Christian Living, Guest Posts & Blog Collabs, Holiday Specials

Thankful for the Little Things: a Blog Collab

Good morning, fellow humans! So, today’s Thanksgiving, eh? Doesn’t that mean that Christmas season is almost here?? Doesn’t that mean that 2022 is nearly here??? Hold up, what?!

*pauses* Oh, well, back to the topic, Thanksgiving! Politics, history, food, football; what really is it for our culture? *shakes head* Let’s just go to the basics: giving thanks.

Last year, if you remember, I attempted to think of ten things I was grateful for in the shortest time I could. It took me 32 seconds. Now, to express gratitude to the One who gave us everything we have this year, I’m doing a blog collab! I’ve never done one before, and don’t even know how to do it, but I tried. I’m collaborating with blogger Moriah Armstrong, from The Quill!

Wanna say hi, Moriah?

Hey there! I’m so excited to be able to do this collab with Daniel! It’s a first for me, and something I hope to be able to do again in the future. Happy Thanksgiving, by the way! 🙂

We are collectively sharing 50 things we are grateful for, of which we don’t often express our gratitude. She’ll share first, then me.

Alright, Moriah, go ahead!

Okay! Here are 25 things I am very, very grateful to have in my life:

  1. My home.
  2. Air conditioning.
  3. Food
  4. Alllll my little fur babies
  5. My friends
  6. My family
  7. Being homeschooled
  8. Clean Water
  9. Being quick to learn
  10. Writing
  11. The internet
  12. Books
  13. God
  14. Good health
  15. Access to medical care
  16. Nature
  17. My height (I can reach EVERYTHING!!!)
  18. Life
  19. Apple pie (it’s really, really good)
  20. Candles (especially the ones that smell nice…XD)
  21. Love ❤
  22. Sweaters
  23. My bicycle
  24. Chocolateeee. Yum.
  25. Clouds

*nods* Good things to be grateful for!

Now, my turn. Thank you, thanks, thanks so much, God, for. . .

  1. Pencils
  2. My beanie
  3. Comfortable weather (we don’t have any currently, but just the idea is comfortable)
  4. The livelihood of Chicago during the Christmas season (it’s coming, people! 0-o)
  5. The beauty of a candle flame, then of the smoke as it dances away until it fades.
  6. Those people that genuinely respect everyone else as equals (I know a few people like that but I’ll keep them anonymous)
  7. The times when it’s all crashing down around me and You, Jesus, are like “just hold on and I won’t let you fall away with it all”
  8. That this is my 50th post ever
  9. Sounds and smells that remind you of the happy parts of your childhood, and even make you shed a tear
  10. The fact that I have never broken a bone, gotten sicker than a mildly severe cold (surprisingly COVID had almost no effect on me), or had to visit the hospital for any other reason than check ups and visiting others—i.e., that You’ve kept me safe
  11. That You, God, have given me the strength to not. Give. Up. On writing, school, and life in general
  12. The movies classic to our family: Cheaper by the Dozen, tLotR, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, etc
  13. The many hours of hard work artists put into their music to make it amazing.
  14. Peanut butter (it’s legitimately really good)
  15. My planner
  16. Strong winds in autumn days
  17. Cool, delicious water after a long, hot run
  18. Book shelves
  19. Nylon stickers (they’re so much better than regular stickers)
  20. Always green evergreens
  21. Google Earth
  22. My shoes
  23. My grass (I have a little pot of grass in my room)
  24. Cheesecake
  25. Happy family times

And those are our collective fifty. I know we could do so much more, but that would make this post incredibly long.

As a final note, every time you do something, just think, “what can I be grateful for here?” Always remember to be thankful for even the little things. 🙂

Thank you, Moriah, for doing this with me! Be sure to check out her blog, and her version of our collab! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

With God’s help,

Daniel L. Amador

Blogging Tips & Advice, Writing Advice

Four Awesome Tools for Young Writers

Throughout my journey of blogging and writing seriously, I’ve found a few tools that have been extremely useful! Here they are, if you’re considering!

  1. The Young Writer’s Workshop. My goodness, without this online program, I don’t know where I’d be. I ‘d probably have given up. It’s so amazing, but I’ll let the actual creators explain it. 😉 Click on the link earlier to find all the information you need. Let me just tell you, from Alaska to New Zealand (west to east, not east to west 😆) , this community has been so helpful. There’s aid in all areas, blogging, characters, graphic design, alpha and beta readers, you name it! I’ll stop ranting—my words don’t give it enough justice. You get the idea. 🙂
  2. Reedsy. I was introduced to Reedsy by a published friend of mine, and I love it! Reedsy is a website focused on the creation, improvement, and publication of books. One section has a book writing format, organized by chapters and parts, and it also provides stats 🤩 which analyze your progress in words, paragraphs, etc. You can also make writing goals, and it tracks how close you are to reaching them! Friends, it’s incredible. And that’s just the book writing part. It also offers reviews to agents, editors, cover designers, etc. And it’s free! I have a free account. For the first weeks Reedsy also offers free and not-free courses to help you! Check it out, please. 😉
  3. Canva. With this online tool you can make all sorts of images and such for all sorts of things. You can make logos, flyers, book covers, posters, and much more. With a free account (which is what I have) you have access to plenty of images. With a paying account, though, you have access to all the images they offer, and other convenient things, I believe. This is what I use to make my blog graphics. 😄
  4. The Most Dangerous Writing App. Now, I’ve only tried it a few times—I’m planning to use it more often—but I can definitely see how it could really help someone get faster at writing! Here, just try it out a few times (no risks, completely free), and you’ll see what I mean.

