Sunday, December 25, 2011

An Adventure...

It's Christmas!



And as such, obviously, it is Jesus's birthday, and we must rejoice that our Savior has come into the world to save us! ALLELUIA!

This year for Christmas, I get a very cool, very extremely awesome present.

Tomorrow, I am going to Rome, Italy!


Its very exciting.

I have never been on a plane before in my life and our flight is like, 8 hours.

I've never left the country.

I've never left my time zone.

I've never been away from my family for 11 days.

And I know exactly what will happen.


Disney/Pixar - A Bug’s Life

But I have like, a dozen people praying for me, so I know everything is going to be fine. This is the first true adventure I've ever had, and if its the ONLY adventure I EVER get, I suppose falling flat on your face is better then standing back while everyone else has the time of their lives.

Please keep me in your prayers, too!

This is going to be so amazingly cool, I might explode.


Maybe it has occurred to you that if I am gone for 11 days, I might not be posting on my blog.

I'm afraid it's true.


Sorry. I'm not going to Italy to blog about it. Although, hopefully I WILL get to blog about it, but, no, that is not the actual point of GOING.

Hopefully you don't all abandon me for other more frequently updated blogs.


I'm so incredibly excited. I'm just about packed. I am about to embark on the best adventure of my life. I even made myself a little 'farewell' image on Elouai to post here.

Clearly I'm excited, right?

Well, I love you and miss you all already!

God bless you this wonderful Christmas Day! Enjoy all your presents, no matter how big or small. The best present I got this year was Jesus.

Second best?

This adventure He gave me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Jar

New Years: To Resolute or not to Resolute? That is the question.

Ah. New Years. The time when everyone vows they will lose 50 pounds, become organized, end world hunger, and cure the common cold.

It is a time where we celebrate unrealistic expectations that have no grip on reality, nor take the past into any form of consideration. 

We hail the New Year, and within a month, TOPS, ditch our resolutions to wallow in our mediocrity once again. Very smart, we human beings.

I admit that I have made resolutions in the past, and probably will again in the future. 

But, to be perfectly honest, resolutions are pointless for me. I can't change myself by my own willpower. It's only by grace I'm even still alive, considering how many times I've crossed the street without looking both ways (and yes, a car did have to slow down...) and almost slipped on a wet sock going down the basement stairs. 

And yet, I was enjoying a friend's Tumblr, when I found the most beautiful, simple idea posted there.

Add memories, thoughts, plans, and accomplishments to a jar throughout the year.  Open it on New Year’s Eve and read through them. 

A jar! Filled with hopes and dreams. Not 'resolutions'. Not practical things we 'ought' to do. The things written on our hearts. 

I have no resolutions planned, but I plan to get a jar, make it beautiful, and fill it to the brim for next New Year's Eve. I will keep you posted on this, probably, because I tend to get excited about this type of thing. 

I guess THAT is somewhat of a resolution, too. Ah, well. 

I pray God blesses your Christmas abundantly and gives you a very joyous, hopeful new year!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Some Quicksand

"A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author."
-G. K. Chesterton

Sometimes writing is like struggling in quicksand.

Have you ever struggled in quicksand?

Me neither.

But, I've read from several sources that if you struggle in quicksand, you only sink faster and get more firmly stuck in the sinkhole. (scientific facts)

Sometimes when you're writing, it's like you set out along the shortcut through the jungle with the best of intentions, pledging your undying loyalty to your work and vowing to see it through till the end.

Then, you step in something unpleasant. You look back for a second and realize there's some awful plot hole in your writing and it makes you sick and terrified just to look at it. Your character started a sentence as a hopeful, brave soul and ended it as a depressed, ignorant whiner. The whole thing is a flop and if anyone ever reads it they'll never have any semblance of respect for you again.

So you try to escape. You try to get out of it as fast as possible. You try to cover everything up with Band Aids and catch a ride with the traveling circus while your good intentions aren't looking. You just can't bear to break their hearts.

