to help validate these statements.
Sometimes, however, deduction proves our statements to be invalid. Venn diagrams help us understand the picture more clearly. A mushroom may be heterotrophic, but it is not in the Kingdom Animalia. We know it is in Kingdom Fungi.
Deducing certain situations is a big help in life, especially when we study. Deductions help us stay ORGANIZED. It’s like a filing system for our brain, and in real life! Deductions also prove that less is more. The less excess information, the more we can understand!
I’m not lying when I say I actually enjoyed Science, Geometry and Statistics for this quarter. It made me feel like a little homeschooled Sherlock Holmes! I can’t wait to classify more things next quarter!

## Animal Artworks

For science, I’m learning about the different Kingdoms we classify organisms in. I decided to draw Asian animals because I’m learning about Asia for History. {The wolf is an exception} I classified the animals into their Kingdoms, Phylums, Classes, and Orders.
INDIAN ELEPHANT
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
 KOI FISHKingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ChordataClass: ActinopterygiiOrder: Cypriniformes

 INDIAN PEACOCKKingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ChordataClass: AvesOrder: Galliformes

 BENGAL TIGERKingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ChordataClass: MammaliaOrder: Carnivora

 GREY WOLF (this is not Asian)Kingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ChordataClass: MammaliaOrder: Carnivora

## The Sisterly Wanderlust Series: Japan

To say that my younger sister, Kayla, and I are close is quite an understatement. We are more of partners in crime. I remember during one lunch, the two of us were goofing off, to which our lolo remarked, “You know what, the two of you aren’t sisters. You are best friends.” I guess you could say that. Our aunt also calls us “Kayelle,” which is a combination of our nicknames: Kay + Yelle {I’m called Yelle by my close friends}
One of our favorite things to talk about is going on adventures. Yes, it is our dream, as sisters, to travel the world together. We’ve talked about this quite a number of times. Going on food trips and visiting famous landmarks is what we’re going to do when the two of us are older.
Just yesterday, while waiting for our turn at the dentist, we were talking about our previous travels {just this year, we went to Singapore} and other countries we’d like to visit. The idea struck me. Kayla and I both write in journals, you see. I thought, why not share one where we can BOTH write about these fantasies. We’ll keep it until we’re older and then check those we’ve actually visited. We both decided to call this project, “The Sisterly Wanderlust Series” because it will be about our journey as sisters around the world.
We have still yet to construct this journal, but Kayla and I already have quite the list of countries to travel to. One of those countries is Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun. Three reasons why I personally want to go there: food, time travel, and animation!
F o o d
 {image via WeHeartIt.com}
I’m not going to lie. Japanese food is my favorite kind of food in the entire universe! I started eating sushi and sashimi when I was around six or seven years old. My favorite dishes would probably be tuna sashimi, ika sushi {cuttle fish}, kamameshi rice, california maki, tempura, and beef teppanyaki. {Wow, that’s a lot!} Kayla and I tried our hand at making sushi with mango and spam. Hehe!
T i m e  t r a v e l
Okay, I’m not talking about literal time traveling in Meet the Robinsons style. It’s just that in Japan, it’s like you can be in the past, present, and future! The old temples make you feel like you’re living in the past. The lovely scenery and nature is living right now. The future? I’m talking about all the toys and gadgets Japan is currently inventing! The epitome of utter coolness.
 This is the Sensoji Temple. It was the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo until it was burned down during World War II. {image via Google Images}
 I’d love to go to Japan during the Cherry Blossom season. Definitely on my bucketlist! {image via Google images}
 Woooooohoooo, modern Tokyo! Fast forward into the future! {image via WeHeartIt}
A n i m a t i o n
 {images via WeHeartIt}
I hope to be an animator someday, and one of my biggest inspirations is Hayao Miyazaki, a Japanese manga artist and animator. My favorite films of his are Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle.
 I promised myself that I’ll be visiting all the Disney parks on this earth. Challenge accepted, Arielle. Challenge accepted. {image via WeHeartIt}
———————————————————————————
So there you have it! Destination #1 for The Sisterly Wanderlust series. I can’t wait until we finally start this project!

## Facing My Giant

Last July, TMA’s peer group activity for the month was a showing of the movie Facing the Giants. Facing the Giants is the story of Shiloh football coach, Grant Taylor, who is currently struggling with his football team and his personal life As the story progresses, Grant learns how to accept these struggles and put his complete faith in God. He shares this new philosophy with his football team, and they slowly make it to the Nationals against the much favored team, the Giants.

One of Grant’s players is David Childers, who plays as their substitute kicker. At first, David is hesitant to join the football team because he considered himself more of a soccer player rather than a football player. After his father encouraged him to try out, he actually makes it to the team. However, he is still scared that he won’t be able to make the team score during matches because he thinks he can’t kick every far. His father, who is unable to walk, tells him not to mope around waiting for something to happen. He tells David that he should always put his complete faith in God whenever we are afraid, and something great will happen.

I couldn’t help but feel incredibly inspired after watching the movie. It was a reminder that God has something great in store for me and that everything happening in my life right now, including all the struggles, is a part of His amazing plan. It also reminded me that if I put my complete trust in God, great things will happen.

Recently, I faced one of the biggest giants I have ever faced so far: an audition. I’m not talking about the kind of audition I experienced back in 2008 for Repertory Philippines’ A Christmas Carol. I’m talking about a real audition, one that most theatre artists go through now, with all the readings and dance auditions. Last July 28 and 29, I experienced all of that.

