Blogmas 2017 Day 16 (Dahlonega adventures + alpha reader party)

This morning I picked up my friends Anna and Lydia and we went to Dahlonega, a cute town close to us. We took pictures, ate lunch, and looked around in cute shops. They’re the best kind of friends because we’re always laughing hysterically, but then we also had deep conversations about our atheist/agnostic friends and how to approach and witness to them.

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The cutest sisters wow

Anna: “I probably look stupid but I feel boho and hipster”

We made Lydia try on a crazy dress and bought marshmallows covered in chocolate that looked cute but actually tasted disgusting. (Ignore my thumb scar haha)

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I was exhausted when I got home, but I had something else fun… my friend Sara from R5:3-5 (a blog that encourages teens with chronic illnesses) finished writing a book recently, and she threw a Skype party for all of her alpha readers! I enjoyed reading her book as she wrote it, and the Skype party was so much fun. Then my family went to a holiday party and left me at home with Sophie because I was way too tired to leave the house again–we did fun stuff like laundry and wrapping gifts for the kids’ Christmas party I’m planning at church next week. Now we’re going to read The Unexpected Everything (Morgan Matson), journal, work on memory verses, and go to bed. (Also, I just want to note that considering how many cookies I’m home alone with tonight, I think I have shown remarkable restraint.)

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Here’s what I did last year on December 16th. What did you do today?

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Blogmas 2017 Day 15 (goldendoodles and dress rehearsal)

Shoutout to blog friends for telling me that the pro version of the ScriptureTyper is just a one-time payment. Now I can have unlimited memory verses and do cool stuff like make wallpaper! I worked on that this morning and then had a quality ball time with Sophie.

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Spent the morning applying for six freelance jobs and pitching a fitness website while listening to Once Upon a December (love Anastasia) a million times. I did several voiceover auditions too. My workout was a thirty-minute low-impact strength video by HasFit. But I only did half of it because I couldn’t breathe, and because I got distracted coordinating with some friends about a super exciting opportunity next week!

Then we went to see the family my mom nannies for; she hasn’t been working this month since they recently had a baby, but we took them their Christmas presents and visited for a couple of hours. It involved lots of Lego-building, lots of goldendoodle kisses, and lots of kids hanging all over me. Quotable quotes from the four year old boy: “I can’t count to 12 on my fingers because I don’t have 12 fingers. If I did have 12 fingers, I would be a hot mess.” “I’m the Lego expert. Right?” (Anyone is more of an expert than me.) It was such a fun afternoon!

Then Joshua and I had to rush to church for dress rehearsal. I sat and played Peppa Pig with my favorite three year old for almost an hour before we finally got started. It was a loooong rehearsal with lots of stops and felt very unproductive. We only got through it once, and we have so much stuff to figure out before Sunday night. Every year we say that we’re sure it can’t come together in time, and then it always does. So… we’ll see.

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Here’s what I did last year on December 15th. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2017 Day 14

Blogmas 2017 Day 13 (A QUESTION FOR YOU + went to church like 5 times)

I have a Very Important Question at the end… so read the whole thing. Or skip down to the question. I don’t care.

This morning started TOO EARLY. I had a counseling appointment at 9; we ran over, and I was super late to church. A half dozen ladies went to church this morning to organize donations for homeless people in Atlanta. I spent a while sorting socks, a while playing with one of my very favorite three-year-olds in the hallway, and then we had lunch and I headed home. I was wiped out when I got home; my legs were so exhausted and tingly. I organized some Christmas gifts, speculated with some friends about who’s dating who, and did my devotional which I didn’t have time for this morning. Then I had to force myself to wake up so I could take my mom to pick up her van from the shop. Sophie came with us. (Also, an update on the circus dog saga: I have now taught her to jump up on the stool with all four legs. Is she brilliant or what?) Once home, I ate, organized some book orders, wrote a blog post I had to complete as part of the application process for a big writing job, and tried not to fall asleep. (Research for the blog post involved this kind of stuff…)

We had rehearsal at church tonight for our musical on Sunday. On the way, Joshua and I sang Broadway tunes and songs from our musical with made-up lyrics about the nail polish I wanted to buy. At church, we joked around with friends for a while (do you need some ice for that burn —-> do you need some ketchup for that fry). It was a fairly productive rehearsal; everyone sounds okay, but this thing is Sunday. (Thomas: *forgets a line and causes an awkward silence* Mr. Daren: “Pregnant pause.” Mr. George: “Oh, the pause has delivered.”)