And there you go! I hope you’ll consider and that they’ll prove useful. Next week I hope to provide you with some good writing advice. Have a good rest of the day!

With God’s help,

Daniel L. Amador

Snippets of Writing

Only Her and Her Jesus: a Short Story

Yes, I did it. I wrote a short story. Or, a flash fiction. People have told me it was more an SS, others more an FF. I personally like the idea of an SS better, so I’ll stick with that.

Anyway, I knew, to better my skill as a writer, I needed to force myself to write a short story. Then this amazing idea came to me, and I was so grateful. I also decided to really focus on “show, not tell”, because I really struggle with that. Personally, I think this story helped me so much by giving me good practice, and that was a gift from God.

Now, ladies and gentlement, I present to you. . .

Only Her and Her Jesus


It was quiet in the small, dense forest of the big city. But so alive, to the eyes of the girl, who was quickly becoming a young woman. Goosebumps ran through her skin at every step she took in the crispy leaves. The sparkle in her deep brown eyes joined with the dance of the colorful autumn leaves in the wind.

The girl’s mind was one of revolutionary thoughts, dreams, and goals. At age fifteen-and-four-quarters in public school, she didn’t care that she had no phone, no social media, and no drama or romance, all by choice. Some called her nerdy, lonely-for-good-reason, and lame. The girl’s closest companions were her twenty seven year old youth group leader, her nine year old cousin, her five year old gold and green journal, and her ageless Savior. She turned to the glad joy settled in her soul, grateful for those she had and the forest so close to her.

The welcoming aura of the trees surrounded the youth, and she set out to climb their large branches. Lovingly slipping her worn journal into her backpack, she began to ascend. Each branch taking her closer to the sky, she continued to swing, jump, pull and push herself up. The girl’s gentle movements allowed her a closer encounter with squirrels and birds than most people. Eyes falling upon a family of blue jays chirping and flying together, they settled there and she slowed her ascension to a stop.

The girl’s thoughts drifted to family. A topic that often brought pain. Separated parents and endless arguments and fights between her older siblings caused literal migraines. Daddy on weekends and Mama on weekdays, noise clogging her ears and chaos clouding her mind, all she could do was hide behind a book, journal, textbook, or music. I miss my childhood, God, I miss when my parents were together.

Losing herself in her thoughts, the girl’s grasp loosened and she slipped, but her arms managed to wrap themselves around a thick branch. The sudden movement frightened the blue jays and they flew away. She slumped and curled up against the tree, her thick, curly black braid hanging loose and swaying in the wind.

The words of her mentor, the youth’s adult friend, entered her mind. “Crying is not a sign of weakness. As a universal way to mourn, if you don’t cry when you feel like it, it’s like discarding all the sad things in life. Don’t dwell on them, but don’t ignore them. Don’t be ashamed to cry.” Grateful for the bit of wisdom, she let it all go, and the streams of tears flowed down her cheeks.

A free leaf gently rested on her shaking shoulder, as if to soothe her. Grasping the leaf, the girl held it tightly. Surrendering the pain and her situation to her Comforter, the girl relaxed and let the leaf fly away with the breeze.

Wiping the tear stains away and flipping her braid behind her, the teenager pulled herself up and continued, feeling refreshed. The tree was tall, and perfect to climb. The girl continued, as the size of the tree limbs around her decreased. She reached up, her gloved hands grasping two different branches. As she pulled herself up, a branch pulled down her left sleeve and cut her arm. She lurched backwards, and rested on another thick tree limb. Grimacing, the teenager eyed her scar. Pulling out a napkin she had in her backpack, she wrapped it around the opening. The white cloth turned crimson quickly. Shaking her head, she put the napkin in her backpack, shook her arm, kept the sleeve up, and carried on.

The youth was stronger than given credit for. In the school—the country, for that matter—she was in, her faith and opinions were unpopular. She believed in youth rising up against low expectations, which to her meant attempting to bring her dreams to life, straying away from impure things, and using her tongue only as a weapon for good, based on what she understood from the Bible. She had taken a lot of hate, but didn’t quit what she believed in. The girl was an author and had penned several books. Her in-person voice was weak, but her written voice was louder than most. And when she ever doubted or felt like quitting, she would visit the forest. That day was one of those days.

Her muscles strained, the pieces of sky grew bigger, and the sun got brighter. Finally, she stopped climbing. She turned her gaze from the tree to the world. The forest and city knelt at her feet, so there her soul knelt at the feet of her King. Where the crisp wind and shining sun were unblocked, she talked to her Jesus.


That’s it. Thanks so much for reading! Have a great week. 🙂

With God’s help,

Daniel L. Amador

Announcements/Notifications/Updates

Two Announcements, Three Goals, and a Q&A

I have some things to share. I’ll try to keep it short, but you know how it is with me. 😉

Two Announcements

1. I’m sure many of you have heard me talk about the Young Writers Workshop—the online writing program with a library full of instructional writing-related lessons and an online community of many young writers across the world—a bad description, but it’s the best I could do on short notice. 😅 Anyway, the instructors from YWW (give or take some people, very likely) created the Young Writer Blog, and they launched it November 2nd!

