Thursday, May 29, 2014

Come hear me speak! (And get Fairy Tale stuff)

 Hey y'all! Are you interested in hearing me speak? Are you in the Twin Cities tomorrow? If so, you should come over to St. Thomas where I'll be giving a presentation on "Why Catholic Fiction" for Chesterton Press at the Minnesota Catholic Home Educator's Conference. My husband and I will also be running the Chesterton Press booth, where we'll be selling awesome books and some cool Fairy Tale Novel merchandise that I've made up (pictured left - also another design "Keep Calm and Read Fairy Tales").

Can't make the conference? Want to check out Chesterton Press's awesome books? Then you might want to take advantage of the sale they are running this weekend! Regina (the publisher) just passed this on to me:

"I wanted to let you know that in honor of G.K. Chesterton's birthday, my company Chesterton Press is giving 29% off all our books and products in the story for May 29th and 30th -- that's today and tomorrow only.
We carry Chesterton's novels and select nonfiction, as well as my books, the Fairy Tale Novels, mystery, kids' books, graphic novels, lots of fun stuff. The discount will be added automatically at checkout. The Kindle, Nook & iPad editions of our books are on sale as well. So please come and pick out some summer reading.  And feel free to pass it on to your friends!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Letter to Bride-to-Be's About The Engagement Emotions

Long before I got engaged, I made myself a promise that I wouldn't be a bridezilla.

I'd been through some other weddings and seen how much brides could freak out over what seemed the smallest things - or nothing at all. I wasn't going to do that. I was going to be simple and straightforwards and everything would be good.

And guys, in the long scheme of things, I was pretty good. I could go into the full details but it would really just be praising myself. Y'all saw how the wedding looked, and my parents attest to the reasonable bill, and my fiance still wanted to marry me, migraine and all, so obviously pre-wedding emotions didn't scare him off.


I did freak out. I freaked out about things I didn't understand. I wailed to my mom "I don't understand! I don't want to be the picky stressed out bride!"

My mom was calm and loving and said "it's normal."

"I'm not like this!" I told my fiance. "Thank you for sticking with me because I'm a total mess right now."

"It's okay," he said, holding me and wiping away my tears. "My understanding is that brides are supposed to be like this."

"Weddings bring up emotions," our doctor told my sister. "Even if you're not the one getting married, they stir up all kinds of things."

So what I'm saying here is... hold yourself to a high standard. Your family will thank you for it. But don't blame yourself when you fall short, because you will, and they will understand. Your man will too, if he's a keeper.

Our society puts emphasis on a perfect wedding. Your wedding probably won't be perfect. Mine was perfect, apart from my migraine. Seriously, take the migraine away and it was pretty much a perfect wedding. Only the migraine was a big thing and it put a lot of other things into perspective.

Decide what battles are really worth fighting, and what to just let Mom have her way on. Be okay with inviting all the family and "old must have friends" and know that they won't all come and you'll be able to send out a second round of invites. Maybe there are people it would be a social problem to invite or not invite - maybe you'll choose to bless someone by inviting them, or choose to protect someone by not inviting someone else.

Be okay with having good food, but maybe not your dream favorite (chances are you won't eat much anyhow and end up ordering a pizza later). Do your best with the seating chart, but know that in the end everyone will mix and mingle. Get the dress that makes you feel amazing, but get one that is comfortable both for your body and your pocketbook. Pick the bridesmaids that you want to honor, but know that they maybe all wont' be able to participate at the same level and be okay with that.

But most importantly, remember that it's not about the wedding, it's about the marriage. Yes your memories and your photos are very special things that you will treasure forever, but the time of engagement is about preparing for joining your life to one person, in the sight of God. It's about preparing to leave your family and changing your interactions with them in a new way. If you find yourself snapping, ask "is getting my way here more important than building this relationship?"

You'll snap. It'll happen. There's too much emotion and change going on for anyone to remain emotionally calm the entire time. Allow yourself to feel those emotions and express them in a healthy way. Allow others to support you. Allow yourself not to be perfect, but to let God shape you.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Lazy Summer Writing

My husband and I celebrated this beautiful Memorial Day by going down to the nearest lake, sitting on the grass under some trees, and tag-team writing. We both would write a couple paragraphs, then switch notebooks. Two pretty cool stories are emerging out of this. We didn't finish them - not by a long shot! But have set up the basis for some good future date nights.

I also got this photo. It was cool even before I put the instagram filter on it, but with the filter I think it's my favorite picture I've taken in a long time. An epic photo for my epic husband!

Anyhow. Back to work tomorrow. Industriousness means more blog posts.... hopefully!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Back to skirts this summer

Twice a year I go through my wardrobe and switch summer/spring and fall/winter clothes. I figure out what I wear/don't wear and if anything needs to be altered/dyed. Since I live in Minnesota, these seasonal switches usually happen in May and September, depending on how behind I am on everything else. Right now I am behind, but yesterday I had to cave because -

- because I was trying to find a pair of jeans that fit and they were all too small.

