A Theater Treat


A little while before my birthday, Grandma mentioned that Bob Jones University would be putting on Little Women in a couple of months. She then asked if I would like to go (and maybe the family, too) for my birthday present. I heartily agreed but soon forgot about the entire proposition.

Tuesday, November 15 was a usual day at school except for the fact that I wouldn’t be home until dark due to a field trip. Those plans, however, changed during fourth when Mom texted me through a friend (since I don’t have a phone). Apparently, Grandma had bought Little Women tickets for that night but Mom had misheard the date. One very stressful conversation later, I decided that family is more important than an extra credit opportunity.

Little Women the Broadway Musical was amazing! Ansa and I had recently watched the movie so it was really cool to see the story unfold under a different light. I am so glad we got to see it. Thank you, Grandma!

Sky Top 2016


On November 12 my family and I made our annual trip up to the Sky Top Orchard. Although this trip was shorter than our past visits, we did not fail to complete our Sky Top traditions. Said traditions include getting donuts, taking pictures throughout the play area, feeding the animals, running through the bamboo forest, buying apple cider, taking pictures in front of the wooden “how tall this fall” measuring tree, and so on.

How tall are we this fall? I measured up to about five and a half feet. Haydn hit somewhere in between five and a quarter and five and a half while Ansa came in at about four and three quarters. So I am still the tallest, however, I suspect these measurements will be drastically different by this time next year (@HaydnThomas) 😂.

Clemson VS Syracuse


On November 5th we went to my grandpa and grandma’s house, where we raked leaves with my twin cousins, before driving about an hour and a half away to Mrs. Deborah’s house. We talked to her for a few minutes before she gave us five tickets to the Clemson versus Syracuse game and we made our way to it.

Again, our seats were split two and three so us girls sat separately from the boys. The game was okay but I enjoyed the elated atmosphere more. Again, if Clemson scored more than 28 points, our tickets could each get us a free fry or ice tea at Bojangles. My family and I left at the end of halftime when the score was 37 to nothing. “Bo-Time before halftime.” Mom said. We were at Bojangles when Clemson won, 54 to nothing. Go Tigers! 🎉 🐯

Afterward, we returned to Grandpa and Grandma’s for dinner and to shoot off some fireworks. However, we ended up only lighting a few because the noise was driving some dogs crazy and making their owner very unhappy. Heh, heh, oops. 😂 😂 All in all, we had an excellent time. Thank you, Mrs. Deborah!

Privileges of being 15


When your dad prefers that your beginner’s permit not be visible in any photo. 🙄 😂 😂

On Wednesday, November 2 Dad and I pulled up to the DMV. We waited, registered, and paid for me to take the test again. Since Friday (the day on which I made my first attempt) I had read and highlighted the purple and gray sections in my Driver’s Manual, so I felt prepared but I was scared about the possibility of failing. Dad was really excited and I didn’t want to let him down, again. “You’re at test station two.” The lady at the counter said before using words and arm motions to direct me.

The glass-walled room was empty. I placed my hands on the bar. “Lord, give me wisdom,” I whispered before pushing the door open.


I silently let out a deep breath. The room was full now. I had just correctly answered another question making the number I had gotten right go up to 23, while leaving the amount I had answered incorrectly remain at four, and the number I skipped at two. I quickly answered the next question (because I was familiar with it) and then:

Congratulations, Tristen! You passed your exam!

I clicked “okay” and then, for a moment, stared incredulously at the screen which now read: “Touch here to start”. That was it? Did I really just pass?

I stepped out of the room and located Dad. He looked up from his phone and motioned me to give him a thumbs up or down but I just awkwardly grinned and walked toward him, unsure of how I felt. I told him I passed and he gave me a hug. Minutes later I was holding my beginner’s permit in my hand.


As we walked toward the van, Dad held out the keys to me. “I am not driving home,” I stated and he laughed. Thanks for the offer but I did not trust myself with the task of getting the van home in one piece, let alone ourselves. Besides, I was still not very familiar with our new van.

So Dad drove. He stopped less than five minutes from home, in the Pelham Medical Center’s parking lot, and let me drive from there. He was FaceTiming Mom while I did so. I’m not sure which of the three of us was the most nervous 😂. I put off using the gas pedal until Dad said so and apparently there were two cars behind me, but we made it home in one piece so I would say I did alright.

Haydn opened the garage door grinning from ear to ear, the first signs of a jealousy I was soon to become more familiar with. “Did you drive home?” He asked.

“No way,” I replied. Haydn stepped back through the door and returned with Ansa, one of his hands over her eyes. When she saw me in the driver’s seat she attempted to run back inside but Haydn held her where she was.

Once in the house, I hadn’t even set down the items in my hands while Haydn had already located my Driver’s Manual, flipped through, and marked the sections he needs to study for his beginner’s permit test 😂. His turn will come….in two years or so.

Halloween 2016


Finally, the day our candy craving selves had been looking forward to had arrived: Halloween. As always, I had a hard time deciding what to dress up as. Staying true to myself, I made a list which helped me eliminate ideas until I was left with one: a nerd. “Great!” My best friend exclaimed when I informed her of my final decision. “You won’t even have to dress up!” I laughed at this because I am beginning to realize that it’s true 😂. Haydn dressed up as a Hobbit and Ansa as a ballerina.

