Tuesday, December 3, 2013

My Doctor Who 50th Celebration (in Pictures)

November 22, 2013

In our last day shopping for our Doctor Who party, Sarah and I found Jammy Dodgers at the wondrous store that is HEB. We bought 6 packages. Don't worry though, they aren't like American cookies that come like 30 to a pack. These just have 8. So, really it's amazing we restrained ourselves to only 6 packages cause that's only 48! And seriously, they are the best cookies in the universe. We sampled a few while re-watching the last 2 episodes of Season 7. AMAZING!!

November 23, 2013

The countdown widget on BBC America leading up to the premier was seriously giving me heart palpitations. It was sooo exciting! (I had to take like 10 pics before I got one that wasn't too blurry and you could actually see the time - I was committed, yo!)

I made 11 Adiposes. Single tooth included. I couldn't get over how cute they were for like a week. 

Our celebration spread. Cupcakes - that we could NOT make TARDIS blue, but got as close as we could, Jammy Dodgers, Adipose, a Sonic Screwdriver, Season 7 Parts 1 and 2, Summer Falls book by Amelia Williams, Digestive biscuits, a tea set (though we ran out of time to make any tea, so it just sat there), and a yummy British juice. We bought custard to make with some shortbread cookies (because we don't like fish under normal circumstances, and definitely not with custard), but we ran out of time to make it. Way too much for 2 people, but it was so fun! I wrote out "Happy 50th Doctor Who" and it was my first time to ever write in frosting, so I was happy with how it turned out. 

Me with the spread. I learned that suspenders are oddly comfortable. I don't know what it is, but I wish I had reason to wear them more often!

I was really excited. As this blurry selfie shows. 

Sarah and I in our matching shirts. She has a blue, going-into-the-past bow tie and I have a red, going-into-the-future one. :) We kinda felt silly preparing so much for just us, but we couldn't pass up the opportunity. The 50th anniversary only comes once. Not our fault the rest of the family was busy!

The 11 second countdown to the start was amazing! 

I wanted to get picks of all the Doctors with their numbers, but apparently my camera is super slow. 

Granted, it was a bit anti-climactic when this screen showed for about 30 seconds AFTER the 11 second countdown. But still. I was a nervous wreck at this point. I was convinced it was going to be the most painful episode ever. 

Luckily, it was not too painful. Though it was a close call many times. I LOVED it. It was so much better than I ever could have hoped. I think it really opens the show up to more possible story lines, making it much more possible to continue for another 50 years. 

And seriously, I fell in love with the Doctor more than ever before. Not a specific regeneration, just the Doctor. He is such a fabulous character. It was hilarious seeing Ten and Eleven together. There's not a single thing from this episode I would change. I think it's perfect. 

I also tried on the shirt I got for my costume with the bow tie and suspenders. Then sent this teaser pic to my family. 

November 25, 2013

We got tickets to see the Day of the Doctor in 3D at the theater. Best decision EVER. I dressed up as Eleven (I don't claim any one Doctor as "my" Doctor, but I do love me some Matt Smith). Sarah dyed her hair red and went as Amy Pond, my niece Andie wore her Halloween TARDIS skirt, and Becca (who was exhausted from night shifts at the hospital) wore her Weeping Angels shirt. My good friend Justine also came with us - it was so fun to see it with her too. 

Sarah and I before we left for the show!

You can't see much detail, but this is the theater from our seats. We didn't get there as early as we wanted to because of a CRAZY thunderstorm messing up traffic, but because the theater was so big, we could still see well despite being so close. 

Being in a theater full of Whovians was a BLAST! There were quite a few other Sonic Screwdrivers. Almost everyone had some kind of Doctor Who related thing on. Fezzes, Bow Ties, Scarves, shirts, pins, full costumes. It was awesome. And hearing the audience react to the good parts, and the sad parts, was so much fun. I felt like I was in the theater with a ton of friends, even though I didn't know anyone other than the 4 people with me. And normally I hate 3D, but it made the episode so much better. It was simply AMAZING.

Amy Pond, the Doctor, and the TARDIS!

That Amy, she just can't help but try to kiss the Doctor!

Our group photo, taken by Justine. Becca's a Weeping Angel trying to get the TARDIS and Sarah is Amy when she had to keep her eyes shut so the Angel in her eye didn't get out and I am the Doctor, trying to save Amy and stop the Angel. We probably had more fun taking that picture than we should have. :)

We looked all around for a display of some kind. Surely the theater would have SOMETHING? Finally we found this down a hallway, not even that close to the theater it was shown in. We thought we were done with pictures. NOPE!

