By Catherine Amaris Munoz
“Rejoice, O young man, while you are young and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart, the vision of your eyes….” ~Ecclesiastes 11:9
Hi, fellow home-schooling teens!! My name is Catherine Munoz. I am a homeschooler from Monrovia, California, USA. I am in the 11th grade. This is my second column for the “Homeschooling Teen e-zine”, and I am excited to share more columns with you all in the future!
As part of expanding the column, I have decided to devote a portion of it to music: something I believe we all love. So, each month, I will share with you a couple of music artists, which I feel you’ll like to take a listen to. Today’s “top-rated” songs by artists like Ke$ha, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Paramore, 311, and many others, don’t necessarily display topics and/or morals which we can be proud of. Don’t get me wrong: I love Paramore, 311, and countless other popular artists/bands. The beats are catchy (who doesn’t like an awesome tune). And, if everybody else is singing it, I’d better think it’s cool too, right? Well, what if you no longer had to compromise wholesome lyrics for good-sounding music? Would you be interested in discovering new bands, which have impossibly familiar-sounding songs? My sister and I have recently done just that. We realized that the music we decided to listen to, whether positive or negative, affected us just the same. We decided we could mostly do without it. I’m not saying that for every single artist you like listening to, there is a Christian band out there who sounds exactly the same. But, if you are interested in discovering just how many impressive Christian bands there are out there, you can get started today. Are you game?
May’s Music Corner
This month’s featured Christian music artists are:
“Krystal Meyers” & “Decyfer Down”
Krystal Meyers is a female Christian artist. She has been singing since she was age two. Her first self-titled album, “Krystal Meyers” was released in 2005, and its style has been compared to the female punk/rock artist Avril Lavigne. Check out hit songs from the album, like, “The Way To Begin”, “Fire”, and “Anticonformity”. Krystal’s newest album which was released in 2008 called, “Make Some Noise”, is more along the lines of dance/pop genre, and it’s just plain fun. The album’s namesake song, “Make Some Noise”, reminds me of Katy Perry’s music style. Mostly all of Krystal’s songs are worth the listening, but you may especially like, “My Freedom”, “Feel So Right”, “Make Some Noise”, “Collide”, and “Shine”. Her voice is too original to compare, but if you enjoy the new-age pop-dance sound of Katy Perry or Ke$ha, or the punk-rock sound of Avril Lavigne, you should check out Krystal Meyers.
Decyfer Down is an alternative metal/hard-rock band, which also happens to be Christian. Despite the band’s apparent grunge-sound, their lyrics are consistently positive, and offer more than what other secular hard-rock bands can. Their first-released album, “End of Grey” (2006), is home to two of some of my favorite songs by them: “Fight Like This”, and “No Longer”. Other great songs by them are “Fading”, and “Crash”, which are located on the album, “Crash” (2009). If you are sometimes (or perhaps always) in the mood to listen to some good rock that has the ability to get your head banging, you should check out Decyfer Down.
May’s Movie Review: “Temple Grandin” (2010)
Among my all-time favorite movies, Temple Grandin is a must-see, for everyone who is interested in growing through understanding, knowledge, and compassion towards those who are sidelined and marginalized within our own communities, especially those living with Autism, and/or Autism Spectrum Disorders (also known as ASD). By taking the viewer through an up-close and personal perspective, the movie will show you the daily life and struggles of a real woman who dealt with Autism: Temple Grandin. Based on her true story, this movie takes place during the 1950’s: a time when Autism was uncommonly accepted in society, and little was known about it. In fact, it was believed that Autistic children were the result of non-loving and cold “refrigerator” mothers.
Temple was diagnosed with Autism at the sprite age of 3. Her mother was told that Temple should be placed in captivity, within the walls of a mental institution. Of course her mother declined the suggestion, and did everything within her power to teach her little Temple how to do what came naturally to most other children her age: how to speak, how to engage in eye contact, and other motor capabilities. Throughout this heartwarming movie, Temple, and those who believe in her, continually fight for justice and equality, which she so deserves. Temple Grandin may make you cry, as it made me. You see, my nephew, Isaah (age 6), was diagnosed with high-functioning autism at the age of 3. His I.Q. is “like that of an average 9-year-old”, as his physician told us last year. Just like Temple Grandin, Isaah is sensitive, helpful, and teaches so much to those around him. Best of all: he possesses a heart of pure gold. I enjoyed watching Temple Grandin so immensely. Hopefully you will too.
Not one of us has reached perfection: we all must learn this through realizing our own mistakes and errors. But, in God’s eyes, we are nothing less than perfect, because He created us in His image. Although, we might not all have Autism, or a life-threatening disease, we all have our own personal obstacles and challenges, struggles and battles. Let us, for this moment, remember the prayer that Saint Francis said:
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born into eternal life.”
This prayer is made relevant, every time we are faced with the hardship of dealing with others who are afflicted in ways that we find hard to relate to. May we start, on this day, to understand more, to be more patient, more loving, and more compassionate to our neighbor, who is everyone around us. Jesus outstretches his hand to those who are afflicted: let us, too, walk in His footsteps. For more information about Autism and ASD, follow this link to www.AutismSpeaks.org.
May’s Recipe: “Heavenly Angel-Food Cake”
Above photo provided by: http://www.img4.myrecipes.com/
“I love baking this recipe for my friends and family. If you enjoy the store-bought Angel Food Cake, you may find after baking it yourself that there is just no comparison!”
Makes one Angel Food Cake ring.
Estimated total time required:
Preparation- 20 minutes; Baking time- 35 minutes.
What you’ll need:
1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 large egg whites (1-1/3 to 1-1/2 cups), at room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
*Tip before baking*: “If you do not own an Angel Food Cake pan, do not fret. You may also use a plain ‘ol 9×5-inch loaf pan used for baking bread. I have done this many times in the past, before I acquired an Angel Food Cake pan. (Just make sure you watch the baking time, as it will be different, depending on your oven.) If all of the batter does not fit in the pan without overflowing, just bake it in a small separate cake pan.” =oD
1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position; heat oven to 350°F. You’ll need a 10-in. tube pan with removable bottom. Line bottom with nonstick foil, cutting to fit around the tube; place back into pan. You may also use baking spray, instead of the foil.
2. Whisk together cake flour, one-fourth cup sugar and the salt; transfer mixture to a sieve set over a small bowl.
3. In large bowl, beat the egg whites with electric mixer on medium speed 2 minutes until frothy and well blended. Add the cream of tartar; increase speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks start to form, about 3 minutes. While still beating, add the remaining 1 cup sugar in a slow stream; continue to beat until whites are very thick and hold firm peaks when beaters are lifted, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.
4. Transfer mixture to a large, wide bowl. Sift one – third of the flour mixture over whites; fold in with a rubber spatula. Repeat twice with the remaining flour, folding in until incorporated. Scrape batter into pan and spread evenly. Run a knife through the batter to remove any air pockets.
5. Bake 35 minutes, or until top of cake springs back when pressed with fingertip or a skewer inserted into cake comes out clean. Immediately invert the pan onto a wire rack. Cool completely, upside down.
6. To loosen cake, run a knife around all sides of pan. Lift cake out of pan by tube. Loosen cake from bottom; invert to un-mold. To serve, garnish with fresh seasonal berries and/or whipped cream. Enjoy!