As you flounder in the muck, it never once occurs to you that you would be very buoyant in quicksand if you just stopped moving and back-floated gracefully to safety. (scientific facts)

As it is, even though you won't drown, you'll probably be stuck for life and starve to death or be eaten by a wild animal. 

If I write something well, it will be good because my character was memorable and inspiring.

If I write something awful, everyone will know what's bothering me and what my deepest fears are and just exactly why I shouldn't really be writing in the first place.

I often have to remind myself that my stories aren't about me. They were never supposed to be about me. They were supposed to be about characters who came alive inside of me, but are very unique and marvelous all on their own.

I am reading one of my birthday presents right now; a very insightful book by Anne Lamott called Bird by Bird, in which she very accurately described how I feel about good books and good characters; they get inside of you, and when they finally leave, they've changed you.

Right now I face a lot of stall-out stories and abandoned ambitions. There isn't a lot of 'completed' or 'perfected' stored on my flash drive; just a lot of 'someday' and 'maybe' and 'I'll-get-to-that-eventually'. 

Maybe the reason I so adamantly detest editing is because, as G. K. Chesterton said, my writing, because it is honestly not very good yet, reveals to me things I don't like about myself. It mirrors my fears for the future and my feelings about the past until it makes me uncomfortable with who I am and what I've written.

It never really occurs to me that, like my life, there's always going to be room for improvement.

I guess the trick, in both cases, is finding a level of imperfection you can live with.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Today is my birthday! 

Tonight, I'm going to write a letter to myself to read in a few years, remembering everything that was or was about to be when I was this age, at this time. I love to journal about everything in my life, just so I can remember all the little things we naturally forget. 

It's been a really great day. I'm almost two decades old, but it's still OK to be a little girl, and to love the silly little things, like having a bunch of your younger sibling's friends sing you happy birthday, or eat a big slice of cake and three scoops of sherbet, and skipping around just because you're happy to still be alive and still be so loved.

I am abundantly blessed. I have lived such a beautiful life and know that whatever lies before me can be even more beautiful then what lies behind. 

To anybody else who shares December 14th as their birthday, happy birthday to you, too. Hope it was a great one...God bless!

God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bright Eyed Bear Studios

A friend of mine has started a very impressive web site where she is selling her fabulous jewelry, Bright Eyed Bear Studios! I am totally going to splurge on her once I get back from Rome and don't have to stringently save money anymore. Maybe give her stuff a look...Christmas is still 11 days away, and any of her pieces would make excellent gifts!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Things I Learned from NaNoWriMo 2011 and C. S. Lewis

-- C. S. Lewis

My story for NaNo this year was based on a Grimm Fairy tale, but I foolishly decided I was cool enough to pull a C. S. Lewis and set my story in both the ordinary world, and a magical world. 

C. S. Lewis is my ultimate standard for magical stories. He can make a world outside of reality completely real, and he never lets you forget that there is a God, there is love, and magic is not all-powerful. It is wonderful. But it is also something only the child-like can truly experience.

My story is, quite frankly, awful, and far from the point where any eyes but mine shall see it's horror, but I found, as I wrote, that Charlotte, my 16 year old main character, had, like C. S. Lewis' own characters, gotten too old for magic.

It didn't happen on purpose, trust me. I write what I'm feeling too often, which leaves my characters looking like emotionally spastic teenagers with depression problems (which is a poor reflection of myself, honest). But nevertheless, as I wrote, the woods which Charlotte once believed were magical became 'scary' and the thought of them being anything but ordinary, or frightening, was childish to her.

According to C. S. Lewis, magic is something you grow out of. If you've read the extraordinary Chronicles of Narnia, you know how he incorporated that directly into the books. Characters you love so completely need to leave Narnia...because they've gotten too old for magic.

Fortunately, C. S. Lewis reassured his god-daughter Lucy that someday, she would be able to read fairy tales again. Someday, she could reenter the world of magic.