I don’t want to make this too long at all, so I’ll just share their “About Us”:

We are bestselling authors who know what it’s like to navigate the world of writing and publishing as teenagers. We’ve helped hundreds of young people grow as writers, reach more people, and publish their work. We’d love to help you too.

Their first and second posts are out, so check them out, and everything else too! 😄 The blog already has so many resources available.

2. Next week’s post will be a short story–or, rather, a piece of flash fiction, written by yours truly! Yes, Daniel L. Amador actually managed to write a short story. I would’ve published it today but there were already too many other things too share to add a short story as well, and I didn’t have time to go through even a second draft or give it up for editing, so yeah, be sure to check it out Monday, the 15th!

Goals

Here of some goals I have set for myself:

  1. Finish my project Beyond the Wolf (i.e. reach 60K words) by December 15 (52/60, rounded down).
  2. Publish at least 4 posts in the month of November (1/4).
  3. Run three times a week, unless the temperature is below-40° F (I’m starting with this week, because I only ran twice last week).

Q & A

  1. What is your favorite sports team? Favorite sport team?? I don’t know. I don’t follow teams that much. But my favorite sport to watch is soccer, so when the World Cup comes on I usually root for Mexico and/or Spain.
  2. What food do you dislike the most? I used to really dislike mushrooms, but now they’re not that bad. The worst food I’ve had, though I don’t remember what it was called, I had it at a friends house and it looked, tasted, and smelled just like throw-up. 😋 🤮
  3. What first gave you the motivation to start a blog? The very first time I wanted to start a blog/got the motivation to start a blog was during a sermon in September of 2020, I think. My dad was preaching and he kind of gave the story of the prodigal son a more modern setting. I thought that was really cool, and I wanted to write stories like that. That was the first vision for my blog. Obviously it didn’t turn out. A second thing that came later in the month of October (2020) was when my friend launched her blog. That really gave me the final kick to make a WordPress account and get “the Right Kinda Writer” (now “the Right Kind of Writer—that’s why the url still has “kinda”; I don’t know how to change it, and if you do please tell me!) started.
  4. What is one popular book (or series) you haven’t read? What’s one? Oh, I can give you many. Two that I’ve started but never finished are the Chronicles of Narnia and the LotR. I haven’t ever read the Percy Jackson series, Harry Potter Series, KotLC series, or the Hunger Games Trilogy. I could go on.
  5. What is your favourite character from any book? Hands down, Malik from the Door Within Trilogy. He’s just awesome. Though he’s a side character and lacks depth in character growth, the series wouldn’t be the same without him, and neither would my very first novel project; he was inspiration for my favorite character in the now-paused project.
  6. Why do you like to write? That is a very good question—easier asked than answered. Some reasons: I love creating stories. I love bringing the crazy ideas from my brain to paper or a doc. I love making my characters experience the troubles, joys, and such that I experience. Finally, it’s one way I can teach others and glorify and worship my King.
  7. Who is your favorite movie character? No, no, NOOOO! I have no idea. Legolas, maybe?? Spiderman, maybe?? Iron Man, maybe?? Black Panther, maybe?? Someone from Big Hero Six, maybe?? I don’t know, honestly.
  8. If you could live in any fantasy/sci fi world, which one would you live in (ie. Middle Earth, Tatooine, Dune, etc.)? Hm, good question. Let me think. Proably Middle Earth, because I’ve always loved the idea of a simple, bright, down-to-earth place like the Shire, and I’ve always had the feeling of safety and comfort in Rivendell. They are like rare jewels in a regular rock mountain.

Thank you to all who submitted questions. I hope these were adequate answers. 🙂

That is all I have for today. Have a good morning, afternoon, evening, night, whatever!

With God’s help,

Daniel L. Amador

Holiday Specials

Today’s My Bloggiversary!

Today, one year ago, I published my very first post on the Right Kind of Writer. So today, I celebrate one full year of blogging! I’ve definitely learned a lot and gained more skill in certain areas, and the RKW has experienced so many changes.

Some changes:

The logo.

I used to have a tagline intro thing. It was so bad, hehe.

The color scheme.

Where I got my pictures, and how I edited them.

Content type.

The blog’s vision.

Those are just a few. I really hope most choices I made on and for my blog were for the better. Thank you, all my dear readers, for your patience with my indecisiveness, and for sticking with the RKW. Your support is very appreciated, and I hope this blog has blessed you one way or another!

Now, I don’t exactly remember when my blog was launched (I think it’s sometime in November) but this is the day my first post was published. Doesn’t make sense? Blame WordPress.

Time for some beautiful. . .

STATS:

  • Followers: 86 [28 through email; 58 through WordPress]
  • Total posts (including this one): 46
  • Total visitors: 1,300+
  • Where: Views from 1+ countries in all 6 ecumene continents 🌎

I’m thankful to God that this blog came to be and still is! I hope the Right Kind of Writer will be able to bless more and more people. There were a whole lot of people who’ve helped me with this blog, and I’m very grateful to you. I won’t say names, but if you helped edit posts, critiqued graphic designs, offered blogging advice, calmed me down when I would go insane because TECHNOLOGY DESPISES ME and/or provided some other sort of needed assistance, you know who you are. 😉

To celebrate, I’m commencing a Question & Answer session (I was going to do that for when I reached 100 subscribers but maybe I’ll do something else for that—if you have any ideas, please tell me). 🥳 Each of you can ask up to three questions (whether in the comments, through the contact page, or any other way) and I’ll answer them in a post soon-to-come (probably next Monday)!

