Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas 2013 - The Reason for My Hope

On December 14th, I celebrated my 19th birthday. It was an amazing day, especially because I was able to spend it with my boyfriend and his family. 
But I received a special blessing on my birthday this year while I was at Mass that night. I was praying, reflecting on Advent, how we are waiting, not only to celebrate Christ's birth, but also anticipating Him coming again. 
And I suddenly realized: "This is why we have any hope in this world."
If Jesus had not come, and if He does not return, we are helpless. We have no hope for a future. We are only living for ourselves in the moment - nothing matters without the redemption that comes from Jesus, our Emmanuel. 
I had great peace in reflecting on the fact that God sent His only son to be needy and poor - to be an infant - to redeem us in our fallen humanity. 

I don't know if I'll have any more updates until after I am back from Rome in January, so I hope that you are filled with the Spirit of Christmas, and the joy of the Christ Child, today, and all throughout the new year. 
See you in 2014 - and, rejoice, for unto us is born a Savior! 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Update - My Hero Excerpt!

The Write Everything

Who has the most neglected blog on the internet, right?

I've learned that I punish myself for not writing by not allowing myself to make a blog post.

Which tells you just how long I went without writing.

But, for the past few days, I've been in a frenzy of writing productivity working on my long-overdue 2010 NaNo Novel!

Things are going very well. You would not believe how effective getting rid of Zach was.

I also changed a male character to a female character, which will make things a tiny bit tricky (you have no idea how annoying it is to have to change the masculine to feminine EVERYWHERE I've already written with this character).

I'll pause and explain WHY I did that.

I have 3 NaNoWriMo novels that are started and need to be rewritten to be finished. All three of those novels, 1) My Hero, 2) The Lion and the Frog, and 3) Leprechaun Holiday, have a 'big brother' character. This may have something to do with the fact that I don't have an older brother and have always wanted one.

Besides the 3 NaNo Novels, I have a 2-book set in my head based on the fairy tale Thumbelina, 4) Flower & Thorn, and 5) Tommelise, which will ALSO have a big brother character in it.

[Why are there too many story ideas and not enough time/energy to write them?]

So, I figured that wouldn't do. Books #2, #4, and #5 DEPEND on having a big brother character. So I'm working with what can be changed. Luckily, the fastest and easiest fix is to switch the big brother in My Hero to a big sister.

It actually makes more sense in the long run.


Aside from those 5 potential novels, I actually have a musical in my head right now. The plot was originally from a story (obviously), but the story is about a couple who rashly decide to break their engagement off, and how they eventually learn they don't want to be with anyone else.


So, anyway, that's an update on what I'm working on.

And, to reward you for coming back to my blog after my embarrassing hiatus, I give you:


As usual, this is a first draft, so it may eventually be completely different, but for the time-being, its one of my favorite scenes I've written thus far. It's also one of those PAY ATTENTION BECAUSE EVERYTHING IN THIS SCENE WILL COME BACK AT SOME POINT IN THE BOOK scenes.