Stupid working out and gaining muscles and stuff.

So then of course I had to figure out if any of my shorts fit (they don't) and get out proper summer skirts and pack up the winter ones.

The good news is it IS the season for skirts, and all of my exercise wear is stretchy so that all fits. I can probably get by until fall, and who knows, maybe stuff will shift around and I'll be able to fit back into my old jeans...

This is good though. It's a sign. I went through a couple years of being borderline underweight because of all of my health issues. To be not just a healthy weight but actually gaining muscle is HUGE. And thankfully all of my jeans were either a) old, b) purchased on sale/thrift stores, or c) hand me downs, so it's not like I spent a fortune on them. And I can always sew some skirts/shorts to get me through the summer.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Midsummer Night's Community

Lying awake with a headache the other night gave me plenty of time to think. My brain sometimes gets really creative when I have a migraine (weirdness) and my head was all full of Community and Shakespeare so of course a mash-up was eventually going to happen.

What I figured out was that the Community group could be perfectly cast in "A Midsummer Night's Dream". The Annie/Jeff/Britta/Troy group would be perfect for the Helena/Hermia/Lysander/Demetrius quadrangle. Shirley would be a great Titania. Professor Hickey would make a great Oberon. Abed is, of course, Puck. The School Board can stand in for the Duke, and the side characters like Leonard, Garret, Neil, etc, can be the mechanicals, with the exception of Bottom who must obviously be played by Chang.

The Dean would be cast as Peaseblossom, but would keep breaking character to run after Jeff.

Friday, May 16, 2014


Tomorrow marks the fourth month since Nathan and I got married. Hard to believe it's been that long! Well, my subconscious thinks so, anyways.

I'm a very prolific and vivid dreamer. I dream a lot, I dream intense, and I dream in color. Since getting married my main reoccuring dream has been that I'm still living at my parents house, and then at the end of the dream I'll realize "hey, I'm married, I can go stay with Nathan! Probably should go stay with Nathan..."

Or I'm trying to get ahold of Nathan and ask him to come pick me up from my parents house and he's impossible to reach. Which is funny because he's actually pretty good about responding to me.

For the first couple of months my brain wouldn't even register that we were married, and all of the dreams were in a setting where we were still just dating. Now it seems to have gotten the "married" part down, but not the "new living quarters". Let me tell you, waking up in the morning is pretty disorienting.

On the one hand it's amusing, on the other hand it's a bit distressing. I'd like not to spend each morning waking up with a panicked feeling that I'm not married to Nathan and still living with my parents!

(Disclaimer. My parents are wonderful. But with my mother and I being both stubborn, independent minded women we do not make good housemates.)

Monday, May 12, 2014

OUAT goes Back to the Future

Wow. SO many feelings about OUAT last night! "Snow Drifts" and "No Place Like Home" were aired in an awesome 2-hour finale. Beware, this post is chock full of spoilers, so if you haven't seen episodes 3.21 and 3.22 of Once Upon a Time, stop reading now!

First off, let's talk about something that bugged me. Aurora briefly appeared, with Grumpy making the comment that if she'd been cursed any longer, she'd have given birth to a monkey baby.

Um. Aurora has been pregnant longer than Snow. HOW THE HECK did Snow give birth before her?

But speaking of babies... SO happy to see the Charmings so happy together. And I am thrilled that they named the baby Neal. Some fans thought it was weird, but for those of us who loved Neal, it's a very touching homage. (and one I predicted last week.)

We did get to see Neal again, in a brief but poignant scene. While I was very upset that they killed him off, I have to admit I'm impressed with how well they have used his death and paid respect to his character via flashback and how others speak of him. Pretty special.

But Snow Drifts, of course, is essentially an Emma/Hook episode and for the first time I found myself really accepting them as a couple. The "Back to the Future" homage in their time travel adventure was pretty fun, and I thought overall the time portal curse was very well handled. It could have come across as an overdone trope, but its importance for Emma's character arc as well as the Hook/Emma relationship arc was nicely woven. 

It was pretty funny to have two Hooks running around and see Hook punching himself. HAHA.


And then we got the mysterious woman who protected Snow. Guys, I didn't guess who she was. Fail. I believe we saw her face last season in a shot or two, but have no idea if they brought back the same actress or not. All I know is that I had no idea who she was until the reveal.

BTW, I didn't grab a screencapture of Ruby, but it was GREAT to see her back, especially rocking it out as a werewolf! 

Hook's earring bugs me in this kiss scene, but even I have to admit it was pretty touching that he gave up his ship to find Emma. 