[I reserve the right to ignore any question for whatever reason.]

Welp, that’s all for today! Thank you for reading! May God bless your day today. 🙂

With God’s help,

Daniel L. Amador

Book Reviews

Stolen (Element Wolf book #1): a Review

*Reader sees the post’s name* “Wait a second, Danny, I recognize the name of this book! But. . . why do I?” Is that what you’re asking? If so, here’s my answer: you have seen me talk about this book here. I announced the publication, and I promised a review. About -10 years- 4 months later, here it is! A review of Stolen (Element Wolf book #1) by Jehanne J. Hedrick. Now, let us begin, shall we?

Synopsis (from the paperback version):

IN THE FACE OF EVIL, WILL FLIGHT FIND THE COURAGE TO DEFY THE DARKNESS?

Flight is the first-born to the unbreakable alphas of Star Pack—the pack of wolves that rule the harshest territory in Yellowstone. The young pup is noticeably strong, and he’s full of potential no wolf can deny. On his first day outside the den, Flight is overcome with love and pride for his ice-locked land.

But after his entry into the world beyond the den, Flight’s perfect life in his beloved homeland is cut tragically short as everything the young pup loves is whisked away from him. Flight finds himself in an ominous land known as Avida, ruled by a vengeful wolf with a haunting past.

The pup is astonished to learn that he is part of a mysterious prophecy which claims he holds unusual powers given only to him. However, the ruler of Avida wants Flight to use his abilities to help her destroy the pup’s entire pack so she can claim his homeland.

Desperate to rescue everything he loves from destruction, Flight forms his own plans against the cruel alpha of Avida. For months, Flight works in secret with newfound allies, readying their plans before the ultimate bloodshed. But when the day comes, what happens is more shocking than Flight could have ever prepared for.

My Opinion:

Story: An awesome read. Stolen is a huge book, let me tell you, and it’s not easy to carve a beautiful masterpiece from such a large piece of stone, but Hedrick did well. She managed so well to depict these wolves, 🐺 and I was amazed by the fight scenes. Many of you readers know that I love wolves, and my main project is a wolf story. It’s hard to write a wolf’s actions properly and accurately, without being repetitive. The author knew what she was writing; clearly educated on wolves. 🤓 Though, there were a lot of characters to keep track of. There were some characters (and scenes) that appeared in the beginning and appeared or were referenced much later when I had already forgotten them. Throughout the book my brain filtered through the great amount of content by picking the more noticeable scenes and characters and tossing the less important or interesting ones away.

As careful as Jehanne J. H. was, some repetition still occurred. Notably in Flight’s thought progressions. This may be a style though. I’ve seen it done in another book series I read.

As for the last main battle, I have some thoughts. . . ‘hackles bristling’ was way overused. Those hackles were really bristling, I suppose. One event that occurred was explained imaginary, but then was apparently real life. . ? 🧐 A last thought on this is. . .

A SPOILER!!! BEWARE!

.

.

No main or even significant side character died! 🤯 Like, what? That might sound cruel and violent, but the way the story went and how things happened and such, it’s almost entirely unrealistic. That was a disappointment.

.

.

Spoilers are done!

Finally, one of the most important things to note that would almost entirely wipe out any negative of this book in my opinion. . . there was no romance!!! Ahahaha! 😎 Okay, maybe there were a few romantic mentions, but they were only things like ‘By the way, I can tell you like her, kinda. The end.’ Hedrick, know that the lack of romance makes me ecstatic. 🥳

As for spirituality, a deity/supernatural being was hinted at only a few times. This leads me to believe that future Element Wolf books will continually focus a bit more on the hinted deity (God). But I can’t be entirely sure, though the author is a Christian.

Design and art: The cover is beautiful. I love it. Though there are two weird parts to it. For one, below the wolf’s chest is a flame that looks like a three fingered hand trying to hold him, and two, where the legs meet the flames, it doesn’t make sense. It appears as though they are supposed to be in front of the flames but then they are also covered by the fire? I don’t know. Those two things just look weird and are kinda annoying. Besides them, the cover is amazing.

I was elated to see that the book had MAPS! They’re pretty cool, but aren’t as detailed as other book maps I like, and one of them is kinda unclear. But, either way, maps make a book so much better, in my opinion.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Statistics:

Pages: 478 (Amazon stat)

Genre: Fantasy

Amazon Rating: 5 Star

Amazon link: Here

Author’s website: Authorjhedrick.com

Author Bio (Paperback Version):

Jehanne J. Hedrick is a young writer with a passion for wolves and nature. She developed a love for storytelling at age seven, and that love has continued to grow ever since. She strives to use her words for the service of others, and her goal is to use her writing to shed light into a broken, darkened world. Aside from writing, she also enjoys music, art, and learning more about one of her favorite story subjects—wolves. Visit her at: www.authorjhedrick.com!

With God’s help,

Daniel L. Amador

Uncategorized

Runners; Rulers of the Road

Hellooo! Sorry this is a day late. Today I’m going to share some running 🏃 tips and advice, as well as a ‘why I run’ and my running history!