“Look out!” a voice yelped.
Peach skidded to a stop right in front of Fr. Albert Gregg, the priest from Claypool who came to Bendbridge every Sunday to say the 10 a.m. Mass. Bendbridge had no priest of its own, only the big, broken down, supposedly haunted church. . Peach realized she and Sukie were nearly to the skate park – she was standing in the shadow of the St. Flannan’s Church steeple. Without thinking, Peach took a picture of Fr. Gregg’s startled face.
He laughed. “I look that good, huh?”
“Sorry, Father!” Peach cried. “I wasn’t watching where I was going,”
“No trouble,” he said. He lifted the stack of papers he held in his hands. “I’m just here to hang these around town,” He held one of them up, and Peach read the header quickly.  
Peach gasped involuntarily. “Oh my gosh – really?”
Fr. Gregg nodded, looking a little crestfallen. “Unfortunately, St. Flannan’s is being closed. The bishop sees no point in trying to keep it open. It needs too many repairs and doesn’t get enough donations,”
For some reason, Peach felt like crying. She wasn’t sure why. “I don’t want it to close,” she said sadly.
Fr. Gregg raised his eyebrows. “Do you go to church every Sunday, Patricia?”
Peach blushed, and shook her head sheepishly. “My mom works a lot of Sunday’s, and she wants me to stay home and clean for our renters, and…”
Fr. Gregg held up a hand to stop her. “I don’t need a confession, Patricia, I’m just trying to make a point. Very few people in Bendbridge even come to church every Sunday. And most of the people who do attend Mass drive to Claypool instead of going here in town. No one really likes the church. They all say it’s haunted. And maybe they’re right. Sometimes I’ve gotten plenty spooked in there. Anyway, it’ll be fine, Patricia. Anyone who is still interested in attending Mass can drive to Claypool either Saturday or Sunday,”
“Peach?” Sukie called from further down the sidewalk.
“Coming!” Peach replied, waving to her friend. She looked back at Fr. Gregg. “I’m still sorry. I’d go to Mass every day to keep it open. I’m going to miss it,”
Fr. Gregg smiled at her, and made her feel very stupid by patting her helmet. “Don’t get upset about any of it, Patricia. Keep reading your bible and praying, and everything will be fine,”
He hurried away into the Church, and Peach watched him go. She always felt like Fr. Gregg didn’t take anyone in Bendbridge seriously, and that made her sad, too.
She skated quickly to catch up with Sukie at the corner. They stopped to let some cars pass, and Peach found herself staring into the cemetery behind St. Flannan’s.
“What was that all about?” Sukie asked.
Peach sighed. “The church is going to close and they’re gonna tear it down in the spring,”
“Really?” Sukie sounded surprised. “Too bad. I wonder what they’ll put here instead. They can’t exactly move the cemetery,”
“I didn’t even think about that,” Peach said. Her Grandpa Roy’s grave was in the St. Flannan Cemetary. She hoped they didn’t stick a McDonalds or anything equally disrespectful in the center of town once the Church was gone. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Photo Edits 11/27/13

Click to view larger. All editing done at PicMonkey.com

"Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough."
-Ernest Hemingway

Photo taken by my lovely sister Terese.

Houghton Falls, Washburn, WI. Photo taken by my grandmother.

Orvietto, Italy. Photo taken by Dawn V. 

Oh she could've been mine
but we ran out of summertime.
Out of Summertime - Scotty McCreary

The perfect words
never crossed my mind
'cause there was nothing in there
but you
Signal Fire - Snow Patrol

Photo taken by my sister Meg

when you were naive
you were so invincible

Soldier - Goo Goo Dolls

your skin
oh yeah
your skin and bones
turn in 
to something beautiful

Yellow - Coldplay

Photo taken by Terese

among my frivolous thoughts
i believe 
there are beautiful things
seen by the astronauts

Angels - Owl City

Photo taken by Meg

Sunday, November 24, 2013


I found a quote from Neil Gaiman yesterday:


I like Neil Gaiman's answer, but even more so, I like the question. Where do you get ideas? 

That's a rather good question.

I've talked to a lot of people who are impressed by the fact that I like to write, and they say something along the lines of: "I want to write a book, but I don't have any good ideas,"

The truth may be that I am not exactly a helpful person, because I always say that EVERYONE has ideas, some people just don't know how to get them out of their heads. 

I've always had ideas. I remember when I couldn't read, and I ignored words because they meant nothing to me, I would sit in a very small corner between the fridge and the cupboard in my family's kitchen with the biggest picture book we had. I would sit and I would quietly say what I thought the characters in the pictures were saying - complete with different voices for each character. I was making up stories. I was full of ideas. 

That's never gone away; it's gotten stronger. I get ideas from many places. These are the one's off the top of my head...

1. In the shower (I don't know why, but showers are amazing for ideas).

2. Folding laundry (again...don't know why...).

3. Washing dishes (SERIOUSLY. I love washing dishes when I'm in a creative rut.).

4. Song lyrics (Who else has written an entire novel based off one song?).


6. Pictures.

7. Listening to people talk about their lives.* 

8. Books.

9. Long walks outside.

10. Single words.

11. Scenes from movies.

12. Memories.

13. * Heck, PEOPLE in general. 