Indirectly, that's what happens to my main character, Charlotte. She needs to 'grow out' of being 'grown up' before she can see what is truly extraordinary, and except what is 'magical' again.

I love C. S. Lewis, because he never lost his sense of wonder. He suffered extreme sorrow in his life, and like every human being, extreme pain. But he held on to wonder. That is all I ask of all my work as a writer; that it has something wondrous and magical in it at all times, so that it can give all of us who are a little too old for fairy tales a taste of the wonder we're too sophisticated for, no matter how fleeting.

When I eventually go back to my NaNo Novel and try to sort out the genius amid the utter chaos, I know that I'll be taking a lot of C. S. Lewis along with me, just to help Charlotte find her way from point A to point B. I'm already looking forward to next year, and all the time in between where I can write whatever I want!

Hopefully it will all me a little bit wondrous.

Rest in peace C. S. Lewis, 1898-1963.

Have a Peppermint Winter!

We're still in Advent, but once we get to the joyful week, I feel like its time for some quality Christmas music. I hope you're having a blessed season reflecting on the true meaning of Christmas, and preparing your heart for Him to enter into it in a new, wonderful way!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dental Care

About 12 adult teeth from my mouth are missing, apparently.

They're lost.

Where did they go!?

Well, its a tricky theory about genetic 'missing teeth' I got from my mother. But they're gone, nevertheless.

I got a tooth pulled for the first time today. And I suppose you're wondering why they took a tooth from a mouth already missing like, a dozen of them.

I wondered that, myself.

Apparently, this is one of the few, CHOSEN teeth that has an adult under it, and therefore (?) it had to go. So the big one can come in and join its brethren (even though most of it's 'brethren' are still baby teeth. Huh.).

I was actually not allowed to refer to it as having a tooth 'pulled'. It was 'gently removed'. Apparently they thought I was a very weak-willed female, and if I hadn't told them my age they probably would have guessed I was like, ten. Maybe twelve.

But let me tell you this; if you have to give me like 2 shots of Novocain (I think it was two...that needle came around twice!), my head MOVES while you're yanking on my mouth, and it sounds like you're cracking my tooth apart and gouging it out bit by bit, I am very doubtful of exactly how 'gentle' you're being.

I have no idea what all they did in my mouth. There was of course the creepy 'I know you're sticking a needle in my gum I just can't SEE it' thing, and the whole 'my mouth has never been dryer...MY KINGDOM FOR SOME CHAP STICK!!' thing. I'll admit that if I was a lesser girl, I would have cried. It was a truly terrifying experience, and all the while my poor, book-less mother was out in the waiting room trying not to resort to People Magazine and suffering through Good Housekeeping.

I also somehow ended up listening to very zealous Gospel music rather than Christian rock/pop, which only heightened the ambiance.

It was a dreadful experience, overall, if we're being melodramatic.

If we're not: It's over. I lived. I didn't even rate a smoothie or milkshake and was assured I could eat right away. Bummer.

Adam Young knows how I feel.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaNoWriMo Day 30: WINNER!

Final word count: 50282.

Is the story finished?

Not even close.

Is it good to be done?
Oh, yeah!!

Thanks for sticking with me these awesome, horrible, draining 30 days!


Its a great feeling.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Day 27...BEHIND

Alas, yes, I am VERY behind on NaNo...okay, not VERY, but considerably. I worked ahead one day and slacked two, leaving me behind by one day, and now it is the evening, and I'm about 2000 words short.

Never fear! I shall type valiantly!

I had a very good Thanksgiving with family and food, and didn't really mind getting behind. If possible, I wanna hit 50,000 early (I'm at like, 42,900 right now) because of a friend visiting on Wednesday, the last day, but I'll do whatever needs to be done (within reason) to finish on time! The actual STORY will not be complete this month, but I've got a ton done and laid the groundwork for a truly excellent novel. Naturally, its a mess, and no, friends who are looking forward to reading it, you probably won't read it anytime in December, either.