Running Tips & Advice:

#1. The two-two breathing method. This has most definitely helped me to become a better runner. My coach told me about the method. You just need to match your steps with your breathing: *step* *breathe in once* *step* *breathe in twice* *step* *breathe out once* *step* *breathe out twice* *repeat method* It helps you to breathe correctly without doing it too much or too little, which in turn will improve basically everything else.

#2. A running schedule. Our running group goes out three days a week. Monday and Tuesday afternoon/evening and Saturday morning (we only do Saturday during our 5K season—from mid-Spring to late September). On Monday we have our short, 1-3 mile run, where we focus on speed. Tuesday is a more relaxed 2-4 miles. On Saturday we focus on distance, which can range from 3 (or less) to +14 miles, depending on the experience and skill of the runner. I like our schedule a lot. It focuses on different skills, and doesn’t overwork us. Running 3-4 days a week is a pretty good number, I wouldn’t recommend running every day of the week, though. Even if it’s just one mile a day. . . I mean, I haven’t tried it but I haven’t heard good things about it either.

#3. People to run with. Having runners and friends there with you before, after, and even during your runs is socially good for you, it’s also good in other ways. They can be encouragers, as you begin and finish your run, they can give advice, they can become good friends. I love hanging out with my running team cause they’re fun to be around and run with. They encourage me, and such, as well. It also sounds fun to have friendly running competitions with friends. I don’t think I’ve ever done one with both of us doing it intentionally, but maybe someday. *shrug*

If you don’t have a running team or club near or available to you, you can gather some friends and family members who are interested in running and organize a team.

#4. Paying attention to your food consumption. Chips and anything spicy is a no-no even several hours before and after a run. They will do horrible things to your body. Pasta and bananas 🍌 are good pre-run foods. I don’t suggest having any food directly before (or a full meal several hours before) a run, unless it’s something like a small banana or granola bar. Treat yourself or your team/group to some good food a few hours after a successful 5K or other important race/run, because you deserve it! Whether you’re a runner or not, eat healthy! All of this I speak from experience (except for the banana and pasta thing).

#5. Dynamic stretches before a run and static stretches after. Losen up your muscles and body before a run with dynamic (moving) stretches! Look up some examples. Keep your muscles from tightening back up too much and stuff with static (still) stretches. Look up some examples.

Why I Run:

Running is a sport you can do anywhere. You don’t need a field, ball, or other equipment. Simply good shoes and clothes. It can be competive, but it doesn’t have to be. You can focus on long distance or speed. You can run when you’re really young, or when you’re really old. You can explore your neighborhood, surroundings, etc. while you run. It’s healthy. I think it’s fun and amazing. There are many more benefits to running.

My Running History:

Beginning: It all started somewhere in late August, a few weeks before an annual 5K organized by my church, called El Grito 5K. My brother, who was a runner before I was, asked if I wanted to run it. I was in general a pretty fast kid, and I did love running, so I was like ‘sure, why not’. At that time I could only sprint but was not involved in any track or cross country team. To get into the 5K I joined the running team my brother was on, which was one of the programs of the youth ministry partnered with our church. I had two weeks to train before the 3.1 mile run.

On the first day of my training, I ran two miles; for the first time ever, and it was torture, but worth it.

1st 5K: On the day of the 5K I did good for a beginner. My overall time was 31 minutes and 32 seconds (31:32).

2nd 5K: My second 5K was like a month after that. It was a wet, humid day. I remember some parts of it very clearly. I vividly remember much of each and every race. Which is nice. Memories. My time was 29:29.

3rd 5K: My third 5K was about a month after the second one—it was on Thanksgiving morning. That one was really fun. It wasn’t with my team, but just with my brother and dad. We had some fun together before and after the race. It was pretty cold. My time was 30:38.

Pause: By the time my running team would be having 5Ks again after winter, the virus hit. The running program was temporarily cancelled, and I eventually just stopped running overall, because I was less disciplined and less into running back then.

Running Team Project: It was in mid-summer of 2020 when the program started up again. There were no races that summer (sadly) so we organized our own. Our team wanted to run 200 miles together, so we’d each run our own miles to contribute to the 200. I ran seven miles (silly amatuer Danny-boy), but I think the most someone ran was 14 miles. This was in late August, I think.

4th 5K: In September our church hosted El Grito 5K again. It was virtual (-_-) which meant that each participant would run on their own any day, track how long they took, and then message upload it to the El Grito site. It wasn’t too bad, though, ‘cause I still ran with my team. I was pretty proud of my score, which was around 24 minutes.

5th 5K (Placer): There were no races until June, 2021. What was funny was that the race (a 5K) was just a few days after my AP test. Hehehe. Well, I ran it and it was very fun! I also got third place for my age/gender division (18 and under) and 24th overall so that was awesome! 🥉 Time: 21:09.

Half-Marathon Training: Then, training for a half marathon to be held September 11th began, sometime in early July. The training was pretty fun. I’ve missed a few days because of summer vacation stuff and life in general. It got a bit trickier in Spain, as I’m not used to mountains.

But the scenery was BEAUTIFUL! 🌄 One time while I was running, I saw two deer 🦌 on the edge of the path, and when they saw me they started running, and then ran away into the thicket 🌳, but I did get a close look at them, and it was majestic! I was also able to run ten miles at my grandparents house, and that was an awesome accomplishment.