Every new flower is a story. Every new song is an adventure. Ideas are everywhere. There is no limit to imagination. An idea can come from absolutely anything. I got a story idea from sea monkeys once. I have yet to write that book, but the idea seriously came from sea monkeys. 

I love ideas. They blossom from cracks in sidewalks. I once stood on a very small manhole cover labeled WATER and said, "This looks like it could be a time machine,"

See? An idea.

I have this terrible desire to make myself a T-shirt that says "I'LL PUT YOU IN A BOOK SOMEDAY" because every new person is a new idea, who could eventually wind up in another idea, and become a story. 

It's very true, what Mr. Gaiman says. Ideas do sometimes just come together like magic in an author's mind. But there's more to it than that. 

Ideas are everywhere. You just have to notice them. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pain and Greatness

This past Monday night, I couldn't sleep. Aside from having drank a large cup of espresso (don't do it), something had happened that was just making me feel so anxious and worried, and I had spent the whole evening trying to cover up that painful feeling of uncertainty. 

It wasn't even a big or important thing that happened. It was just that someone had not said something I expected them to, and it made me wonder if I'd done something wrong. But my heart is very sensitive, and that one little thing brought on all the things that had been bothering me for the past few weeks. 

When it rains, it pours. 

So I was lying in bed, trying to think of creative ways to numb the ache in my heart. And that was when God invited me not to run from my suffering, but to 'enter into it'. 

This is something I've been trying to wrap my head around ever since I wrote a very long, in depth paper on redemptive suffering. I started really wondering about pain, and how our pain can lead to healing. 

But, when we ARE in pain, the world tells us that the answer is to numb the pain, cover the pain up, make the pain GO AWAY. I believe that no one sets out to suffer. Sometimes people use physical pain to escape the deeper emotional and spiritual pain, but no one WANTS to suffer. That's why we have Tylenol and Advil, right? 

In contrast to what the world tells us, God tells us that we must not run from pain. We must truly experience pain by entering into it. We need to go into it and FEEL it, and see where its coming from. 

Pain, like fear, never goes away until you treat the cause of it. 

So I entered in. I let myself ask, "Why is this bothering me? Why would it be so painful if this thing I'm afraid of happened? Why am I trying to cover it up? And what about all these other things?"

I let myself cry, and I admitted to God, "I need You. I don't know how to make this go away. I don't know how to feel better. I don't know how to fix all these wounds and broken parts in me,"

I don't like pain. Especially emotional and spiritual pain. I avoid pain in ALL its ugly forms wherever I can. Most of all, I avoid things that scare me, because fear is more painful than anything else. 

The world tells me that's exactly what I should do. I should never just let pain happen. I should try and avoid it, and when it comes, I should cover it up right away. 

But, from now on, I am going to make every effort not to run from pain. Monday night was rough. I didn't want to enter into the labrinth of painful fears and wounds in my heart. It hurt, and I wanted to run away from it. 

However, after I'd just sat with the pain for a little while, I saw that it was OKAY to suffer. In fact, it was good to suffer in that particular moment. By not running away from it, by facing it, I was able to accept it. That acceptance made it much easier to bear, and I had a sense that everything would be alright. 

I remembered that pain goes away. If we face it, it has an end. 

Suffering is hard. It's painful. It's difficult to reconcile with what we believe about God's love for us. It's embarrassing to be vulnerable in our pain to others. It's uncomfortable. 

But Christ Himself suffered in the worst way in all of human history, so I will not run away from suffering anymore. I will unite my suffering with His. 

Because we were made for greatness, not comfort. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Halloween 2013

On Halloween this year, I had to work all day. My boss told me I could dress up, so I was trying to figure out a good costume. I was originally going to be Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, but I had no sparkly red shoes. Without the shoes, that costume wasn't going to fly.

My second choice was Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus, but it turns out dresses as ugly as that are REALLY hard to find.

So, at the very last minute, I raided my closet and came up with this.

edited with PicMonkey

 TA - DA! 

I was Eliza Doolittle! 

