Friday, July 18, 2014

Why You Haven't Heard from Me Lately

As you can see, I've taken a hiatus from new blog posts recently.  You might be wondering why. 

I'm feeling anxious lately.  I want to write, but every time I sit down and work on the book I've been tackling, I get too jittery and get up.  I can't sit still.  I struggle to motivate myself at work.  I want something new, but I feel like its wiser to stay the course and wait for the emotions to die down.  Still, I'm not ignoring them.  Just keeping my eyes open to see if anything pops up.
Alas...the bills need to be paid and responsibility needs to happen.  That's what keeps me on the ground.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What Graduation Means 4 Years Later

I graduated from the University of California, Irvine (zot zot) in 2010.  Four years later, so much has happened since my graduation, I feel like it was a lifetime ago.  Yet I can still remember it like yesterday.

I remember the anxiety of taking my first steps into the real world of careers and 9-5 work schedules.  I remember debating whether or not I had to go to grad school, whether or not that would affect my future.  I recall considering getting a teaching credential and teaching high school English.

Now, four years later, all my worries seem silly.  I'm married, working, co-own a home.  Things that seemed perpetually "down the road" at the time of graduation.  I notice some of the graduates dwelling in anxiety.  Part of me wants to tell them to not waste their time; the other part of me knows they need to learn a few things of experience like I did.  A few things like:

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Truly Scrumptious Imagination

Raised on the 1990s, I spent hours in front of the television watching Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, the King and I, and also the beloved but slightly less well-known classic, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Thanks to Amazon Prime, I was able to watch it recently for the first time as an adult.  I didn't remember any of the plot, but the songs were as familiar as an old friend.  Somehow, you never seem to forget those tunes from your childhood.  (Sherman Brothers magic.)

The film was released in 1968 and based off of a book by the same author of James Bond.  He wrote it for his son.  The movie's screenplay was co-written by Roald Dahl.

These details stood out to me because, as I watched the movie, I didn't realize that 75% of the movie is spent watching events entirely imagined.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Is it wise to take a break from your novel?

I've decided to take a little hiatus from working on my YA novel, and I'm quite hesitant about doing so.

I'm at that point in my editing where I feel like my novel is horrid and so far from everything I want it to be that its not salvageable.  Of course, no novel is beyond the point of saving.  It just feels that way.  (If you didn't get it, I'm at the "dark night of the soul" part.)

You can probably relate.  You don't connect with your protagonist (or any of your characters, really).  You wonder why you're writing the thing in the first place.  You lack drive to see it through.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Necessary Evil of Small Talk

Sometimes I dread going to the salon to get my haircut.  You're in there for a good hour and a half, and its understood by all parties involved that you will make the necessary small talk the entire time as to eliminate any awkward silences.

So, I prep myself ahead of time.  I think of things to talk about with the lady who washes my hair.  The weather, my new house, and oh, how is her boyfriend doing?  My hair stylist, luckily, cuts the hair of a dozen people in my family, so family news updates are encouraged.  I can talk about my grandma and my sisters and my mom, and she'll be in the "know" already.

Still, there are times I run out of things to say, and I'll sit there awkwardly as the music is pumping and the scissors snip to the beat.  Then, my stylists will say, "So, how's work?"

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

We're Addicted to Stories

As readers, we've all been there.  We're reading this amazing book and we are drowning in it.  You just can't put that stack of paper down.

After you finish, there is a bittersweet moment.  The ending was so good, but its over!  Why does it have to be over?

So, you go off in search of another book just as fabulous.  You either search the shelves, read reviews on Amazon, or type frantically, just waiting to get that "high" again.

But it doesn't come.

So you spend hours upon hours looking for something else that will give you that same high.

Okay, you're starting to see my analogy.  No, books are not as dangerous as drugs, but I think something needs to be said about story addiction.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What's Your Character's Love Language?

In my opinion, the key to great books is solid characters.

The key to solid characters is understanding what makes your characters tick, knowing their priorities and what drives them.

The key to gaining that sort of intimate understanding of these fictional people you've created in your brain is to study the real people and the relationships around you.

The best real person to start with is yourself.

So, let's start asking a few questions about your characters.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Strength in Words

My eyes were red and swollen from crying.  I hadn't sobbed during the funeral service; I had only released a steady stream of compassionate tears.  Uncle Bill had lived a good life, a long one.  He had left behind a legacy of children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters.  He had escaped a future of battling brain cancer.  Death is not often a good thing, but in this case, there was not much to darken the shadow.

Still, he was gone, and he left behind a hole.  I cried silently for that hole.