Continuing our tradition, after trick-or-treating my siblings and I dumped, sorted, and counted our Halloween candy. This year Haydn collected 465+ pieces, Ansa collected 556+, and I collected 413+ pieces of candy. The “+” includes candy we ate, gave away, or donated to the pile reserved for New Year’s (which only includes Extreme Sour War Heads)). Once we had traded what candy we did not want, my siblings and I put each piece away and headed to bed. We are going to ration these goodies in order to prevent stomach aches and sore throats. Happy Halloween!

Airsoft Party October 2016


On October 29 the youth of Redeeming Grace Church had another Airsoft party. It was scheduled for 10:00 AM but my family and the Rawlings family arrived shortly before then. We were glad to welcome members from three additional families to our group. The more the merrier! The “party” was scheduled to end at 12:30 but, because of the time spent waiting for people to arrive, getting geared up, and taking breaks, we were only able to play three rounds of the Airsoft version of “Capture the Flag”.

Toward the end of the last round, Haydn was the only member of my team that we had lost. The other team was in jail except for Hannah, but she had to leave. When my team began collecting prisoners, I was cast as the prison guard. Although none of the prisoners attempted to escape, there were many humorous conversations about how they were going to get rid of me. The last advance was made when my team went up the hill hoping to capture the other team’s flag, leaving me alone with the prisoners. It wasn’t until the second time Abi yelled across the property that we understood that the game had ended. I had a great time playing Airsoft with you all! I hope we can do this again soon!

Spirit Week 2016


Greer Middle College’s last spirit week in the Trailer Park was something else. Currently, our building to be is in progress so all the money raised during spirit week went into our building fund. The bittersweet fact that our portables are seeing their last days landed a quote from Coach Smith on the back of our spirit week T-shirts:

“You can take the Blazers out of the trailer park but you can’t take the trailer park out of the Blazers.” -Coach Smith

Sweek consisted of ‘Merica Monday, Tacky Tourist Tuesday, “Heroes and Villians” on Wednesday, “Color Wars” on Thursday (the Sophomore class, my grade, was neon yellow), and #GMCcameinlikeawreckingball on Friday. When all was said and done, my fellow Blazers and I had raised $42,629.97. This total was not only higher than our rival, Brashier, but also a new record. Go, Blazers!

Cross Current October 2016


So many beautiful memories were created at Redeeming Grace Church during October’s Cross Current. Because Halloween was coming up, game time’s theme was “fear factor”. It had been rumored that we would be making smoothies with insects and then have to drink them, so many people (myself included) were considering not going. Despite this, more than the usual crowd showed up.

Although there was no smoothie making, our adrenaline went up when we were asked to smash an egg on our head, to find out whether the one we held was boiled or not. If you refused to try, one point was taken from your team. While the eggs were being passed out, I shook mine and was relieved to find it solid. As it turned out, all of the eggs were boiled. Oh, the power of suggestion XD.

The other games we played included a relay (which required us to fetch plastic crickets from a tank) and a taste test during which the adults (and a few brave youth) tried cat food. Our snacks included puppy chow but this, thankfully, was simply corn squares covered in peanut butter, chocolate, and powdered sugar. Yum! Thank you, parent-youth for making tonight so memorable. I can not wait for next month!

Tristen’s 15th Birthday


It has almost been a year since our last get together so, I was overjoyed that each member of RAATH (Abi Rawlings, Abbie Arnold, Julia Alix, Tristen Thomas, and Heidi Haase) was able to make it to my 15th birthday party. We began the evening by making Emoji pillows while listening to our favorite tunes and catching up on each other’s lives. For dinner, we had lasagna and Angel Food Cake with ice cream for dessert. Senior High (a once a month get together with my fellow high schoolers from church) happened to be on the same night as my party so since I did not want to miss it, I took my party guests to D-Group (Discipleship Group). Although we had a blast there, it was when we returned home that the real fun began.

After giving each other a makeover, my girls and I danced along to “Single Ladies” before sitting down to watch old videos of us. Next, Julia and I acted out “Defying Gravity” with her as Elphaba and myself as Galinda before all four of us danced along to “22”, the main highlight of the evening. Of course, we did much more than all that before falling asleep in the middle of my documentary on Alaska at 5:00 am. I had so much fun with my girls. Fingers crossed in hopes that we will be able to get together before my next birthday party!

Beta Club Inauguration


On October third I was inaugurated into The National Beta Club. The ceremony was better than I expected (since “inauguration” sounds painful). Our student government seated my fellow students and me in alphabetical order and then called us to the stage by row. Mrs. Bailey read off our name, Mrs. Moore gave us our certificate, Mrs. Earle gave us our official Beta Club pin, Mr. Armstrong (our principal) shook our hand and whispered “congratulations”, and then the students who run Beta Club each gave us a fist pump as we walked across the stage. Once everyone had received their certificate and pin, my fellow inductees and I read the Beta Club pledge along with our student body president Bryson Bargar. I am extremely honored to officially be a part of Beta Club and I can not wait to discover what new adventures the future now holds!