Beneath It All

Beneath It All

Live by faith.

As a little girl, it was hard for me to understand who I was...

I remember constantly looking at every adult around me, wondering if they had a grasp of who they were, and what their purpose was in this life.

19 years later, the question still lingers within me, but I am much closer to an answer.

Through the 19 years of experiences that life has blessed me with, I have found that it is the process of figuring it all out, that defines who you are.

You are defined by the relationships, the impactful moments, and your internal compass that you navigate with through life. Every minute of these 19 years, I couldn't have provided you with a strong defining expression of who I was or my purpose, but through these 19 years I have done a greater good, I have lived authentically, and done my best to have God's grace in me. I have seen God in his purest form in so many people, and I have lifted my hands up to him alone with gratitude and with pain. I have acknowledged my compass as him within me and trusted in him when my faith ran weak.

All the while, I didn't know. I didn't have the answers, and even now I don't...

Thats the beauty of it all. All of it. Life isn't about the answers themselves, it is about the process to the answers, it is about the ride that you take while life unfolds in front of you. It is about the relationship you form with others, God, and yourself.

I now find myself looking deep into the hopeful eyes of me as a little girl. A young heart. I can faintly see the way in which I used to view this world, and as I set the picture down, I see my reality. It was nothing how I pictured my life to be, but it is so beautiful.

There were many moments in which I didn't have a choice but to hold on, and it was through those moments, that God did his greatest work using me and my story.

I have fallen in love with my story, every piece of it, with God as the author. I have fallen in love with the absence of answers, yet strength of faith. It is a journey, but one worth traveling.

And one day, we will be able to see beneath it all.

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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Iced Earth: 'Burnt Offerings' Album Review

'Burnt Offerings' is Iced Earth’s magnum opus thanks to its impressive musicianship and brilliant songwriting


Jon Schaffer - Rhythm Guitar / Vocals

Randall Shawver - Lead Guitar

Matthew Barlow - Lead Vocals

Dave Abell - Bass Guitar

Rodney Beasley - Drums

Additional info:

Recorded at Morrisound Studios, Tampa, Florida.

Produced by Jon Schaffer and Tom Morris.

Year: 1995

Album Length: 52:39

Genre: Thrash Metal, Power Metal

Label: Century Media


Burnt Offerings is the third album by American power metal band Iced Earth. After a three year hiatus, Iced Earth comes back in full force. Iced Earth decided to adjust their lineup for the third time. Lead vocalist John Greely has been replaced by the legendary Matt Barlow and drummer Rick Secchiari has been replaced by Rodney Beasley. This makes the third vocalist and drummer in three albums for the band. These changes would prove to be the most important in the band's decision because it gave way for Matt Barlow to add his incredible vocal range on this record.

The Good:

Schaffer takes his songwriting to a whole new level on this record. Iced Earth had gone through some difficulties over the past 3 years, regarding differences with their label and between some band members which resulted in the angriest, the darkest and the heaviest songs that Schaffer has ever composed. Schaffer still maintains the beautiful acoustic sections and melody within the music though demonstrating his composing abilities further.

Matt Barlow is one of the best metal vocalists of all time. He immediately gave Iced Earth power, emotion, range, and variation that many vocalists can only dream of having. His voice added a new dimension to Iced Earth that took them from being a good band to an incredible one.

This is definitely the heaviest album in Iced Earth's discography. Burnt Offerings is a thrash metal album with some power metal tendencies. The amount of speed and aggression on this record is simply unmatched by other Iced Earth records.

The Bad:

There are no major weaknesses with this record.

Favorite Tracks:

Track 1: Burnt Offerings

I love the dark atmosphere of the track. It really sets the mood of the entire record. It begins with a slow and eerie opening, but soon completely changes tempo to a very thrash oriented sound. The vocals immediately stand out from previous albums with lower growl-like vocals and Barlow's powerful vocals. The riffs are fast paced when they need to be and slower during the more melodic parts. The track also utilizes acoustic passages to balance between the band's heaviness and melodious sound. The guitar solo is a welcome addition that only adds to an already brilliant opener.

Track 3: Diary

I love the heavy opening with its slow chugging guitar. It sets the dark tone of the entire track. The atmospheric element of this album is really what helps it stand out from other albums within the genre and there is no shortage of atmosphere on this track. I love the drumming on this track as well. Barlow's vocals are absolutely fantastic thanks to his utilization of different styles of vocals delivery. "Diary" is another standout from this fantastic record.

Track 6: Creator Failure

Barlow's voice is fantastic thanks to the power behind his brilliant delivery. The track changes pace and tone throughout its run-time. I love many of the different riffs that are utilized during the track as well as the fantastic guitar solos within the song. The song has such a fantastic mix of emotions between somber emotion and darker moods within its different sections. This is certainly one of Iced Earth's most unique tracks that they have ever written.

Track 8: Dante’s Inferno

"Dante's Inferno" is the band's most well-written song that they have ever composed. The song takes us through the Nine Planes of Hell for sixteen minutes, each plane has something new and demonic in store for the listener. Not only does this track contain terrific lyricism, it also contains an immense amount of well-written music. The song has a very unique song structure, contains many time changes, and has twists and turns at every corner. Schaffer proved that he is one of the greatest songwriters in metal history thanks to this terrific masterpiece. This is still the band's greatest composition to this day.

Rating Scale:

1: Garbage

1.5: Awful

2: Bad

2.5: Mixed

3: Decent

3.5: Good

4: Great

4.5: Excellent

5: Perfect


Burnt Offerings displays a large amount of heaviness, power, and emotion that many metal albums would be hard-pressed to achieve. The songwriting is as good as it gets in both the thrash and power metal genres and the performances from the members of the band are spectacular. Burnt Offerings is a true masterpiece that is basically perfect from beginning to end.


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13 Times 'Parks And Recreation' Accurately Described College Life

"I have no idea what I'm doing." - Andy (and probably many college students)

College is the time in everyone's life where you are partially an adult but not quite yet and each semester has it's same old ups and downs with lots of group suffering. From the dreaded finals to the excitement of breaks, here are just a few moments that almost happens every semester with a "Parks and Rec" GIF to illustrate.

1. Returning back to school

There's always excitement about going back to school and seeing friends again.

2. Figuring out your life

It seems like every semester, you have to really decide what you are planning to do in life. From your schedule and your major, to future job goals and internships, the beginning of the semester is when you start to plan what your next few months up to the next few years will be.

3. Partying

It's the start of the semester so the parties are starting up once again. As there are no tests and homework to worry about too much yet, you can party without realizing you forgot about a homework assignment.

4. First exam

Realizing that you didn't study as much as you should have is never a fond time and you remember that you have responsibilities again.

5. Trying to do homework

This is what getting that specific word count for that essay you really don't want to write feels like.

6. Midterms

So much stress.

7. Break (Thanksgiving or spring)

Going home is great because either you eat good home cooked meals or you go on a vacation but no matter what you get to relax. As long as you forget all about your upcoming assignments.

8. Returning from break


9. Group project

It always feels like one person does all of the work. And that person is probably you.

10. Procrastinating

Doing anything else is better than studying. Especially watching Netflix. You accomplish so much by procrastinating.

11. Questioning everything

Do you really want to major in Chemistry or do you want to quit college and become a flight attendant?

12. The beginning of finals week

The end is so close yet it feels so far away.

13. Completing your last final


Cover Image Credit: @parksandrecs

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