Y'all know I'm a firm Rumbelle fan. This wedding has been a long time coming and it was 95% perfect. At first I was a bit thrown that it was so small (they promised us SPLASHY!) but of course with Neal so recently passed and everything going on, it made sense that they would just want to get married. I loved that Belle's father was included, and that they held the ceremony by Neal's grave. Alas, no great wedding dress (more on that here) but for a last minute wedding Belle still managed to pull together a chic ensemble.

What about the non-perfect 5%? Well that of course is Rumple's secret, which overshadowed an otherwise heartbreakingly beautiful wedding. I was certain he was going to break down at the last minute and admit his lie. Still, I'm glad he didn't - it'll make for great drama next season and it's high time they got properly married anyhow. Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Gold!

 Then cut to another adorable sweet scene. Seeing Regina so happy with Robin and Roland was just a moment of overwhelming "awwww".

But, this being OUAT, happiness can't last for long. Because in one moment that made me gasp and throw my hands to my face, Robin recognizes Emma's kidnap victim.

 BAM it's Maid Marian.

Robin/Marian is my lifelong ship. Literally I have loved them since I first saw the Disney animated film at age... 3 or something. I have a dedicated collection of Robin Hood books, and am more critical of Robin Hood adaptations than just about anything else.

I'd been upset earlier in the show that there was no Marian. Then Regina/Robin began to happen and I found myself falling in love with the pairing. Marian's legacy was respected in Robin's care of Roland. It was well done.

But now Marian is back! And I don't know what to feel. My husband asked me "who do you want to see Robin with?" and I have no good answer. To have Marian alive and want Robin with anyone other than her would be a betrayal of my whole lifelong ship. On the other hand, Regina and Robin were perfect and Regina was finally - finally - happy.

Will this turn Regina evil again? Or show us just how far she has come? She almost - but not quite - threatened Emma, and honestly compared to the Regina of Season 1 or 2, her words to Emma were downright restrained. So it'll be VERY interesting to see how she copes with this twist in season 4.

As for what we can expect in Season 4...

The showrunners had told us awhile back that they wanted Elsa and Anna in Season 4. However there wasn't confirmation of this, certainly no casting information, and no clue that Elsa might be the Season 4 big bad. And then we got a crazy epic reveal scene that sets Elsa up as at the very least a lady with a big grudge against Rumplestiltskin. 

How Anna and any other characters from Frozen will fit in remains to be seen. I was thinking last night that it would be pretty awesome if Kristen Bell could play Anna, as she visually looks like the character (rare in voice casts) and is potentially free enough to take on the role. THEN this morning I found out that the showrunners have the same idea! Who knows if it'll work, but it'd be awesome. 

I know some anti-Frozen peeps are a bit turned off (and Frozen has been almost too huge in popular culture lately) but I think there is good potential for a slightly darker, more mature interpretation in the hands of OUAT and hope people will give the show a chance to show an awesome twist. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Getting into the "Community" of things.

"What are you watching?" I asked my parents sometime back in 2010 or so.

"It's a show about community college, it's really funny!" they replied.

"O...K..." I responded and walked off.

If you've been following this blog for awhile, you'll know that college and I have not been on friendly terms. Well, to be more accurate, the stress of college life and my health are at war with each other. Between my hearing loss, Aspergers and chronic health issues, I thrive best in settings where I have control of what happens when. I did great as a homeschooler, but going to class and lipreading for hours a day did not work so well with my health. Because I got good grades, everyone said I was college material, but my best skills are the ones that have been self-taught or gained in an apprenticeship setting (i.e. writing and sewing, both of which I now get paid for).

I tried three times, once private college, once at community college, and once at a state college. I had awesome teachers each time, my body just wouldn't let me do it. Community college happened and failed because of a car accident, not a pleasant memory. Furthermore, /all/ of my friends and siblings were completing college courses at the local community college, constant reminder of their 'success' and my 'failure.' So I had bad connotations of the words' community college' my parent's synopsis didn't really spark my interest.

Also, for some reason I thought it was structured like "The Office" which I'd tried to watch and failed to get interested in. Actually I didn't do sitcoms, period. (I know. Sad. Now I adore "Big Bang Theory" "Modern Family" and mourn the passing of "Raising Hope.")

My siblings and a lot of my friends loved the show, but I just couldn't watch something set in a college setting. It brought back too many memories of my own 'failures'. I heard it was great. I heard it was geeky. I heard it got cancelled and the fans brought it back. I was happy for the fans. I didn't want to watch it.

Then, this spring, my husband and I needed something new to watch. Happily married, out of my parents house, and juggling two awesome jobs doing what I love, I no longer felt insecure about watching a community college show.