Seriously, I love Eleven. I may or may not have stroked his face...

Becca and her cutie daughter. I love them!

I could not stop using my Sonic. So fun!

The Doctor and the TARDIS. This was my serious, "Don't mess with me, I'm the Doctor" face. 

I needed to show Ten some love, too. I may or may not have also stroked his face... 

To some, it may sound silly, but Doctor Who really has changed my life. It provided a much needed escape from myself when I was really struggling. It still does, because I am still struggling. It gives me something to think about when my mind is too dark and full of overwhelming things. 

One of the biggest messages of Doctor Who is that every single one of us is unique and important. Because in all of time and space, there is only one of each of us. And that uniqueness makes us each so incredibly important. And anything that destroys or negates that uniqueness is a waste. 

And that is a message I need to hear. 

At a time when everything in my life, or the funny chemicals in my brain, was telling me I didn't matter, the Doctor said he's never met anyone in time or space that wasn't important. 

At a time when I felt I was drowning in a pile of bad things, the Doctor reminded Amy (and therefore, me) that a pile of bad doesn't negate the piles of good or make them unimportant. And that any addition to that good pile is important, no matter how big and nasty that bad pile is. 

At a time when all I wanted to do was cry, the Doctor made me laugh. And yes, sometimes cry. 

At a time when I wanted to scream and thrash against the world and it's unfairness, Donna showed me that's okay. Donna also showed me that even a rage-y, drama-filled, ridiculous woman can, under the right circumstances and with someone who truly believes in her, become the most important woman in all of creation. 

And all of that gives me hope. Which I desperately need right now. 

So, yes, Doctor Who is a TV show. 

But ask anyone who really watches it, and they'll say it is so, so much more. 


(If you don't watch Doctor Who, you probably didn't make it to the end of this post. But if you did and you don't - do yourself a favor and WATCH IT!!!)

Did any of you celebrate the 50th Anniversary? What did you do? What did you think? 

Also, how has this wonderful, crazy, illogical show touched you?

Friday, November 1, 2013

NaNoWriMo - To Write, or Not to Write

I started to seriously considering writing, as an option, a hobby, maybe one day a career, at about this time last year.

I had read Divergent and fallen in love with books more than I ever had. And I loved reading before. But something about the world and Tris’ voice and Veronica’s blog opened something in my soul that I didn’t really know was there.

A desire to write, not just autobiographically, or spiritually as I had been periodically doing,

but a desire to write novels.

And a desire to write to connect with others, rather than just share my testimony or feelings about something.

A whole new world of possibilities opened up to me. Novels, blogging better and more honestly, touching lives with both fiction and real-life vulnerability.

I got excited. Really excited. I found as many blogs as I could about writing. I wrote down ideas that came to me. I talked to a few of my friends who are writers. I dreamed. I made a goal to read every day.

That alone was a big change for me. I had no self-control when it came to reading so my rule during my previous 5 years of school was no reading during the semester. Now, I was starting up my last semester, arguably my most difficult (if only because my senioritis hit new heights), and I was reading every day.

I knew I couldn’t commit to actually starting my novel until I was done with school because I knew it would consume me. So I planned it as best I could, having absolutely no writing classes under my belt (other than “writing in the social sciences” which is a different solar system than writing fiction), or knowledge of how best to tackle the scary goal of “WRITING A NOVEL.”
Graduation came on a sticky May afternoon full of accomplishment and smiles and gratitude and family and rushing to move on to bigger and better things. 

(Not to mention an amazing hug from my gorgeous professor from my first semester).

Sarah took me 2 days later to New York City and my mind was full of Wicked and $1 pizza, gorgeous buildings and discovering publishing companies, tour bus rides and museums, painful feet and biting wind and falling in love with a city which reason and practicality tell me will never be my home, no matter how much I may want it.

I'd had 5 months of build up to writing MY novel and I couldn’t be more full of hope and passion. I was ready. I would get home from the Big Apple and finally put that world on paper. 

And then the exhaustion set in. 

The fatigue that comes from starting your graduate program 11 days after graduating with your Bachelor’s. 

From a year of wonderful and scary and healing sessions with clients who shape your first year of seeing clients but leave you unsure how to take care of yourself. 

From having a perfectionist brain with a broken body that keeps breaking in new, bone-breaking, world-shattering ways.

From going non-stop on vacation because your spirit is enlivened but you body is begging you to stop. 

So I slept, and despite the darkness covering my mind and soul, dreamed of those characters and that world.