Favorite Actress and favorite musical :) My Fair Lady (Audrey Hepburn)

And, as it turned out, I was the only one who dressed up, but it was still a lot of fun. The only bad part was the shoes I decided to wear were killing me two hours into my eight hour shift. 

And, yes, I chose to dress up as Eliza with the full knowledge that absolutely NO ONE was going to know who I was. But I was actually wrong; one woman knew immediately who I was. That was pretty cool. But among the other guesses I got:

2 people guessed I was Annie.

3 people thought I was Mary Poppins.

1 guy I work with thought I was someone from Fiddler on the Roof.

1 person guessed 'random homeless person'. Thanks.

And 1 person thought I was a hobo.

I find it interesting that the majority of the guesses were characters from a musical. That made me very happy. I was unmistakably from a musical, the only question was which musical.

For those of you (and by this, Steve, yes, I am talking about you) who don't know who Eliza Doolittle is or where she is from, here's my personal favorite song from the musical My Fair Lady, Wouldn't it Be Loverly.

Eliza is one of my top musical heroines for three reasons: 

1. She was played by Audrey Hepburn for the 1964 movie, and by Julie Andrews in the original Broadway production. 

That reason could stand on it's own. I mean, really. Audrey Hepburn and Julie Andrews. Enough said. But I do have two more reasons...

2. Eliza isn't a perfect character by any means. She's weird. She can be downright irritating. But she has a strength inside her that makes me love her. She's willing to work for what she wants, and she knows she has dignity and worth, even if she's just a 'poor flower girl'. When she's been 'made into a lady' by Professor Henry Higgins, she says something so profound.
She sums up the truth, that she may very well have been better off selling flowers in the streets:

"I sold flowers. I didn't sell myself. 
Now you've made a lady of me, I'm not fit to sell anything else," 

This realization helps her choose that she, herself, and the dignity she possesses, are more useful and important to her than being a lady, or being accepted by high society.

3. She loves Henry Higgins even though he's obnoxious, rude, and abrasive. She brings out the best in Higgins. I love that. I love that she doesn't care whether or not being in love is perfect and rosy for her. She just loves. *

My mom told me I should talk in a cockney accent all day, but I didn't think I could pull it off. Maybe another year. When I'm not at work all day.

Well, Happy Halloween 2013!

*I'm not 100% certain that she doesn't end up with Freddy and not Higgins. I found a synopsis of the movie with a note at the end suggesting that in the original play by George Bernard Shaw, she married Freddy. But in the movie, she pretty much dumps him. Either way, it doesn't negate my point. Eliza is capable of loving even the most unlovable of people. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

All Saints Day 2013


Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.


Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of heaven,
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Spirit,
Holy Trinity, one God,
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
Holy Mary,
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,
St. Michael,
St. Gabriel,
St. Raphael,
All you Holy Angels and Archangels,
St. John the Baptist,
St. Joseph,
All you Holy Patriarchs and Prophets,
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
St. Peter,
St. Paul,
St. Andrew,
St. James,
St. John,
St. Thomas,
St. James,
St. Philip,
St. Bartholomew,
St. Matthew,
St. Simon,
St. Jude,
St. Matthias,
St. Barnabas,
St. Luke,
St. Mark,
All you holy Apostles and Evangelists,
All you holy Disciples of the Lord,
All you holy Innocents,
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
St. Stephen,
St. Lawrence,
St. Vincent,
Sts. Fabian and Sebastian,
Sts. John and Paul,
Sts. Cosmos and Damian,
All you holy Martyrs,
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
St. Sylvester,
St. Gregory,
St. Ambrose,
St. Augustine,
St. Jerome,
St. Martin,
St. Nicholas,
All you holy Bishops and Confessors,
All you holy Doctors,
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
St. Anthony,
St. Benedict,
St. Bernard,
St. Dominic,
St. Francis,
All you holy Priests and Levites,
All you holy Monks and Hermits,
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
St. Mary Magdalene,
St. Agatha,
St. Lucy,
St. Agnes,
St. Cecilia,
St. Anastasia,
St. Catherine,
St. Clare,
All you holy Virgins and Widows,
All you holy Saints of God,
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
Lord, be merciful,
From all evil,
From all sin,
From your wrath,
From a sudden and unprovided death,
From the snares of the devil,
From anger, hatred, and all ill-will,
From the spirit of uncleanness,
From lightning and tempest,
From the scourge of earthquake,
From plague, famine, and war,
From everlasting death, 
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
By the mystery of your holy Incarnation,
By your Coming,
By your Birth,
By your Baptism and holy fasting,
By your Cross and Passion,
By your Death and Burial,
By your holy Resurrection,
By your wonderful Ascension,
By the coming of the Holy Spirit,
On the day of judgment,
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Be merciful to us sinners,Lord, hear our prayer.
That you will spare us,
That you will pardon us,
That it may please you to bring us to true
Guide and protect your holy Church,
Preserve in holy religion the Pope, and all
     those in holy Orders,
Humble the enemies of holy Church,
Give peace and unity to the whole Christian
Bring back to the unity of the Church all
     those who are straying, and bring all
     unbelievers to the light of the Gospel,
Strengthen and preserve us in your holy
Raise our minds to desire the things of
Reward all our benefactors with eternal
Deliver our souls from eternal damnation,
     and the souls of our brethren, relatives,
     and benefactors,
Give and preserve the fruits of the earth,
Grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed,
That it may please You to hear and heed
     us, Jesus, Son of the Living God,
Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of
     the world,
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of
     the world,
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of
     the world,
Spare us, O Lord!Graciously hear us, O Lord!
Have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us,Lord Jesus, hear our prayer.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, graciously hear us
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Writing Update: Zach is Axed