All that is a LONG story of why I am so late getting on the "Community" train. And part of me is sad that I didn't meet Troy, Abed, Jeff, Annie, Shirley, Britta and Pierce sooner. But the other part is really glad that Nathan and I can discover the show together. Shared laughter is a beautiful thing in any relationship, but especially when you're growing your marriage.

We are currently in Season 3, so no spoilers! And since it is now a limited commodity, we're making sure to savor each new episode.

But don't worry. We have our fingers crossed that Netflix will pick the show up for a sixth season and a movie.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Good Weather is No Guarantee

Minnesotans are well used to being prepared to baby their car batteries during the winter. We don't really expect to walk outside on a mild May day and find that our car won't start. So when I approached my vehicle today and found the clicker not working to unlock the door, I wasn't unduly concerned.

But then the locks wouldn't work, and it was with a sinking heart that I inserted the key and tried to start the car. Not a sound of protest. Uh oh.

I looked at the clock. 45 minutes until I was due to be at my doctor's office. She is a stickler for time, and last minute cancellations are problematic. It'd take me 30 minutes to drive there, and I was really not sure I could find someone to give my car a jump in less than 15 minutes.

I looked at the clock again. My husband was just 10 minutes away in good traffic. Would he be able to drop what he was doing, rush over here, and get me to the other side of the cities in time to make the appointment slot?

Well he could and he did. We were even a few minutes early. I got my full appointment and some help for this month's version of my ever changing headaches. (I'm having quite the headache adventure I tell you.)

But anyhow, good weather is no guarantee of a working car, and I am so thankful that I was running early instead of late today.

Monday, May 5, 2014

OUAT visits trouble, not Kansas

Welp, we're on episode 3.20. Just two episodes left in the season - "Snow Drifts" and "There's No Place Like Home."

Spoilers for "Kansas" to follow.

OUAT can seem a simple show - until the last five minutes of an episode. "Kansas" was no exception. While most of the episode was pretty predictable, we got some major twists at the end.

#1. Gold Proposed to Belle.


#2. Gold Killed Zelena.

What. He lied to Belle? Right after that inspiring speech? MAN.

#3. Zelena turns to ceramic then goes all ghosty and so does her pendant and something opens in the barn.

So... was the spell activated? Why? Did Gold really kill Zelena and did she have some sort of back-up mechanism? Was he acting under his own power or was this a further ploy of Zelena's in case her plan didn't work and she got captured?

Too many possibilities.

Until next week we can spend our time wondering the following:

#1. Is the promised "Splashy Wedding" actually Belle and Rumple's and will it go off without too many hitches, or leave them married but estranged?

#2. If the wedding ISN'T theirs, is it Regina/Robin Hood or Emma/Hook?

#3. What the heck are Charming and Snow going to name their baby? (My vote is on "Leopold" or "Neal.")

Meanwhile we can go back and remember the awesome in this episode.

#1. Robin Hood continuing to translate perfectly to a 21st Century Redneck.

#2. Rumple and Belle's perfect (at the time) proposal

#3. Regina, finally, becoming a real hero.

We won't talk about how Glinda, supposed to represent wisdom, is actually pretty stupid, and Dorothy has the ugliest dress ever on the show.

Friday, May 2, 2014

"How is married life?"

"How is married life?" tends to be the FAQ of my life right now. Which makes perfect sense, of course. I meet people, they know I just got married, it's the polite and natural thing to ask.

Guys, I love married life. More specifically, I love being married to Nathan. And given a chance, I'll go on and on about how wonderful he is, how much I love being married, and having my own home, and getting to fall asleep next to him every night.

I know a big part of being so happy now lies in the fact that I was happy even before I met Nathan. I had a job I loved, I was getting to see my friends more often, I was feeling better, and I was working on a book to be published. My life was good. Almost too full to bring anything else in. I'd reached the point where I could give more than I took in relationships.

That doesn't mean I'm never needy. Nor does it mean that my life hasn't been immeasurably improved since Nathan entered it. This is where I was meant to be. There was just a point of being single that I had to be full and brimming with before I was ready to move on to the next step.

When I was younger, I heard the phrase "being okay single" and tried to force myself into that mindset. The truth is, you can't force that. Especially not when you're sick and really in a place where you can't do much to fill up your time, and you don't have much to give others. Wanting a special someone because you can't keep relying on your parents to fill that emotional need is absolutely natural. And sometimes you will still be in that place when you do meet the right person, because that's God's plan for you. "It is not good for man to be alone" and God uses marriage to mature us just as he uses singleness.

But for me, I had to be full in my life of singleness - not "not needy" but full - before I was ready to be the woman Nathan needed. Our marriage is stronger because of the lessons we learned alone - needed to learn alone.

So now I'm married, and even more busy than before, with housekeeping, running a business, writing a book, keeping in shape, and being a good wife (not to mention daughter, sister and friend! Ah my friends...) And man, I LOVE it.