Now at the interment, we stood in a long line, waiting to pay our respects to the family with a red rose in our hand for the casket.  The family assembled in a row, all of them people whom I knew by name and had spent time with.  I squinted in the sun to hide the redness in my eyes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Right to Be Angry

You might be like me, and have a few people that you are continuously angry with.  For me, they have done "legitimate" harm to me; they've hurt me.  While I am not without fault, I was definitely wronged by most people's standards.

I'm so tired of carrying around the emotional weight, but I can't seem to let it go.  How in the world am I supposed to forgive them?  I wish it were just as easy as throwing something away or taking off a heavy jacket. 

Did you know that the origin of the word "forgiveness" comes from the Old English forgiefan "give, grant, allow; forgive," also "to give up" and "to give in marriage;" from for- "completely" + giefan "give"? 

The modern sense of "to give up desire or power to punish" is from use of the compound as a Germanic loan-translation of Latin 'perdonare'. (Source: Online Etymology

In other words, forgiveness means completely giving up of your right to be angry.

Well, sorta.  It's not a bad thing to be angry.  It's a bad thing when you carry around emotional baggage, grudges, or other pent up negative energy because someone has done something bad to you.

That's what I mean by your "right to be angry".  Forgiveness means giving THAT up.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Why You Need to Pause Before Posting

 We live in a different age.  Having been born on the tail end of the "Gen Y" group, just missing being stuck in "Gen Tech" by a few years,  I was able to see the world before and after the invasion of the Internet.

They define the Gen Tech generation as those who do not remember life before Internet.  They may have been born before Internet was widely available in the common American home, but they weren't old enough to remember those times.

Me?  I remember playing in the mud, walking up to my neighbor's house and asking if Katie could come out and play, and rollerblading and biking until the sun went down.

I don't want to sound old and "bash" on technology.  This digital age is both exciting and frightening, and while most youth toot how awesome all of these fast-paced technological advances are for mankind, I'd like to offer the alternate view.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I'm Married and I Miss Being Single

I'm married, and I'm telling you guys...if you're single, that's okay.

I actually miss being single in some ways.  I miss the freedom, the flexibility and the independence.  My calendar only had one set of appointments on it: mine.  If something came up, I didn't have to ask someone if I could go out.  I just did.  My goals were mine, and I didn't have to run them by someone.  If I had an idea, I could just go for it. Nothing held me back. I could focus on what I wanted to do. I could focus more on God (although I didn't always do that, to be honest).

Don't get me wrong. I love marriage.  I love being married to my high school sweetheart, sharing my life with someone.  That does include asking permission and running ideas by my husband first, and that's a beautiful and wonderful thing. 

But just because I love where I am now doesn't mean I can't miss what I used to have.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It's Time to Burn Those Self-Esteem Posts

I'm on Facebook, browsing through my Newsfeed, and then I get bombarded by all of these posts telling me one thing:


There are plenty of people who struggle with self-esteem and self-confidence.  And I'm sure that these people really find these types of posts encouraging.

But I think some of them need to get burned.

I use the word burned not to insinuate violence but to mean disappear without a trace.  They need to leave and take their influence with them.  I want them incinerated.

I'm being overly opinionated, and I might not be right.  I have to admit that I don't really know what it feels like to lack confidence in myself.  In fact, I should probably distributing some of my confidence to other people; I have too much for just one person.

BUT I still feel like I have a point here.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Downton Abbey in America

Season 4 just ended, and as always, I'm left in a dreamy state.  There's something so attractive about Downton Abbey.  You can't help but wish to be a part of the British aristocracy and feel pity and admiration for the working class that run the estate.  So appreciate PBS's attention to historical detail, capturing the drama that occurred as the world changed its course in the early 1900s. 

In Season 4, Episode 5, the Countess of Grantham says to her maid Baxter that she was attending a charity function.  When asked what she would like to wear, the Countess said she does not want to make anyone feel bad.

The scene, though minor, caught my attention. It shone light on what we knew but hadn't brought to the forefront of our minds: Image is so important to the aristocracy.  What you wear, who you marry, how you talk, what words you say.  The package that you present to the social public is important. You have the choice, even if you are of a higher status than the rest, to be thoughtful about what you wear.  It was a business decision to make sure that you carry yourself a certain way.  It was a way of life.


This sounds shallow to us with a 21st Century American middle class mindset.  We value freedom, individuality, being able to be who we want to be.

But the reality is that mindset still exists with us today.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Fading: Our Journey with Alzheimer's

I grew up thinking my grandparents would live forever.  I have been privileged to know all four of them, seeing them on a regular basis.  They look the same year-to-year, so it never seemed like they were aging as a child.

Then my grandpa starting forgetting people's names.

It's the story of Alzheimer's you usually hear.  It was just different to experience it first hand.

My grandpa has always been a very slow, deliberate person.  He takes time to think before he talks, while his wife and kids zoom ahead in the conversation.  So, at first, his memory loss was hard to detect because it fit in with his personality.