Finally, I started writing. Putting words to the story that had been building slowly in my mind for the past 10 months.

And I wrote 5,000 words my first go!

And it felt amazing. Maybe I could do this. This big, scary, wonderful thing. 

But, it was also tiring. Physically. Emotionally. 

So the time between each writing session became longer and longer and the word count dropped lower and lower.

All the while the darkness became darker and the hope became dimmer.

Finally, I re-read the story I’d written so far and realized that the main character in my head was NOT the person coming out onto the pages.

Where I meant her to be proud of her differences, she was beaten down by them.

Where I meant her to be inspirational, she was unsure of who she was and what she had to offer.

Now, I know those traits would have develop throughout the book if I had continued, but it was happening different than I wanted. Different than the character in my head wanted.

It wasn’t happening for the sake of the story, or the characterization, or any reason contained within the novel.

It was happening because of my Depression. My doubt, my feelings of being beaten down were seeping onto the pages, darkening them in ways I didn’t intend.

And if I learned anything as a therapist over the last year, it’s that if something is coming from me and my needs rather than my client’s needs, I need to re-evaluate and change something.

Movement in therapy should always be client-driven, not come from the experiences or needs of the therapist.

Movement in stories should always be character-driven, not come from the un-related sufferings of the writer. At least, that was how it felt at the time, for this book. (Maybe there are times where this is good; I don’t want to assume I know better than other authors for their own work).

Not only was the story not going in the direction it needed to, but it was starting from the very first page in the wrong place.

So, I decided to take a break.

Wait until I was in the right state of mind and heart to write the story that I had planned.

I was exhausted and had no faith in myself to get anything done. Just getting out of bed took all my mental energy. I had so many plans for my last, little break before real life set in and I didn't do any of them. I couldn't. The weight and heaviness and pain from my body was somehow transferring to my mind and I was helpless to stop it. 

I convinced myself I was lazy because any normal person can get their ass off the couch and do something. But I couldn't. There was a weight in my chest (anxiety, maybe?) that prevented me from stepping out the door unless absolutely necessary and doing anything of value inside the safety of my apartment. 

Even reading, which is my favorite thing in the world, took more energy than I typically had. I would just stare at my bookshelf and sigh because I couldn't invest in the stories I loved so much. 

The one thing I could do was watch TV. (And look at Pinterest, of course). So, I self-medicated with Netflix. 

Grey’s Anatomy, 
How I Met Your Mother, 
Doctor Who, 

Seriously, y’all, it was a problem.

For what it’s worth, watching these shows did keep me from going to a much darker, scarier place. I honestly believe that if I hadn’t had these shows to turn off my brain and actually enjoy something, I would have had some serious suicide ideation. I like to think I would never become actively suicidal, but ideation was within my realm of possibilities. These shows, thankfully, kept those thoughts at bay.

So, yes, I numbed out with TV.

I still do, sometimes when I need to, sometimes when I don’t.

I’m doing a little better. I think. I’m trying to work out seeing my own therapist, because God knows, I need one. But it is difficult in my current financial situation. I’m reading blogs of people who have gone through trials that have similarities to mine, seeing what helped them, trying to find way to cope with the life ahead of me. And it’s helping. Slowly.

But I think the desire to write is back.

And today is the beginning of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The 30 days each year in which writers all over the world commit to writing 50,000 words of a novel. Or at least trying to.

Coincidence? Maybe.

If I’m honest with myself, however, I’m not sure a novel is something I can do right now.

I know I’m not ready to commit to writing that much in the story I began in June. And I don’t have any other novel ideas.

But I still want to write. And I think I still want to try to write 50,000 words this month.

Some of it will be in my journal. Some of it will be on my laptop (to ease in speed and word tracking). Some of it, hopefully, will be working on my WIP. Some of it I will post here.

I have a lot of things to work out in my mind, in my heart, and I’m finally in a place where I think I can start putting the words down again.

I might find out I’m not actually ready, but I want to try.

I might not hit the word count goal, might not even get close. But I want to try.

And I want to be a part of the writing frenzy that will be happening everywhere. I want to support my writer friends who are taking the challenge on, whether as is or modifying it to fit their needs (with editing and the like).

Hopefully, as I work things out, I’ll feel that darkness lift and I’ll be able to get back to my WIP.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to fully participate in NaNoWriMo 2014.

But for now, I will write my story.

And that is enough.

To everyone doing NaNoWriMo, GOOD LUCK!!! I’m so looking forward to hearing about your stories and progress! You can do it!!!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The good things

So, my last post was hard to write. Probably hard to read. 