But it's been great fun! It hasn't intruded on my life at all. Once I can save money for things other than feeding myself while in Europe, I think I just need to invest in a laptop, and than I'll be able to write all the time. I just don't have the resources now; I'm only being allowed to use the laptop in November because of NaNo.

Well, that's all for tonight! : )

Friday, November 25, 2011


All too often I have forgotten that I am abundantly blessed.

I'm stressed out or can't sleep at night, or school is hard or work is exhausting, and all I can focus on is how horrible my life is.

Meanwhile, God is holding me in His arms.

He's looking down at me, listening to all my silent and not-so-silent complaints, my grumblings, my sorrows, my anger, my pettiness. He's holding me, stroking my hair, and all I do is complain.

I'm in His arms, and I don't even realize He's there. 


I'm happy and content, with friends or family or all by myself, eating ice cream, drawing or writing, basking in the little good things in life, and all I can focus on is how 'lucky' I am.

MeanwhileGod is holding me in His arms.

He's looking down at me, listening to all my silent and not-so-silent laughter, hopefulness, dreaming, loving, and joy. He's holding me, stroking my hair, and I don't even acknowledge Him.

I'm in His arms, and I don't even realize He's there.

Even when I am thankful for my blessings, I often forget Who it is that has blessed me.

Thank you, God. Thank you.

~ Happy Thanksgiving ~

Address Is Approximate

Amazing little video that warmed my heart. Enjoy : )

Friday, November 18, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Day 18, CHARACTERS!!

Charlotte Worth, 16 (and The Frog)

Toby Worth, 23

These characters were created at, and they turned out absolutely amazing! My only complaint is Charlotte's hair is not quite how I imagine it, and I had no way to make Toby look older/taller than his younger sister, but ah, well. Since I just couldn't get them to look right drawing them, I'm very pleased with this. More characters in the future? Possibly...not sure yet. These are the two main characters, anyway. 

Things are going well still! Word count is 29,186...but I haven't even reached the climax yet. Oy. So I'm thinking I'll have to start writing scenes rather than just go in chronological order, otherwise November will end and I won't even have a complete skeleton of my novel! 

That's it for now...I'm off to bump my word count some more : ).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NaNoWriMo Day 16...I'M NOT DEAD!

I am, however, very tired, and therefore....



Yes, Anna. I know. But I needed the 'shmallow kitty.

Current word count: 27146.

Novel excerpts 1 and 2:


Once upon a time, there was a kind, just king and a queen who lived in a beautiful castle, in an enchanted forest, beside the most magical lake in all the world. All they ever wanted was to have children, and they got their wish. They had one handsome son, a prince, who was the kindest person in the world. But he was all alone. They wanted another child, someone for the prince to love and grow up with, but it didn’t seem they would ever get that wish. But they hoped and they prayed, and finally, seven years later, they had one more child; a girl, a little daughter, who loved the prince more than anything else in the world.
                Ok. So they weren’t really a king and a queen. They didn’t live in a castle. The forest wasn’t enchanted. The lake wasn’t magical. The boy wasn’t a prince, and the girl was not a princess.
                But, to Charlotte, all of it was true.


Charlotte couldn’t help but wonder at the stupidity of what she’d just done. Everyone says that love is blind, and people do crazy things when they’re in love. But Charlotte could only believe that love saw everything perfectly. It was emotion that got you all muddled up. Maybe if she’d had food in her stomach, she wasn’t freezing to death, and she wasn’t still so emotionally distraught over losing Toby; she could have made a better, far less emotional decision. But the die had been cast and the deed was done. She had sealed her fate, for better or worse.
The lion walked for a very long time, and Charlotte finally fell asleep. She had fitful dreams about her family; her mother crying, her father disparaging… so much hurt and pain. Even asleep she couldn’t escape it. 

It's going well!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Day 8!

I lost my big lead over the weekend  but I currently have 11960 words and my story is going strong.