2010 was the first year I took part in NaNoWriMo, and I had no idea what I was doing. I barely had a plot for the story I started, My Hero (it was never finished even though I reached 50k words). So a lot of random, weird things got thrown into the pot.

One of my characters was a seventeen year old boy named Zachery Green. He was supposed to be this tall, handsome Korean boy whom my protagonist was meant to fall madly in love with.

Well, that was pretty stupid. The way I wrote it, no one would have cared whether or not Zach and Peach ended up together. I DIDN'T CARE! I was going to have Zach move to another state at the end of the book, anyway. I broke his leg at one point. I said I loved him, but I think I hated him.

Part of it was that I was trying too hard not to make Zach like the guy I had a crush on. So he had no personality. He was just like this male blob who I figured I could mold into a believable character at some point.

I still don't have a handle on Zach as a character. I have no idea what makes this guy tick. And I made a promise to my boyfriend, and to myself, to finish my NaNo novels before moving on to something new. My Hero is the logical place to start, since the skeleton is 3 years old now.

So, in my efforts to rework My Hero and actually be able to write 'the end' with a smile instead of a grimace, I have officially cut the character Zach Green from the story completely.

Zach is axed.

Worse, Zach is REPLACED.

I am putting in a different male character who has yet to be given a name, but is actually based off of a guy I know. He is nothing like Zach was. His role in the story will be completely different.

And I admit I feel kind of bad about that. But Zach was never really a character...he was more of an anti-character. Because all I was doing with him was making him DIFFERENT from my crush. That made him boring and somehow very ADHD at the same time.

So, I press onward, WITHOUT Zach. Maybe I'll put him in a different story someday.

Maybe he'll actually have a personality then.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Photo Edits 10/18/13

And all I feel
in my stomach is butterflies
The beautiful kind
making up for lost time

Everything Has Changed  - Taylor Swift
feat. Ed Sheeran

I keep dreaming
you'll be with me
and you'll never go

Far Away - Nickelback

we are fragile
we are human
we are shaped 
by the light 
we let through us

Thomson Square - Glass

A.M.D.G = Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam


Meaning "All for the greater glory of God."

your mouth is poison
your mouth is wine

Poison and Wine - The Civil Wars

Photos taken by my sister Terese, my Grandmother, or myself. All photo editing done at http://www.picmonkey.com/.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

"Totus Tuus Sum, Maria"




My favorite image of our Lady and Jesus.

This past Sunday, I made a total consecration to Jesus through Mary. Who wouldn't want to be Mary's best friend, once you get to know her?