As things progressed, it became more apparent when he couldn't remember his granddaughters' names or when he got frustrated when the day's schedule varied.

Our family began to ask, "What can we do to help?"

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentine's Day vs. S.A.D.

It's that time of year again.  Be prepared for the onslaught of social media posts!

One half of them would bat their eyelashes if they could, dripping with the sappy and overly intimate details of what couples did to celebrate the Day of Love.  Complete with emoticon hearts and kisses.

The other half will be so chock full of cynicism and bitterness that you get choked by it when you innocently walk by.  Then shove a murdered cupid in your face.

Okay, I'm exaggerating a little bit.  But you get the picture.

Let's just say there are many extreme emotions being expressed around this time of year!

What's the deal?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Why I Hate Make Up

I posted a photo of myself with make-up on and in the caption made the comment that I hated make-up.

Quite a few girls commented.

"But you look so good!"

I tried to explain in a few words but couldn't quite get them to understand: I have a love hate relationship with make-up.

The reasons why I like it are pretty obvious; it makes you look good.  Here is why I hate it:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

All Who Are Weary

Dear friend,

It makes me sad to see you in pain, to see you stressed.  I really don't want you to be so manipulated by the world around you.  Sometimes I see what worries you, what really gets you down, and I wish I could just tell you, "This is so trivial.  It's not worth worrying about."  But that would be insensitive because obviously, its worth worrying about to you.

What I'm trying to say I wish for you something better.  I don't pretend to know the secret to life or have it all together, because I don't, but what I do know is that God will give us rest.

What I do know is that Jesus promises us this:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (NIV, Matthew 11:28-30)
You mention pain in your life, and I want to just tell you to let it go.  Shed those burdens.  Stop carrying that baggage around with you everywhere.  It's not worth it.  But I know its not that easy. 

You will grow with time, I know.  You are strong.  I just pray you start to realize that your world doesn't need to revolve around your problems.  It sounds harsh, but I say it with love.  Trust my own experience.  The sooner you live for something bigger than yourself, something other than your life, the better your life gets.  Promise.

I keep thinking of this song.  May the lyrics bless you.

All who are weak, all who are weary
All who are tired, all who are thirsty
All who have failed, all who are broken
Come to the rock, come to the fountain 

I care about you!  And so does Jesus.  Lay your burdens at His feet and He will give you rest. 


Soli Deo Gloria.

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Related Posts:
Why I Go to the Movies 
The Gift of Giving 
Making Time for Fun 
To Party or Not To Party (Part 1 & Part 2)
An Ode to Friendship


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

How to Save Mr. Banks

Over the holidays, I saw Saving Mr. Banks in theaters and was reminded of the importance of back story.  I personally very much enjoyed the movie primarily because of its stress on back story and the impact that had on the drama.

The movie could have stood on its own with just a story of P.L. Travers versus Walt Disney.  Easily.  Had the movie makers decided to take it that direction, they certainly had enough material to work with.  There is plenty of drama between the big movie god and penniless but overly emotional author. 

But the movie was so much richer because it wasn't about that at all.

[SPOILER ALERT] Emma Thompson's character, author P.L. Travers, exclaims in the middle of the movie, "You think Mary Poppins is saving the children, Mr. Disney?"

Angry and disgruntled, she walks off.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Thanks Jennifer Lawrence, Now I Feel Fat

Jennifer Lawrence says that she's consider a fat actress.

In mid-December, the Internet buzzed with Jennifer Lawrence's declaration that "it should be illegal to call people fat on TV."

She also said she's considered a "fat actress".

Thanks, Jennifer Lawrence.  Now I feel fat.

I'm being a little harsh on the girl.  I mean, I agree with her and appreciate her conviction to fight the "image battle" in the Hollywood scene.  I also agree with her opinion to equate cigarettes, sex and cuss words with calling people fat.  She said:
"I just think it should be illegal to call somebody fat on TV. I mean, if we're regulating cigarettes and sex and cuss words because of the effect it has on our younger generation, why aren't we regulating things like calling people fat?"
I think its wise to call out media's effect on the young people of this generation.  If we're trying to censor certain things for their well-being, why not words and phrases that make them second guess their image and identity?

But I still feel fat. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Why I Never Make New Year's Resolutions

Any opportunity for self-improvement is a good.  I'm all for trying to make ourselves better people, whether that be aimed our health, spirituality, or personality.

In an article by Forbes Magazine, they estimated about 40% of Americans make New Year's Resolutions.

They also estimated that only about 8% of Americans keep them.

So despite all of the zeal and determination our country has, somewhere along the line it just isn't enough.  Perhaps we're setting our sights too high (who can really lose 30 pounds in 30 days?) or maybe it is that we're just not trying hard enough.

That is why I don't make New Year's Resolutions.