I am really enjoying NaNo...thank you to everyone following this perilous journey!

Friday, November 4, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Day 4 ART!!

HURRAH! Today, I present you with the stellar art I have available for my NaNo Novel! Behold!

These two BREATHTAKING icons were made by my dear friend, Kayla the Graphic Design Nut. I love her nearly, and she was even willing to edit for me!

And this was made by me, today. Its not very fact, it took the least amount of skill possible to create an edited photo, but it is meaningful to me because it is part of the story. 

It's going well...I'm past the 10,000 word mark! 1/5 of the way done!

Prayers, please! 

God bless you this weekend. 


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo: DAY 1


Day 1, and my word count is 3,100.

And that was AFTER the computer crashed and I lost roughly 200 words.

A rough start, but I am PUMPED.


Friday, October 28, 2011

St. Jude: Happy feast day!

Happy Feast Day to our Heavenly Older Brother, St. Jude Thaddeus!

Thank  you, St. Jude, for answering every request I've made to you, most importantly and most recently, my prayer request for my co-worker to find a new home after she and her roommate were evicted. She was able to find a place to rent comfortably within her salary. 

If you ever feel you are in a desperate, almost despaired-of situation, consider this powerful novena to the tireless intercessor, St. Jude

St. Jude, pray for us!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


An anticipated surprise.

There's an oxymoron.

If you anticipate a surprise, it isn't a surprise anymore.

It's like expecting the unexpected.

Not literally possible.

So...why am I waiting for a surprise?

I hear a noise behind me, and my petty, gift-loving self perks up its ears and says, "Is that somebody about to surprise me!?"

I think that must be a sign of progressing insanity.

Why on earth do I keep thinking someone, or something, is going to surprise me?

Why am I  waiting for something special?

Do I really deserve something out of the ordinary...something surprising?

Is it wrong to long for surprise?

Should I go looking for my own kind of surprise...or make my own?

Am I unhappy with the ordinary? Am I bored? Or do I need to climb up onto my desk and look at everything from a different perspective?

So many questions...and what is it I'm waiting for?

When you're young, there is so much to anticipate, that sometimes it negates what has happened, and more importantly, what is happening. I think maybe that's what's happening now.

Maybe my expectations have swallowed up my existence.

"Our hearts are restless until they rest in You, oh Lord."
--St. Augustine

Dear God, please help me to let go of this need for something besides You. This restlessness, this need to be jolted awake, this desire for surprise, I believe You have placed it within me. Help me to turn the entirety of this desire to You, in Whom alone my heart can find rest. Let every restless heart find peace in You, oh Lord. Let us anticipate Your love and Your call above all else. Amen.

"There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ."
--Pope Benedict XVI

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

NaNoWriMo: On Omitted Tales

I love my mother.

She used one of her much-coveted credits on Paperback Swap to get me The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, Volume II by Jack Zipes.

Best book ever.

Within this legendary volume of magical mischief, Jack Zipes included something I had never heard of before:


So. What is an 'omitted tale'?

According to Jack Zipes, it is a tale that was removed from the original collection of Grimm Fairy tales due to similarities to other tales, similarities to tales by other people (like Hans Christian Anderson), because it was too gory, or because it was incomplete. 

For NaNoWriMo this year, I am re-writing a story called The Lion and the Frog, a tale that was omitted due to similarities to other tales. But this one is seriously fantastic. It involves faithful familial love between a brother and a sister, talking animals, magical secret gardens, and a world of sick, marvelous fan-fiction possibilities!! 

*pause for maniacal laughter*

I know WHY this tale was omitted...but I don't UNDERSTAND it. Its awesome. Its better than a lot of the ones it's 'similar' too.

But who am I to judge an age-old decision to axe a story?

All I can say is I am extremely grateful Jack Zipes found and included this story in his edition. 


Monday, October 24, 2011

Reasons for Rejoicing

Why rejoice?

Why bother?