1st Half-Marathon: The half-marathon was amazing! I did a lot better than I thought I would, and I felt really good throughout the whole thing. My results were 2 hrs and 2 mins. (I got 3rd out of 4 for my age group, or something like that—I somehow cannot find the results!) The longest run I’ve ever done.

6th 5K: On September 25th I ran another 5K (this one was also virtual *sigh*) and my score was 20:55. I got 5th place overall.

7th 5K (Placer, Record Breaker): Exactly a week later, I ran my most recent 5K. My score, a record-breaker, was 20:29. I got 6th overall, and 1st for my age/gender group (15-19)! 🥇 I ran it with my mom (my team didn’t participate).

Coming Up: I have another 5K coming up this Saturday, and I think maybe one or two others later in October or November, not entirely sure though.

And that’s I suppose all I have to share about running! I know, it’s long. That’s why I decided it into many different sections. 😉 All of this was a huge blessing and I’m grateful to several beings, including God, my coach, my parents, and my team mates. That’s all. I hope you enjoyed reading.

With God’s help,

Daniel L. Amador

Christian Living

To the Discouraged Writer

I’m sure you’ve heard it a bunch of times; that being an author is unrealistic. You said you didn’t want to go to college, and they chided you, saying that college was the key to success. Maybe they called your ambitious goals ‘farfetched’.

Maybe at first you were determined and unyielding. “It’s been done, and if God wants me to, I can do it,” you might have said. But as you continued, you saw little improvement in your writing. As the years went by, you had little success. You’ve maybe never finished even a first draft of a single project, or come across an original story in your mind that didn’t have numerous, large plot holes that you couldn’t cover up.

There have possibly been times when you’ve fallen in love with some of your stories or characters, but then a critiquer told you that they aren’t good, or you’ve been humiliated because you showed them to others, and they were displeased and laughed at them. Don’t stop loving those stories and characters, even if they’re flawed and hardly anyone else does. Jesus still loves us despite our flaws and unpopularity. He does this because He created us and we’re all special in our own ways. Two great reasons to not stop loving your broken characters, stories, plots, settings, themes. God’s still working on His creations, so you should still work on yours.You’re not the only one with supposedly ‘bad’ quality writing, the only one who has never finished a full draft, the only one with many abandoned stories crowding your storage, the only one who’s been hurt by honest criticism, and you’re not the only one who has felt like giving up. I relate, and I know many others do relate. Keep on, my fellow writer; dreamer. Because maybe someday your dreams could become reality, and because myself and many others aren’t either. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalms 37:4).

With God’s help,

Daniel L. Amador

Holiday Specials

I’m 15!

Well, that’s that. Today, I have concluded my fifteenth year on earth. It’s been quite a year, let me tell you. 😅  My close friends and family know what I’m talking about. It’s been the toughest year I’ve ever had, mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, relationshiply (that wasn’t a word but it is now 😎), and academically. Not quite sure if I’d consider it an amazing year or a horrible year. Some pretty awesome and pretty horrible things have happened. Who knows when I’ll really find out the significance of this year? Could be when I’m 16, 20, or even 50. *shrugs*

Here are some goals I have for before I turn 16:

  • Learn how to drive, at least pretty well.
  • Finish the first draft of at least 3 books (whether they’re novellas or novels).
  • Have one book that is at least somewhat near being ready for publication.
  • Put time into learning how to play the drums and/or the cajón, and be decently skilled (whatever that means 😝) in at least one of those instruments.
  • Reach at least 150 subscribers on the RKW.
  • Reach the point where I’m at least fairly fluent in Spanish (hehe you wish Danny-boy).
  • Run at least four 5ks, if not place in a few. It’d also be awesome to run a half marathon again.
  • Not have “at least” in every single goal. Not happening. Just kidding, ehehe.

Don’t know how difficult each of these goals will be to accomplish, but hopefully difficulty won’t sway me much! 😃

Goodbye, 14, hello 15! 🤪


Now . . . when is your birthday (assuming I don’t know already 😉)? Is it coming soon?

With God’s help,

Daniel L. Amador

Music

CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE): a Review

Clouds (The Mixtape) - Wikipedia
CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE) cover

It’s finally here! The review on NF’s CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE) I promised so long ago! It’s one of my longest posts, and it took a while to do, but I had a lot of fun. It was difficult to actually accurately rate them, and the ratings (1 star – 5 star) may not be entirely synonymous with my thoughts, but I tried. 😛

For this review, I’m going to use the Goodreads rating system:

5 stars: it was amazing

4 stars: I really liked it

3 stars: I liked it

2. It was okay

1. I did not like it

Alright, let’s get started!

Spotify link to CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE): Click here.


1. CLOUDS

The song’s message & stats: CLOUDS was released as the second of three singles to promote the coming eleven-song mixtape. The main theme of it is that his head is in the clouds. He’s mentioned being in the clouds in several other songs, which include Just Being Me, Turn the Music Up, and Outcast. He raps a lot about how he’s not the average “Hollywood” rapper. He says he’s not chauvinistic, he doesn’t hang around phonies, drink codeine or the like, and isn’t really about trophies or being rich. He also raps a lot about how he’s done what others thought he could never do, and how he’s ‘shaken the whole [music] industry’. It’s comprised of an intro, a bridge after the 6th verse, and 7 verses of straight-rap. One of the four of the mixtape with a music video.