Today wasn’t a great day. Driving home things came to a head in my mind. I never listen to the radio, but I felt a sudden strong prompting to turn it to 105.1. Drops in the Ocean was playing first, and I felt grace being spoken through every line. I had to later look up the next song that came on: Miracle, by Unspoken.

 

Just beyond the veil of your vision
Your mountains are moving, moving on
Remember the works His hand has done
Where you once were and how far you’ve come, oh

And then the final song before we got home–Comeback by Danny Gokey. “From the ashes you will take your place.” I don’t care for most Christian contemporary music, but these songs were handpicked for me tonight. This morning my counselor said, “I think you’re doing great.” And I agreed. But for some reason Wednesdays are just always bad days? Somehow they always end up being the busiest day of my week, and I’m exhausted and stressed.
The other day, Julia (from The Barefoot Gal) and I had a really great conversation about swearing, and particularly Christians swearing. Today she published a blog post with her thoughts. Go read it!
Oh oh and I have a question for you wise people! One of the verses I’ve memorized lately is 2 Timothy 2:22-23:
“Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.”
Every time I read that verse, I think of a certain person in my life. And then yesterday, I read a blog post that said this: “It is okay to take people out of your life if they aren’t leading you closer to God and leading you to live a more joyful life.” I agree with that and I have felt for a while that I need that. However, this certain person that 2 Timothy 2:22-23 makes me think of (and it doesn’t make me think of them in a good way)–I can’t cut them completely out of my life. This is because of circumstances, but also just because–I mean, I still need to be a witness to this person, right? SO, my question: how can I be around this person and show them Jesus, yet not get dragged down into the drama this person causes? I’ve been thinking about this for a week or two and would love any thoughts. Okay. Goodnight!
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Here’s what I did last year on December 13th. What did you do today? PS WordPress is being dumb and the formatting of this post is all messed up and I’m sorry it’s bothering me too

 

Blogmas 2017 Day 12 (changing the world)

Blogmas 2017 Day 11

Today started with tired legs and Sophie shocking me WITH HER TONGUE when she licked me when I was still half-asleep. Monday’s, amirite?

Each year Joshua and I get a new ornament, and last night we got Newsies ornaments. 

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Here are some thoughts from my journal this morning:

All of my memory verses are so beautiful and calming and true… God’s gifts will come at just the right time… Today’s Advent devo has Psalm 40, which was one of my passages earlier this year (the slimy pit), but have I ever read what comes after the pit? Verse 5–“many are the things You planned for us.” Now I am standing on a firm place, a hymn of praise in my mouth. “The Gospel is the story of Christ coming into the world to lift us from the mess. And when He raised us up, He gave us something to sing about. He replaced the old songs of despair with new songs of praise–songs for the One who makes us new.” < YES x100.

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Aaliyah and Hanne and I “sang” literally the entire Schuyler Sisters song today and it was honestly the highlight of my day.

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After breakfast I did voiceover auditions, wrote a guest post for a friend about what God taught me this year, reviewed choreography for the musical, and worked out (this fifteen minute HasFit video–who knew you could get such a unique bicep/tricep burnout with just a towel?). And Sophie made friends with the Christmas tree!

After all that I just really wanted cookies, so I found this recipe for coconut cookies and made it. Which almost made me late for work. Today was my first day with the official title “site coordinator”–meaning that instead of getting paid to tutor kids and do some social media/advertising on the side, I now get paid to go in early and do the social media AND tutor kids–so I’m not used to leaving earlier in the afternoon yet.