This was very important to me, because Marian Consecration is said to be the "fastest, easiest, and surest" way of becoming a saint. I talked about how much I desire to be a saint in my post The Biggest Dream back in July of 2012. 

Becoming a saint is never easy, but, hopefully, Mary can make it easier for me. 

"Totus Tuus Sum, Maria"

I am totally yours, Mary, Mother of our Redeemer. 
Virgin of God, gracious Virgin, Mother of the Savior of the world. 
I belong to you entirely. 
All that I possess is yours. 
I take you into everything that is mine. 
Lend me your heart, O Mary. 

Monday, October 14, 2013


Molly K. (Sophie) kissing Aidan D. (Thomas)

Holy smokes. I just got back yesterday from what has now taken the honored spot of 'most amazing thing that's happened to me' in my life.

I got to attend both performances, Friday and Saturday, of the One Act Play Festival at the Words Players theater in Rochester, Minnesota.

As those who read my blog know, I wrote a short play called Favorite Color about a girl who tries to teach a blind boy about color through senses other than sight. It was so much fun, and I loved the story. Despite some rather crushing criticism, I couldn't be convinced that it wasn't beautiful, and I submitted it to Words Players, hoping they would choose it for the One Act Plays.

Not long after submitting Favorite Color, I learned that Words Players might be closing. I was upset at the thought of the theater closing down, and not actually because that would mean my play would never have a chance of being seen on a stage.

No - I was upset because, for me, it was a truly devastating thought that an organization as special and unique as Northland Words might be disappearing from the world. Fortunately, through donations, support, and prayers, the theater was able to stay open and the One Act Play festival would go on.

I learned that my play had been selected while I was at work on September 9th, 2013.

This past Friday, my Dad drove me to Rochester for the opening night of the One Act Plays...of my play.

I got to meet the most incredible people as soon as I walked into the theater. One of my fellow playwrights, a man named John Byrne, greeted me and immediately asked me about my play. It's cool and unusual for me to meet someone and have them just understand this weird thing that I did: write words for actors to repeat and walk around to.

Everyone was happy to see me - surprisingly so. I really did not expect so many people - directors, actors, audience members, staff - to approach me and tell me how happy they were that I came. I knew or recognized quite a few people from previous times that I'd been there, and for some reason I always feel at home when I walk into that place.

I was also surprised by the enthusiastic response of my family and friends who were there. My grandparents, my godfather, and my boyfriend's mom, grandma, and younger siblings came. The second night, my mom and all but 3 of my siblings came. It was so awesome to be able to share it with them.

My play was the second one performed both nights, and I cannot even express how perfect the cast was. A friend of mine, Abby, played the mother (or, in the case of the second performance, sister) character, which I couldn't have been happier about. I've known her as long as I've known Words Players, and it really was a blessing for her to be a part of it. Sophie Rood, my feisty female protagonist, was played by a wonderful young lady named Molly. Molly is seriously like Sophie come to life - she was absolutely, spot-on perfect. Thomas White was played by Aidan, and he made the character so believable. It was almost like watching a real conversation between two people.

And the strangest thing was, I had never before been able to imagine my play actually being performed. I had never been part of theater in any big way before, so it seemed to me that Favorite Color could never smoothly transition from words on a page to a performance. But it did. It was beautiful.

I don't want to sound pompous, but, of all seven plays, mine was my favorite. I enjoyed mine the most. Not just because I wrote it, but because the actors just ran with it and made it so completely delightful. I enjoyed seeing the play I had written really come to life.

I got to meet the cast of my play, and the young lady who directed it. It was like meeting long-lost friends. I immediately loved all of them, because they were part of something I had made. The second performance had a few changes, because after the first night, we talked about some of the ideas they'd had - they thought about changing Abby's character from the mother to the sister, so that she could be texting while she was supposed to be leading Thomas safely through the park. I told them I would love to see that, so on Saturday night, they did it.

Seated: Clare Speltz, author of FAVORITE COLOR
Standing: Abby Kuhlmann, Aidan Driscoll, director Valerie Sauder, Molly Kiley

Abby, Aidan, Valerie, Molly, and I.