Here's something not so serious. 

Catch-up for the last 4 months! In reverse order. 
1 - Allegiant 

Finally!! Great day, what a ride that was. 

I had so many feels the whole time. And of course, at the end. I sobbed and leaked tears all over the pages of my precious book. (And lets be honest, probably some snot, too). 

It was not at all what I expected, but I do accept it. Veronica is my homegirl and Divergent will always be the book that inspired me to write a novel. And my favorite book for a long time. I don't want to rule out the possibility of something overpassing it, but it sure would take one helluva book to do that. 

My copy, right before I started reading. Just noticed the blue in the wave totally matches my sheets. :)

You know how you just grab whatever is nearby for a bookmark sometimes? My cute little brown bear became a bookmark once. I'm so weird. You can also see my heating pad - the blue thing - a necessary accessory for any RA reader. 

2 - Pumpkins with Malorie and Allie

After learning that Mal is having another little girl and that she is, praise God, perfectly healthy, we made a stop at a pumpkin patch. We didn't get nearly as many pictures this year as last, but it's okay. Allie carried around as many mini pumpkins as her little 3 year old arms could carry, that little adorable babe! I snapped this picture right before she stood up from smelling the flowers...

What a stinkin' cutie. And she still has two littles in her arm. 

We got one big pumpkin and one small pumpkin just for Allie. It was so hard to pick one because they all had scratches and parts that looked like it was about to mold away. So, we got the best we could of each. Then we went home and painted them. I learned I much prefer painting pumpkins to carving them. Carving with RA hands is like the hardest thing in the world. I also learned (well, relearned cause I've known it for a long time) that I have paint anxiety. Luckily we started to mixing colors and that made it okay to mess up. :)

The pumpkin we all painted together. Mal did the wave, I did the dark blue behind it and we all three did the color mixing on the rest of it. But mostly Allie. She also did the purple on the stem. 

3 - BYU Football game at Reliant Stadium

BYU came and played University of Houston. Brother came down and Dad, brother, Sarah, my friend Justine, and I went to the game. It was intense!! But in the last 2 minutes, we won! 

Sarah and I 

Justine and I after the game ended. The end was just so intense. Please note the man behind us. What is he so impassioned about?!

Yes, I totally read a bit when I got too overstimulated by the noise and all the people. Introvert, much?

4 - Doctor Who

I mentioned in my last post that I have become a Whovian. I started the second week of August and finished the modern seasons by the middle of September. Sarah, Mom, Becca, and I have all fallen in love with it. My niece Andie has some too, but she hasn't been able to watch as much as us cause of school and bedtimes and such. Becca has been behind us because of working nights so any time I go home, we pick up wherever she is and watch. Recently we watched the beginning of season 6 with the Silence and I decided we needed to play along. 

Wait, why do I have these marks on my arm? I can't remember... 

5 - Professor River Socks

Andie's friend's cat had kittens and she got one. Her name was originally just Socks when we got her, but with my strong encouragement, Andie and Becca decided to name her Professor River Socks. Any combination of those names gets used regularly. We got her at 7 weeks when she was so, so tiny. And now, she is something like 13 and seems so incredibly huge. She is also incredibly feisty and bitey and scratchy. I have scars. Her nickname is Lilith because she can be a demon kitty. I look forward to when she can get fixed so she will hopefully calm down a bit. But she is adorable and has made me firm in my decision to get a cat as soon as possible. But it will be a rescue kitty that has already been fixed because I just can't handle the energy and biteyness.

There's my bear again, her name is B. But instead of a bookmark, she is being brutally attacked by an adorable kitten.

She loves attacking my little stuffed things. That is B again and my hedgehog named John Watson. (Sarah has an otter named Sherlock). River also likes to attack my shoe, hence it being in the middle of the room. Crazy thing.

Sarah and I with River one of the few times she was calm enough to stay still. She slept on Sarah for about 10 minutes, then on me for about 5 and then she went back to attacking things. 

6 - The Mortal Instruments

Becca, Sarah, and I went to see City of Bones. I don't think it was the opening night, but we dressed up as Shadowhunters anyway. Complete with black clothes and rune tattoos (temporary, unfortunately). Such a good movie. Obviously, the book is better, but it was so fun to see these characters we love on the big screen. Though there were some plot points changed that I was bummed about, the characters were perfect for me. I originally hated Jamie Campbell Bower for Jace, but it didn't take me long to be won over. And Kevin Zegers as Alec, Aiden Turner as Luke, and especially Robert Sheehan as Simon - PERFECTION. 