I did my work and then we sat around and watched this video before the kids got there. If you need a representation of what my life looks like every day–watch it. When I headed to our room with the three fifth grade girls, one of them gave me a big bag of Doritos, which was just so sweet. The sixth-grade girl who comes later had the vocabulary word “vehemently,” which neither the other tutor in the room or I knew how to pronounce (a common occurrence for me, so I was glad she couldn’t figure it out either). As we were finishing up, a new little girl was being enrolled, and I was able to help talk to her grandmother in Spanish. This is the quote I used on our social media today, and I think it’s so wonderful and true: 

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” –Dr. Seuss

This evening my plans are to reread Little Town on the Prairie and be in bed by 8:30.

Can you believe  it’s only two weeks until Christmas?! If you want to help reduce the statistic below and need a great gift for a friend–or yourself!–grab a copy of my book. It’s on sale! Local friends, I have several copies in stock. Otherwise, you can order by clicking here.

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Here’s what I did last year on December 11th. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2017 Day 10

Church was canceled because of the snow and we had a slow morning. We did have drama rehearsal, though, meaning that I had to skip both a writing class at the library and an outing with my dad–and also meant I had to rush and choreograph the final song because I procrastinate (I’ve choreographed seven songs from scratch for this musical over the last month or two, and I was running low on ideas by this time). While I did that, my family got a Christmas tree. Sophie has never seen one before and we didn’t know how she would react; she barked at the tree when Dad and Joshua carried it in, and then she nervously crept up to sniff it. Eventually she started nibbling on the orange string that held the branches close to the trunk. We’d been afraid she would constantly try to eat the tree, so I squirted her in the face with a spray bottle of water, and now I think she’s scared to go near it.

I was already exhausted by lunchtime. I determined this fall that if I went to bed at 8 pm every night, my chronic fatigue illness wouldn’t hit me too badly the next day, and I could make it all day without getting too tired. Lately, though, I’ve kind of been going to bed at 11 instead. Oops. Anyway, I really wanted to work out today, so I forced myself to do just a twenty-minute FitnessBlender video. It involved lots of single leg exercises, balance work, low-impact toning moves, and hip flexor work. Then Joshua and I went to drama rehearsal, which went fairly well.

When we got home, I identified the media specialists of 20 middle schools near me and emailed them, hoping that they’ll want to buy a few copies of my book for their respective school libraries or classrooms. Then my mom made a recipe (One Pan Healthy Italian Sausage and Veggies from Chelsea’s Messy Apron) that I found on Pinterest–it was really good.

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Now we’re decorating the tree, except I have a headache and my legs are so exhausted that I’m not really helping. Tonight I’ll be in bed by eight and hopefully that will enable me to start feeling better before my busy week.

Here’s what I did last year on December 10th. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2017 Day 9 (snowed in)

I want to go to Realm Makers SO BAD next year but it’s so expensive.

Anyway.

We woke up to about six inches of snow this morning! I went outside for about an hour before I came inside sleepy and with a headache. Joshua and I went sledding and played ball with Sophie. Normally, when we get snow, it turns into ice after the first night. But it was still powdery, so it was really fun to play in.

 

 

 

 

In the afternoon, as the snow melted, I wrote a devotional for a website I work with, did laundry, wrote a 2,000-word fantasy story for a contest, painted rocks, and worked with Sophie. Over the last couple of days, I’ve taught her to jump up on the stool to get a treat. Next I’m going to teach her to backflip through a ring of fire when I say the words “circus dog.” Nothing major–just small realistic expectations.

 

Tonight I had my mom and brother take the Meyers-Briggs personality test because I’m fascinated with those types of things (I’m an INFJ, and my dad said that he thinks he was an INFJ as well). My mom was an ISFJ and my brother was an ESFJ. I’m going to spend the rest of the evening rereading The Long Winter from the Little House on the Prairie series because I feel like it’s appropriate!

Here’s what I did last year on December 9th. What did you do today? What’s your Meyers-Briggs personality type?