My thoughts: The song has a movie-like style (as do most of the songs in the mixtape). That along with the. . . odd flow and higher and wilder tone of NF’s voice really got me interested in the song when I first heard it. The flow and tone were different from NF’s usual style—CLOUDS’ release painted the style for the rest of the mixtape. If NF continues to use this style, I’ll definitely miss the old flow and tone (though all I have to do is listen to one of his older records ;)), but I’m excited for what’s coming next in his fifth record. Both NF and his music are experiencing exciting changes, but NF has continued his integrity and ethics.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

2. THAT’S A JOKE

The song’s message & stats: THAT’S A JOKE is a lot about how people continually doubted (and still doubt) NF’s skill, but he always proves himself. How he is constantly getting better, and is well-suited and prepared for the intensity and danger of the music industry.

My thoughts: This is a decent song. I like it. But it seems to have less of a, let’s say. . . solid meaning to it, and it just seems like a joy-rap (like, joy-ride but joy-rap) for NF, especially since a lot of it is delivered incredibly fast. When talking to a friend, he/she pointed out that the theme of the song was ‘redundant’. I thought about that, and tend to agree. It also seems like an overused NF theme. A lot of his songs are about how deep he is in his other songs and how skilled and unstoppable he is.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

3. JUST LIKE YOU

The song’s message & stats: From what I take of Spotify stats, JUST LIKE YOU is either the most popular song on the mixtape, or the second (CLOUDS would be theo ne to fill the spot JUST LIKE YOU doesn’t take). No surprise. The song’s main idea is this: Millions of us are going through very similar things as you, so don’t feel alone. We all fail and make mistakes, so when those things happen to you, know that it’s okay; we all go through it too. Don’t let the feeling of failure overtake you.

My thoughts: Wow, just writing the above makes my eyes feel hot and watery. The moment I listened to this masterpiece, I thought something like, “well now I know what my favorite song in this mixtape is”. It’s just so beautiful, and the message is so true and really good. Listen to it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

4. STORY

The song’s message & stats: This song is different from any other NF song, in the way that it is practically a movie but in song form, and really short (4 minutes and 39 seconds, the longest song of the mixtape). Hence, the name “story”. It’s about a woman named Erin who goes to a grocery store really early and– well, I’ll let the song explain it to you. I don’t want to give away any spoilers. 😉  Also, the song makes more more sense with the music video. Whether it’s a fictitious or factual story, I have no idea, and neither do most people, I think.

My thoughts: After I finished listening to the song for the first time, I kind of stared in shock for a few moments. It is intense, and I’m not even talking about camping (please tell me if you get that). Not to mention it’s like no other NF song, as I said above. I think it’s a pretty good song. Though, it’s a story, so I think I will treat it as such. In other words, it isn’t really the song to casually listen to. Another thought from the same friend I mentioned earlier is that this song points out that we don’t realize how much could change in just a few seconds. I believe that’s true, and it can be a reminder to cherish our moments and even the little things.

Content warnings (includes ones from the music video): Mention of drugs; blood, violence.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

5. PRIDEFUL

The song’s message & stats: This song NF wrote to someone specific. The lyrics of the song say that this person was someone who NF used to trust and be very close to, but they betrayed him in some way, and became prideful and jealous, therefore hurting and breaking his trust and their relationship. The identity of the other person is unknown. It could be a relative, former friend, ex girlfriend, ex coworker, or someone else. It has a simple structure: an intro, a verse, a chorus, another verse, the chorus repeated, and an outro, along with melodies.

My thoughts: I like it. It’s not INCREDIBLE, but it’s really good. This is a song anyone can easily sing/rap too. It’s not super speedy, but not that slow. I think that’s convenient because it’s a song that a lot of people could relate to. It’s a good.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

6. LOST

The song’s message & stats: Apparently this song had been long anticipated by listeners (I myself have neither Twitter nor Instagram so I wouldn’t have known). NF collabed with Hospin for this song. NF said that it was supposed to be released earlier, but he got busy rescheduling The Search tours and concerts, and then performing them and stuff. This song also has a music video. My least favorite of the four, but it’s still cool. Both NF and Hospin teased the release of LOST a few times. As for the meaning of the song, NF and Hospin rap about being mentally lost.

NF verse meaning— He raps about what it means to be ‘lost’, and what a lot of people do when they’re lost. He raps about himself being lost, and what it’s like in his mind.

Hospin verse meaning— Hospin raps about how there are a lot of people who are after him and broken his trust, and he also explains some of his mental struggles.

My thoughts: I think this is one of NF’s most deepest songs in mixtape. One reason it’s one of the most popular in the mixtape, I think. It also features another deep rapper. A second reason why it’s more popular. A third reason is that it’s very relatable. Likely everyone in the world has gone through/is going through a feeling of being lost. Personally, I really like it. It’s not one of my favorites, but I do love listening to it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

7. LAYERS

The song’s message & stats: The shortest song in the mixtape, it’s more about himself, in a way, and is mostly about how NF has layers. -So basically he’s an onion. Just kidding, hehe. If you get that reference, tell me! Which ties back into the whole idea of the slogan “real music”, if that makes sense. By that I mean that he doesn’t just rap about, like, typical things such as money or fame, but he goes deep, and raps about different sorts of tough topics. Some character traits he mentions himself having (not all directly) are ambition, drive, soul, heart, rapping skill, religious beliefs, a mental cloud, and confusion. It’s a fairly unique song in that it is simply divided into 2 parts, with just a pause for music in between (you’ll see what I mean). The beginning of the song starts with a few sorrowful piano notes.