I somehow don't have a picture of all 3 of us - probably on one of their phones. I had three runes and it definitely did not help with my desire to get tattoos. 

7 - Floating Lantern Celebration of Elizabeth Grace

August 20, 2012 was one of the worst days of my life, with many more days of equal pain to follow. A baby girl was taken from the earth and it was so hard, so hard to see my loved ones in pain. But God was there and has been there to help heal the pain as much as possible for all who loved that girl and her parents. We went to the beach on her first birthday to release lanterns in her beautiful memory. And God was there again. (Even when a cop came and told us we had to leave because apparently fire is illegal on the beach). :)

I love you, Beth. I can't wait to hold you one day. 

These things are seriously hard to light when it's windy. Recommendation: don't use them at the beach where it is perpetually windy. 

Three of the lanterns in the sky. Beautiful.

The moonlight on the ocean was breathtaking. Such a peaceful, beautiful night to remember a beautiful, precious, loved-beyond-measure, little girl. 

8 - Finding old family pictures

My amazing Grandma found some old family pictures and brought them to the cabin to show us. I took pictures of them on my phone. It was crazy to look back at them and see our family so long ago. 

I am well-known in my family to often rave about how adorable I was a baby and young kid. Seriously, I was adorable. I can't handle it sometimes. I want to pinch my little cheeks! 

Gosh, I still love swinging so much. Though, I could never swing on my knees like again ever again. 

My 2 great-Grandmas from my Dad's side. I'm on the left with my legs and arms in my shirt. The two other kids are my cousins Kaley and Lee. This summer, Kaley was named as the 1st Runner up in the Mrs. America Pagent. She is soon going to Hong Kong (I think), to compete is Mrs. World. CRAZY! She was also my favorite cousin growing up. 

All the cousins with the Great Grands. Each family is in their own color. I still have my legs and arms in my shirt. I must have been cold. Or grumpy. 

My Family! Michael, Becca, Mom, me, Dad, Sarah, Great Grandma L, Great Grandma R. We were so cute, I can't even handle it!!

Fast forward 20 something years. Me and Grandma. Yes, I am wearing my Iron Man shirt. We were working on a Thomas Kinkade puzzle. I love doing puzzles with Grandma so much. She is doing so well and is so beautiful. I am so grateful for her!!

9 - Breakfast with McKenzie

I got to meet up with Kenzie, my best friend from my mission. Her friendship toward me has been so healing over the years. No matter what I am feeling, I know I can go to her and she will drop what she's doing and help in any way she can. She listens better than almost anyone and shows pure love to me, no matter how little I sometimes deserve it. We hardly get to see each other (like, once a year), and don't talk much, but just knowing she is there makes me feel safe. I am so grateful for her. She just started her Master's program in Young Adult Fiction (I think - sorry if I got that wrong, Kenz!), and I am so proud of her and happy for her. Love you tons, my friend!

10 - Despicable Me 2 with Allie

Sarah, Mal, and I took Allie to see Despicable Me 2. It was my first time to go to the movies with Allie. Her mom and I went to sooo many movies in high school. It's pretty much the only thing to do in our home town. We once counted how many movies we'd seen together, at theaters and at home. It was around 150 in a year and a half. So, movies are a rich tradition with us. So fun to be with her and her daughter for one! And the movie was hilarious!!

It is so fun watching her get immersed in stories. I'm a little obsessed with this niece-child of mine. 

Well, that's all I currently have photo evidence for, so I'll leave my catch up there. No matter how hard things get, I do know I have people I can rely on. People who love me, no matter how difficult I am. People who know me and know what I need, or at least are willing to help me figure out what I need. I am so grateful for them. By no means did I cover everyone who helps me get through hard times, this is just what was on my phone tonight. :) 

So, to all of you who help me, 

who reach out to let me know you are thinking of me, 

who let me vent, 

who invite and include me in activities even if I'm in a bad mood and can't be easy to be around, 

who take my mind off things, 

who fangirl with me (even if just through Pinterest - you know who you are), 

who make me feel that my life can still mean something despite how difficult this disease is, 

who reach out to me in your struggles, even though I have my own, so we can feel the grace that comes from helping each other,

who included me in a business venture out of love despite signs that I might not be the best person to trust with it, 

who smile at me, 

who listen to me try to figure out the wanderings of my sick, sad mind,

who text me even when I don't answer, 

who love me for me when I can't see anything worth loving...

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. 

Thank you for joining me on this journey, for being my fellow traveller in this messy life. 

I couldn't do it without you.