There is so much more. So much. This was the greatest experience and biggest blessing of my life. I can't fit it all in one blog post; the things that were said and all the emotions I felt. And it really wasn't even that big of a deal; I wrote an 8 minute play, three kids performed it twice, and I just so happened to be there. 

But, when I had been told that my play was terrible, and I was sitting in front of my laptop, trying to weigh the criticism I'd received and trying to decide whether or not to scrap the whole thing, there was something that I asked God for very specifically. I asked that it would not get accepted by Words Players unless it would bring Him glory and honor. I said, "This is not mine, this is Yours. I give it to You." And if there was one thing that this play was, to me, and to so many people, it was a blessing. I have never felt so blessed by an experience before, and I know that is because my prayer was answered. My play brought God glory and honor in some small way, and that makes it a big deal. At least to me.

Sometime last year, I wrote these words on the top of a page in my writing notebook:

It may not change the world, 
but it changes you.

I wasn't even sure what I meant by this, until now. My play, and the experience of having it chosen and performed, may not have changed the world. But it has changed me. It has rekindled a fire in me that I was letting die out. It has shown me the power of completing something, and being brave enough to send it out into the world, and see what comes back.

If you would like to see my play, you can! The second performance was captured on tape and posted online. 

Also, if you would like to watch the Talk Back discussion I took part in after the performance, it is here

I hope you enjoy it - let me know! 

The question people have been asking me since Friday night is this: will I keep writing plays?

Absolutely. I may never stop. I never thought of having plays performed as a form of publication, but now I think it may be the best form. When a book gets published, everyone reads the same words. When a play is performed, every performance is unique. Little things are always new and better. I know of at least one woman who might die of joy if I wrote a play for the homeschool group my siblings are in, so that might be a good place to start. 

Abby Kuhlmann, author of JOURNEY TO MADRID, and Clare Speltz, author of FAVORITE COLOR

Abby and I, grinning because we're playwrights and we know it.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this in any way at all. 

Thank you Dad for being my biggest fan. Thank you Dad, Mom, and Anna for your editing and critiquing. Thank you Amy for being excited for me and with me. Thank you Steve for believing in me. Thank you Words Players for choosing my play. Thank you Valerie for directing it. Thank you Molly for being the best Sophie I could ask for. Thank you Aidan for being a perfect Thomas. Thank you Abby for being willing to take the role of mother/sister when someone else dropped out, and for being such a good friend. Thank you to Tim and Juliet for coming when I never imagined you would. Thank you Terri, Sandy, Maggie and Joe, for coming even though I'm just your son/grandson/brother's girlfriend. Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for coming and telling me my play was the best, even if it wasn't true. Thank you Catherine for coming all the way from West Saint Paul just for my play. Thank you Mom for coming all the way from home. Thank you Meg, for coming even though it was crazy inconvenient. Thank you Joe, Terese, and Ella for being so patient while I chatted till way past your bedtime. Thank you Daved Driscoll for being so generous with your time and opening up many doors for me to pray about. Thank you to everyone who went out of their way to tell me they loved it. Thank you to everyone whose name I may have forgotten, because I have not forgotten you. 
And thank you, for all your prayers and support. It means so much. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Come to Me - Goo Goo Dolls

Forgive this band for having a strange name. Please.

I have been a fan of the Goo Goo Dolls pretty much my entire life. This is probably because my mother loved them ever since they were featured in an episode of Sesame Street. Amazing how that works out. 

I heard this song just this morning on my way to work, and I said, "This is a cool song. It sounds like John Rzeznick," (The lead singer of the Goo Goo Dolls)

My mother didn't think so. "Hm. It sounds like him, but I don't think it is,"

"I think its the Goo Goo Dolls,"

She didn't think so. 

Cue DJ at the end of the song, verifying that it was, indeed, the Goo Goo Dolls.

This might be the most beautiful song I've heard by them.