I auditioned for Rep’s Camp Rock. I was very excited because I haven’t been involved in any theatre production for the last four years. I had simply missed the stage so much. I practiced and practiced for about a month with my voice teacher, Teacher Amy. I did everything I could to help me pass this audition.

Although I don’t remember being nervous during the first weeks of practicing, I do remember having sudden urges of panic two weeks before the auditions. I remember not being able to sleep and praying to God to help me make it through the auditions.

When the day of the auditions finally arrived, I was swarmed with complete nervousness. What if I don’t make it? What if they don’t like me? What if I screw up while singing? These questions kept ringing and ringing in my head. I couldn’t even eat a proper lunch before heading up to the Rep office!

Waiting for my turn to audition was even more nerve-wrecking. I had my audition song on repeat, so that I wouldn’t miss any little detail while I was singing. SO many people turned up for the auditions and a lot of them were far older than me. Talk about scary?!

I was the 38th person to audition. I was all fidgety as I sat there waiting for my turn to enter the room. When they finally called me, I said softly, “This is for you God!” Somehow, when I entered the room, all my nervousness simply drifted away. I didn’t feel anything at all. There were around seven people who were going to watch me do what I love: performing. I sang Brand New You from 13 the Musical. Tito Audie Gemora {I’ve worked with him in A Christmas Carol} cut me off before I even got to the part where I could show my vocal range. To my amazement, they asked if I could stay and wait for a while! My heart skipped a beat. This is it, I told myself. This is it.

They asked me to come back the next day for callbacks. This time, we were going to do readings (an activity where you read lines with partners) and dance auditions. I was pretty excited for the readings (getting to pretend to be another person is fun!) but I was freaking out over the dance auditions. You see, I’m not much of a dancer. I guess this was another giant I had to face.

The callbacks were fun. I wasn’t in the production yet, but I was learning so much from the experience! I trusted that God would help me with the dancing, and you know what? He did! I was one of the girls who made it to the Top 40 out of the 260 people that auditioned! Such a blessing! God really works wonders! We were told we were to wait for any announcements on our final auditions where they would be assigning roles for us.

On July 31, however, I received an email saying I did not make it to the shortlist. I’m not going to lie, I cried my heart out when I broke the news to my mom. It just…hurt so badly. I had this one chance, this one AMAZING chance, and I simply just lost it. The email did say something that lifted up my spirits, “This is in NO way a reflection of your talent. You passed the callbacks, which says a lot about you.”

My parents comforted me saying they were extremely proud of me, even though I didn’t make it. Honestly? They made me cry even harder. My mom told me she was so amazed that a young girl like me actually had the guts to go through an extremely tedious audition like that. My dad said he was proud of me because out of the 260 people that auditioned, and at 13 years old, I was part of the top 40 passed the callbacks, and probably the youngest among them! I’d like to thank them right now {if they are reading this. Hi Mom! You most likely are} for sacrificing so much just so I could go out and experience my dream.

To my surprise, I recovered the day after. {My voice teacher was rather impressed with me. She said it would have taken her a week to get over rejection like that} I told myself, “You know what, Arielle? This isn’t the end of God’s plan for you. This is simply the beginning. You achieved something right here. You faced a giant that an ordinary thirteen-year-old couldn’t.” Right now, I can’t wait for the next opportunity God gives me. Because you know what they say, “When God closes a door, He opens a window.”

## Obedience: How It Helps

First off, what exactly is obedience? Obedience is quickly and cheerfully carrying out the wise direction of those who are responsible for me. It also involves these “5 I Wills:”
1. I will obey my authorities immediately.
2. I will have a cheerful attitude.
3. I will complete all that I am expected to do.
4. I will not complain.
5. I will go the “extra mile.”
My sister and I try to develop the habit of obeying every little thing our parents had to tell us without complaining or grumbling. We try our best to obey immediately and possibly try to go the extra mile without being told.

Being obedient definitely has its benefits. When everyone in the family cooperates and does their share, no fights happen and everyone will have a good day. Everything is just so easy when people are obedient. When you’re disobedient, however, everything just shatters. Everyone in the family will be cranky and in a bad mood.

I try to be obedient at all times, but what I struggle with the most is probably my bed time. {Har har har} My mom wants me to be asleep by 9:30 pm. Sometimes this is hard for me because most of the ideas I get when I make art or when I right come right before I sleep. It’s pretty difficult for me since I’d like to take note of these ideas right away, but I try my best to obey my mom because I know she’s just looking after my health.

Another one of my struggles is not going online during study hours. I definitely need to control myself with this. I always ask God to help control me with this temptation. Just like me, Jesus was also tempted. He trusted that God will help Him through this and stood strong. Even though He was going through a rough time, He still kept His goal in mind: to follow God’s will.

One good example to teach us kids about obedience is the recent Pixar film, Brave. Princess Merida showed a rather rebellious side in her, and because of her disobedience, she nearly changed her mother’s life for the worst. One of the movie’s lines that really inspired me was, “Mend the bond torn by pride.” When we have pride, we only think of ourselves and that’s how we become disobedient. We think the world revolves around us. Thus, being obedient can mend broken relationships in the family. It can mend relationships destroyed by pride.