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.