Enjoy : )

You and me, we've both got sins
I don't care about where you've been
Don't be sad and don't explain
This is where we start again

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Photo Edits 9/22/13

~ click to see larger ~

I'm boarding up the windows
locking up my heart
it's like every time the wind blows
I feel it tearing us apart

Hurricane - Bridgit Mendler

stop thinking about
the easy way out
there's no need to
go and blow the candle out

Lullaby - Nickelback

I can't stand to fly
I'm not that naive

Superman - Five for Fighting

All photos taken by myself or my younger sister (thank you for putting up with me, Meg!)
Edited using PicMonkey

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Neglecting the Gift

* I know my last post was really deep, too, but these things needed to be said. 
Maybe I'll make a post about my boyfriend tomorrow to lighten things up.
You never know.

So I'm sitting on my bed, reading the daily readings. I start with the First Reading, because, obviously, that's the order things go in. I flip to 1 Timothy 4, and read verses 12-16.

Right there in the middle. Underlined with the dark black pen.

Do not neglect the gift you have. 

This line is very convicting for me. Unlike Timothy, my gifts weren't conferred on me through 'prophetic word' or by 'the imposition of hands' (at least, not that I know of...). My gifts are the garden variety, I suppose. I write, I draw, I paint, I take pictures, I sew, I knit, I -

- no, wait.

I talk about doing those things. 

I've had several very long, very irritatingly true conversations with my boyfriend about the fact that I never finish things that I write, and that's pretty much because I just...don't write.

I talk about a lot of things, but I mostly do the following things, which are neither constructive, nor do they make me truly happy:

1. Go on the internet/computer (a lot).

2. Eat.

3. Complain.

I know I'm far from being the only young adult/teenager who suffers from this horrible condition of procrastination and mediocrity, while at the same time dying to be amazing and productive. 

But, as Spider Man always says no matter how many times they retell his tragic story through animation and live-action movies: "With great power comes great responsibility."


Translation: Spider Man's power was his 'gift'. 

So, too, with OUR great gifts, come great responsibilities. 

And its not exactly very responsible to neglect something only you have the ability to do, right? 

I ask you - what if Spider Man had sat around all the time watching movies instead of crawling up walls and fighting crime? 

Confession time:

I neglect my gifts. 

I shamelessly let them sit around, gathering dust in my closet and under my bed, because creating things and practicing things and DOING things - well, that takes work. And my natural, sinful inclination towards laziness and selfishness makes me want to avoid the work of exercising my gifts and just sit around doing nothing instead. 

I know better than anyone that doing nothing makes me unhappy. It makes me sick. It makes me feel genuinely repulsed towards myself. Because I was not made to do nothing; I was given a specific and very unique set of gifts that will enable me to do, quite literally, EVERYTHING I was put on this earth TO do. 


And I have first-hand evidence of how freaking AWESOME doing things can be.

I get to see a play that I WROTE being PERFORMED next month! I'm going to have to sit in the audience with a sock shoved in my mouth or something because if no one else laughs, I'll feel like an idiot. But this immense, beautiful blessing has only been given to me by God because I put in the work and effort to USE MY GIFT and write a short play. 

I am going to go back to Italy after only two years! Because I'm working my butt of to make enough money to go, and because I want to experience more of it. 

When we neglect our gifts, we are harming ourselves more than anything else. We'll never be truly happy. But at the same time, we are robbing the world of something only we can do/be. When we write our gifts off as hobbies (GUILTY), we are eliminating the possibility of ever letting the world see the glory of God in what He can do through us. 

My prayer in the midst of all these reflections is that I would stop neglecting my gifts. I pray that I would see how precious my time and talents are, and how quickly they will be gone if I neglect them. I spent the last two days downright sad and being very mean to myself, because, doing nothing, I was left feeling repulsed with myself. 

And that's not to say that we are only good if we are productive. That would suck. But it IS to say that because we are capable of letting God do great things through us, we should. 

It is the only responsible thing to do with these gifts we are empowered with - to use them, and to use them for the greater good, which only God can define. 

In the spirit of doing/creating things - I made this last night. I haven't had time with my suddenly very busy work schedule to make anything actually impressive, but I did have time to do some photo-editing with some song lyrics I really like. 

I am flawed
but I am cleaning up so well
I am seeing in me now
the things you swore
you saw yourself

Vindicated - Dashboard Confessional

Edited with my good friend PicMonkey.
(click to see larger)

God bless your weekend; use your gifts!