Life is full of awful things; rape, theft, murder, betrayal, denial, greed, selfishness, accidents, disasters, suffering, misery, despair, and ultimately: death.

So, why rejoice?

As Christians, we are practically ORDERED to rejoice:

"Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I sayRejoice." Philippians 4:4

But obviously we can't rejoice without a reason. 

So the question is:

IS there a reason to rejoice.

Yes. Yes, there is.

My reason for rejoicing is that I have been given hope. I have hope that God's love never fails, and will never abandon me or forsake me, no matter what I do. No matter how hopeless I seem or how alone I may feel, I have hope that by God's grace, I will make it to Heaven where I will never be afraid again.

This is the reason for my hope. And I rejoice.

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." - 1 Peter 3:15

God bless NET team #7 and the DYC staff who put on an amazing retreat for my diocese yesterday. Thank you for your love and example; thank you for reminding us to rejoice.



I think I finally found someone who said what I was trying to express about my feelings for this movie.

This is beautiful, and sums up all the feelings that bubble up inside me every time I watch it.

**this makes me happy**

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Composition Qtr 1 Week 7, Movie Critic

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Vs. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
            The two films The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief are from the same year (2010), the same genre (fantasy), the same film studio (Disney), and have many fundamental similarities. However, they have many more technical differences that put them leagues apart in quality.
            Both movies merge action and fantasy and appealed to a broad spectrum of ages and interests. They both used the tried and true ‘misfit becomes hero’ formula; both the heroes of the movies, Percy Jackson and Dave Stutler, were always different from the people around them and many times questioned their own sanity because of unexplainable circumstances their unique gifts led to. Interestingly, both characters were from New York City, too.
            The Lightning Thief, based on Rick Riordan’s New York Times bestseller series*, came out in February 2010. Starring in it were Logan Lerman and Pierce Brosnan. The movie got a lot of hype because of the large fan base the book series has. Taken completely aside from the fact that it deviated from the book, the movie was overall very disappointing, especially when compared to The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The special effects were rather poor, especially scenes that could have been so much more visually stunning. The plot wasn’t well conveyed and often relied on random humor to keep you interested. A pet peeve of mine is when you can obviously tell people are ‘acting’. There were a lot of scenes where the actors didn’t express enough emotion to convince you of the story. The intensity and action were inconsistent throughout, and the romance between Percy Jackson (Lerman) and Annabeth Chase (Alexandra Daddario) was unconvincing. The ending was semi-satisfying, but left you wanting a sequel just to more strongly conclude it.
            The Sorcerer’s Apprentice came out three months later in July. Starring in it were Nicholas Cage and Jay Baruchel. It was based off of a clip from a Disney Fantasia video. The special effects were incredible and very well-done, especially considering how many parts with animals they had in it, along with a very realistic dragon. The story was conveyed well and very smoothly. The actors reacted realistically to events and kept everything both believable and enjoyable. The action was consistent, and the humor was witty and well distributed throughout the movie. Dave Stutler’s (Baruchel) relationship with Becky Barnes (Teresa Palmer) developed believably and both of them were a little bit awkward, which was a fun relief from the stereo-typical movie couple. The ending was gratifying, but also left hints that might someday lead to a sequel of some sort.
            Every movie needs good plot, good characters, good action, and, yes, good romance. Overall, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice much more satisfyingly delivered on every level than The Lightning Thief. Certain scenes in The Lightning Thief were truly fantastic, particularly the scene in the Lotus Casino, and certain elements of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice were disappointing, and the plot could have been more thoroughly developed. Taken as a whole, while I enjoyed both movies, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was much more enchanting and thrilling, and it’s one that I could easily watch again and again.

*Note: I made every effort to honestly assess the movie Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, which was overall disappointing, but this review was not written to the effect that the movie didn’t do the books justice, but expresses my actual feelings about the movie on its own. I would just like to say, however, now that the essay is done, that the book series by Rick Riordan is amazing beyond all reason, and no, the movie did NOT do it justice.