Blogmas 2017 Day 8 (SNOW, TRESPASSING, BEST DAY EVER)

We woke up to SNOW!! The one time that the schools in my county don’t let out… it snows and snows and snows literally all day long. (And it’s supposed to keep going until tomorrow morning. Some of our friends have eight inches. WHAT.) I can’t remember the last time it snowed as early as December here in Georgia. I also can’t remember the last time we got eight inches.

Because the snow was so wet, the roads weren’t bad in the morning, so Madeleine and I were still able to have our fun day like we’d planned. We went to a church campground (we were technically trespassing lol fun times) for a photoshoot. Of course, when we planned this a week or two ago, we had no idea we would have SNOW for our photoshoot! It was snowing so hard and we took photos and laughed and walked around and finished up with a snowball fight. I am completely in LOVE with how the photos came out; I think they look absolutely beautiful and I’m so excited.

 

If you saw two girls driving around blasting Christmas music and screaming “IT’S SNOWING” and sticking their hands out the window, that was us.

 

Our own private winter wonderland…

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Brb, moving to a ski lodge in Vermont to pursue my new dream job of taking headshots for Hallmark Christmas movies.

 

We ended up at Panera, of course. Madeleine gave me cute socks and an Advent devotional by Louie Giglio. We were going to make a gingerbread house, but the roads were getting slushy, so we headed home.

 

Joshua and I did some sledding in the backyard when I got home. Last time it snowed–last January–I remember that I could only drag the sled up the hill once or twice before becoming dizzy and exhausted and having to stop. Today I ran and played for a long time before my legs got tingly. Sophie loved chasing and eating snowballs. She was shivering, though, and eventually just flat out refused to go back outside.

 

Joshua made a candy cane cheesecake which was delicious; he used the candy cane dip from the festival last weekend. Now we’re all about to watch Elf. Our unexpected snow day was fantastic!!! To add to the fun, a short story that I really like but that has had a few rejections was accepted by a publication (a print publication–woo-hoo!), and the following Newsies meme made me laugh hysterically last night.

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And to wrap up, here are some of my journaled thoughts from the reading I did in the Advent devotional this afternoon.

“But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord.” Micah 7:7. Something that’s been in my mind a lot the last few months, and what better season to do so than Christmas? Having expectations and having expectancy are two very different things. Advent means arrival. Christmas is longing fulfilled–waiting is not wasting when we are waiting on His plans to unfold.

Here’s what I did last year on December 8th. What did you today? Is it snowing at your house?

Blogmas 2017 Day 7

This morning I was tired and sad and frustrated… I didn’t get up until after 9 and I was home alone with Sophie all day. I decided I felt too exhausted to work out. So I spent the day cleaning, writing letters/journaling, planning out writing comps for December (Cathy’s Comps and Calls is a LIFESAVER every month! Fellow writers, check it out!), applying to a big writing job, and doing voiceover auditions.

Verse I’m memorizing/thinking about this week: Hosea 6:3. “Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun rises, He will come; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”

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The nonprofit I work for has multiple locations, and today I had to go to a location I’ve never been to before because they were short one tutor. I had heard conflicting things about this location, but it was wonderful–I really enjoyed it. There was one teacher and two little girls, so it was a 1:1 ratio, and it was so quiet and peaceful considering that we have one teacher, 5 tutors, and 12 kids on a typical day at my normal location! It was a nice afternoon. And right when I got home, I got a phone call from the nonprofit’s founder–she wants me to be the site coordinator for my normal location. On the days I work, I’ll go in earlier than usual and work on social media and other administrative tasks–then I’ll follow my normal routine of getting everything ready for the kids. It will be a little extra money, plus something I’ll enjoy, plus a great title to add to my resume.

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There’s a 50% chance of an inch of snow tomorrow; the state of Georgia has declared a state of emergency because, well, that’s how we do things. Feel free to go ahead and laugh. Joshua has his heart set on snow, but I was hoping for a day out with a friend. So… I guess we’ll see what happens.

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This evening I’m working on a fiction story for a contest. Ironically, the prompt was about snow.

Here’s what I did last year on December 7th. What did you do today?