My thoughts: Definitely one of my favorites (but aren’t most of them?). It used to be one of those ‘decent NF songs’ but lately it’s grown on me. Every unique trait of it is awesome—the sorrowful beginning, the increased rapping speed near the end of part I, the tie between part I and II, the idea of a part I and II. . . There was one line that stood out to me that I liked: “This [is] a lil’ somethin’ to hold ‘em over for what’s next”. From what I understand, that means that the mixtape is just a snippet of music to keep us “occupied”, for lack of a better word, until he releases his next record, which will be soon, as he hasn’t released a record in a while. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited for his coming album!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

8. DRIFTING

The song’s message & stats: This song is shaped in a regular manner, beginning with the chorus, a verse, the chorus again, a second verse, the chorus a third time, and an outro. But, similar to LAYER’s divide between part I and II, DRIFTING has a divide between the chorus and the outro composed of a simple piano solo. DRIFTING is mostly about NF’s struggles with strongly disliking himself, feeling insignificant, and how he’s just drifting. . . stuck in the same rut, not ever coming ashore, to a real conclusion or mental breakthrough. The outro brings a more hopeful message. He’s crying to God to pull him out of rut, and asking God to show him that he really is special, significant, and loved. This is similar to the mournful type of song you find prevalent in The Search.

My thoughts:

This is a song a lot of people can relate to. Feeling lack of self-love, like they’re stuck in a rut, or like they’re just drifting. . . lost. I know I’ve felt some of these things. I know people who have felt these things. I do like how his lyrics turn back to God for the last part of the song.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

9. TRUST

The song’s message & stats: TRUST is NF’s fastest song. By that I mean he’s rapped faster in that song than in any other one of his songs. TRUST, which features rapper Tech N9ne begins with a melancholic violin solo. Then NF raps one very wordy but speedy verse, and sings (or, rather, shouts) the chorus. Next Tech N9ne also raps a very wordy but speedy verse, and NF finishes by ‘singing’ the chorus doubled. TRUST consists of almost exactly 1,200 words, which is pretty long, but it’s delivered in only 4 minutes and 24 seconds. From what I read, the average amount of words in a song is 100-300 and the average length of a song is 3 minutes and 30 seconds, so TRUST is pretty impressive.

It’s hard to tell what the meaning behind the song is. From what I observed by reading the lyrics and listening to the song, more effort was put into making the flow and delivery easier than writing deep and meaningful words. The only thing part of the song that seems to relate to the theme of trust is the chorus, which is kind of weak. Read or listen to it and you’ll know what I mean. It seems to be mostly about NF’s and Tech N9ne’s lives as artists, and their uniqueness and honesty.

My thoughts: Pluses for the speed, and minuses for the weaker theme. I really like the flow and tune of Tech N9ne’s verse. That’s about all I have to say.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

10. PAID MY DUES

The song’s message & stats: PAID MY DUES was the first CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE) song released. It was released as a single in 2019, only around 5 months after The Search. In PAID MY DUES, NF raps about how so many more critics and haters than he had before appeared after he released The Search. Also about how he’s ‘paid my[his] dues’, and ‘made it through’, and will continue to stay making real music and being honest. One line I thought quite interesting in reference to critics pointing out his bad side is this: ‘They rigged the lights so y’all can see / The parts of mine that aren’t so bright’.

My thoughts: I think it’s a pretty good song. It has a similar theme to THAT’S A JOKE, but it’s a bit stronger and deeper, I think. The music video for it is really cool.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

11. CLOUDS – Edit

The song’s message & stats: This is a repeat of the song CLOUDS that’s entirely the same except for the beginning: this one doesn’t have the whole long build up but CLOUDS does.

My thoughts: I like CLOUDS better than CLOUDS – Edit, but the pro of CLOUDS – Edit is that it has lowercase letters!!!

[I don’t think it needs a rating.]

My overall thoughts on the mixtape as a whole

I like the mixtape a lot! I don’t think I like it more than Therapy Session or Perception; there are many more songs in The Search than in CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE), so I can’t rightfully compare the two; and I think I like the mixtape more than Mansion.

I like the fact that he’s getting better at rapping faster, and I’m enthralled with the changes he’s made to his style. I like the themes of several of the songs, as well. Finally, I think the cover is awesome.

Two things that I find annoying about CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE) are. . .

1. The all-caps titles! They are just very annoying and I hope NF doesn’t stick with them. I MEAN, WHO USES ALL-CAPS THESE DAYS? I DEFINITELY DON’T.

2. The repetitions among the songs. There were several repetitions. First, the beginnings. Almost all of the songs start with a piano or violin solo, some odd vocal, or some other similar drawn out intro. JUST LIKE YOU is the only one that immediately begins with singing. To be honest, it’s getting pretty annoying. Or maybe that’s just me and I should mingle them up more with NF’s other songs and not play each mixtape song in a row. *shrugs*


Well, that’s all I have to say about CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE)! Whether you’re an NF fan or not, I hope you find at least one of his new songs enjoyable, if not all. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

With God’s help,

Daniel L. Amador