Hello! It's been a while, hasn't it? An entire holiday season and the ringing in of a new year has come and gone--and I'm still right where I was when I last posted. Well, that's mostly true. I've gotten a haircut (nothing drastic), rearranged some furniture around the house, joined a small group at our church, enjoyed various family time (see photo above with my mom, brother, sister-in-law, niece, and husband), and acquired a new freelance gig (hi, Barnes & Noble Kids Blog!).
But, for much of 2019, life continues in pretty much the same rhythm--writing my manuscript, imagining new worlds, managing anxiety, and relying on God's faithfulness one day at a time.
Let's start with that list.
Writing my manuscript: last time we spoke, I was deep into second draft rewrites of my YA dystopian novel. I had lofty goals of finishing a second draft by the end of January. And while I was well into ACT II (lord, help me), I was struggling. Fighting against something I couldn't quite understand. Finally, I broke my rule (do not speak to anyone about the manuscript until draft is finished.). I needed input on this new world I'd created. A new world that differs from anything I've ever created. Writing a dystopian has been HARD. You cannot create a new magical element if something doesn't make sense. You cannot rely on spells or mysteries or lore or magic. You must create something REAL. FROM something real. Government is real. Law is real. Econ is real. And those things cannot be altered. They can be shifted, into a future that I've imagined. But--they must remain true. My brain understands the magical world. Thankfully, my husband's brain understands the real world. After I explained to him what I had created, he very kindly revealed to me that things don't make sense. And if my world wasn't stable, my story could never be stable.
So? It was back to the drawing board. I was discouraged and couldn't write for a week. Thinking I was still missing foundational elements of my story scared me. (Will I ever NOT be stuck?) Yet, I knew the core of the story would remain the same. I knew I still wanted to tell my heroine's story. The backdrop just needed reinforcing.
And that's where I am today. Reworking and rebuilding my world so my heroine has something to truly fight for. It's terrifying and exciting. But I'm ready to create something powerful and worth telling.
Imaging new worlds: of course a writer's brain never stops. A new story has entered my mind--a middle-grade novel, yet again. With themes of grief and passing and new life. I won't say much, since so much of it is unwritten and underdeveloped, but it feels right and close to my heart. More on that to come.
Managing anxiety: this can feel like a full time job, no? In 2018, I went off of my anxiety medication for specific reasons I won't go into yet. But God called me to it, so I obeyed (kicking and screaming). It's been a rough year with pockets of relief. I'm still off the medication, so 2019 has had a rough beginning.
Which leads me to relying on God's faithfulness. Some days I can barely do anything other than puzzle (it keeps the anxiety at bay), cry, and eat toast. Other days I can do all the things--write, run errands, clean the house, you name it. Thankfully, 2018 eventually had more good days than bad. But I'm trying to remember, especially during the bad days, that God. Shows. Up. I may be a mess and hungry for relief from OCD, but I'm not alone. And that makes all the difference.
What's been going on with you? I'd love to know a fun fact about your 2018 or a new experience you're excited for in 2019! Once again, thanks for reading--you're the BEST.
It's been a bit since I've done a life lately post, so here we go!
April. It's April. It's been 7 months since I lost my Dad, which is when I think I did my last life lately post.
In those 7 months, here's what's happened:
What have YOU been up to lately? I'd love to hear!
Hi, again. It's been a bit, huh? This past year has been the hardest in my life--watching my Dad suffer and finally pass from pancreatic cancer. But through the bad, through the ugly, through the pain, God showed up, time and time again. His mercies were new every morning. His blessings were so very personal. And while the bad was bad, the good was oh so good. Here's what life has looked like lately:
My mom and I took a much needed getaway after my Dad's service. Went down to Newport, a family destination spot of ours, and relived all of the memories. Remembered Dad; cried; ordered room service; watched movies; laughed; shopped; and just enjoyed being together.
My best friend since birth spent the weekend leading to my Dad's service with me. Her presence was such a calming and precious gift. And what better way to celebrate friendship than with a trip to Disneyland? We've never been just the two of us, so this was extra special. And extra memorable, especially since it ended with a dead battery, a ride in a toe-truck, and a pick-up from my husband, all well after bedtime.
My Dad passed on September 1st at 11:58pm. My Mom and I were actually there, beside him when it happened. It was the most surreal moment in my life. One moment he was here. The next, he stood before Jesus, whole, healthy, and happy.
My brother and sister-in-law welcomed their baby girl Lucie into the world! She is the sweetest little bundle. She came about a week before my Dad died. And it was one of God's greatest gifts to the family. New life came in just as one was leaving.
Dear friends visited from near and afar. I can't tell you how sweet their presence was. Nothing can substitute showing up during terrible times. It's something I've learned and hope to carry out with those I know who may suffer from something in the future. We didn't talk much about my Dad--but we laughed; we hugged; we just were.
And my husband. My greatest supporter and comforter. He just knew how to take care of me during this time--loved on me, laughed with me, listened to me. We had some sweet adventures together--an anniversary celebration up in Santa Barbara; date nights; Disneyland trips; new restaurant outings in LA; Netflix binging; and lots of snuggling.
Like I said, there was pain. There was pain like I'd never known. But because of that, the good was sweeter than ever. And that's God's goodness right there.
I feel as if every blogger out there does one of these types of posts every so often. So, who am I to mess with the norm? I know, I know, be my own person. Blah, blah, blah. But I truly love reading other's "Life, lately" posts and wondered, maybe, just maybe, someone out there would be interested in mine.
If not, cool beans. I'm gonna write one anyway.
Especially since I've been away for so long. Here's how I'll do it. Put life into subjects. As in, doing lately; reading lately; eating lately; writing lately; etc. Yeah? Yeah. Here goes.
Doing lately: Moving things around the house with the Husband. Turning my office into a joint office space, since he's now working from home on occasion. And turning our upstairs space into an actual guest room. Love having a room ready for an impromptu sleepover!
Visited Harry Potter land with Mom and Dad; Magical Castle with good friends; Vegas with the Husband and parents; hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve; and put together several puzzles during football season. So. Fun.
Reading lately: Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequist. Guys. I'm reading this book with my Dad, and it gives me all the feels.
I'm also reading one of author James Aries' manuscripts. He's an awesome writer and friend of mine and I adore his stories. The one I'm reading now is the sequel to Verve Stones (The Legend of Spoon). Guys. It's AMAZING.
Eating lately: If you're in the LA area, there are a handful of deeeelicious restaurants that the Husband and I have been frequenting.
Watching lately: FINALLY watched Stranger Things. Loved. It. New favorite animated movie? SING.
Enjoying lately: almond chai lattes; blonder hair; loungewear; sneakers with dresses; fresh flowers from Trader Joe's; walks to breakfast; face masks; mint tea; puppy snuggles; Kayla Itsines' BBG guide; and creating again.