Sunday, March 18, 2018

Nightly Thoughts - Moses and the Burning Bush

Should I be going to sleep? Yes, but I want to dip my toe back in the world of my writing. I don't know that I ever realized how much my writing kept me sane before, but I'm realizing it now. I guess I should have thought about it in 2016, when I was going insane over my history thesis (Haleigh and my history professors can all tell you that), but I'm sure realizing it now.

Short version, I don't have a lot of time. I'm struggling with all the stuff that goes with teaching, and then all the stuff that goes with being a student. Lucky for me, I have one more assignment to turn in tomorrow for SPU. After that, it's my big portfolio project, seven more lesson plans to be reviewed by my field supervisor, a lot of paperwork, some reflections... but honestly, none of that matters as much as teaching, and so far I'm still scared teaching. No, it's not the students. Yes, I knew this would be a big job. I still want to teach. But it's a big job.

A couple of weeks ago, it all slammed into me that I was way out of my depth. I can't help every single kid the way they need it. How can I? I'm just me.

Then, that Sunday, Pastor chose for our Old Testament reading the story of Moses and the burning bush, and all of God's promises to be with Moses despite all his excuses. It was a sharp and important reminder for me - it's not just me. God is working in me somehow, and He is not going to let me or these kids slip through the cracks. He knows what He is doing. He knew what He was doing when He helped me get into SPU, He knew what He was doing when the Turkey trip lined up perfectly to count for class credit, He knew what He was doing when I found the job at the school out by Redmond, He knew what He was doing when I got the student teaching gig I got, and He knows what He is doing today, tomorrow, and every day going forward. I must learn to trust Him. My trust abilities are pretty weak, but if He uses this to strengthen them, so be it. I'll take it.

I don't know what's going to happen next. I don't even know if I'll pass my big portfolio project. I've never been less sure of anything in my life. But if I don't - God knows what He is doing. Whatever comes next, I commit it to His hands.

Readers - I encourage you all to do the same. It doesn't make everything feel okay right away (my family will testify to that!), but it suddenly becomes so much more manageable.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

...and Update on Book 4!

This is the other good news I promised in my last post. Unlike the last couple of years, I've been making steady progress on book four, currently called Arashna. I wouldn’t call it hefty progress, but it’s been steady. I think I’m averaging about a page per week, which is not a great rate, but it’s a good habit to have while there are lots of other things distracting me.

Naturally, some of those things will have to take precedence sometimes. I’m student teaching right now, so that will definitely take precedence, because if I don’t make that a priority, students and their learning will suffer for it. That is obviously most important. Also, I have a massive portfolio project that is going to require a lot of my time and attention and is going to determine whether I get licensed or not. So, there’s that.

But, the short version of my progress so far is that every character except two has been presented, including a few who were in Pasadagavra, but not in Graystone. Zuryzel is there, obviously, and she’s in the middle of a couple of serious struggles - no, Mokimshim wanting her dead is not her only problem.

So, that’s the last of my news. Progress is being made on Arashna! I don’t have anything like a release date for it yet, and if I keep to my half-page-per-week rate, it won’t be for a while. But, never fear! The story will be told! Eventually...

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Update on Me...

I know I haven't been blogging much, but the reason for that is that there hasn't been much to blog about. Seriously, Sunday last week I sat down to write an email to a professor about what I've been doing since Turkey, and I couldn't think of anything particularly interesting. It's been work, school, and visiting family.

Nonetheless, here's the general news about me since Halloween.

The Saturday after Halloween, I came down with some kind of nose issue. It wasn't a cold or the flu, as there was no fever, sore throat, aches, or coughing. This lasted for about three weeks - another reason I know it wasn't a cold - at which point, my nose cleared up, but I was then beset by a furious cough that lasted from November through New Years. Basically, I was sick from Halloween to New Years, I pulled a back muscle from coughing so much, and I missed church, work, and homework on different occasions due to this. That's also why I never posted the list of craft shows, by the way - I would get home, suffer through my homework, try to update my Travel Blog (to give you some idea, I was working on that Before You Go post on Halloween in my Zuryzel costume, and I posted it the day it was finished), and then be too exhausted to figure out where I was going to be and when. I was lucky if I knew where I would be the night before. Yeah, that cough took over my life, which was pretty mortifying.

Sickness aside, I nailed all my classes.

I got a collection of awesome Christmas presents, including books, a commuter mug, lots of earrings (which are my favorite jewelry), and two fidget spinners!

I quit working regularly at the school in December, so I would have some time to prepare for student teaching, but I spent a lot of time covering for people who got sick, so I was still there for a general January birthday celebration with the other aides. That was fun!

I saw multiple movies I'd missed over this hiatus, including Ragnarok, Spider-Man Homecoming, and Guardians of the Galaxy II. I also saw Darkest Hour with my family - that's that new Winston Churchill movie starring Gary Oldman (Sirius Black) as Churchill. If you can catch that one, I definitely recommend it.

And, in probably the most exciting news, I start student teaching on Monday!!

Anyway... sorry for being gone so long, but I really didn't have the energy to do anything beside was I was getting graded to do and getting paid to do. The good news is that my coughing has completely ceased, and I expect to be back on my blog more often.

More good news coming in the next post ...

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween, from Princess Zuryzel!

So, about the second I logged off my last blog post, it occurred to me: Why shouldn't I go as Princess Zuryzel?

I don't know why I haven't done that before, but I haven't. So, this year, I did!

Yes, this year I dressed up as my main character, the Wraith Mouse princess. It didn't quite go as I expected, partly since I'm definitely no makeup artist, but I don't think it's too bad for my first try!

She typically wears blue, not green, but the green shirt there works too, I think. Also, she wears her sword across her back, but I couldn't make that belt work, so it went around my waist. I guess this is how she wears her sword for special occasions, when she doesn't expect to be hiking or climbing or running anywhere! 

Honestly, this was a lot of fun! I also now have a lot of things to think about for Zuryzel in future books.

Happy Halloween, everyone! I hope you had a wonderful time and you let your imagination go wild!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

It's October!

Fall is my favorite time of year, so I'm pretty happy that it's October (school notwithstanding). I'm pretty excited for Halloween, and I think instead of getting a new costume this year I'm just going to add a bunch of accessories to some of the costumes I've worn in the past.

See, that's the thing - Halloween costumes are so freaking expensive that I've only ever bought the costumes, and not the cool accessories that go with them. This year, I plan to wear one of my old costumes, but add some pretty decorations to it. So, since most of my costumes all look like medieval dresses, I'm thinking I need some kind of crown, some of those bracelet-ring combos, and some pretty face decorations.

I should also probably check and make sure that Halloween costumes are allowed at work... see, I'm working two jobs again, and last fall Halloween was on a day when I was at school, but this year it's on a day when I'm at the insurance company. I don't know that their dress code allows for medieval Halloween costumes... Yeah, I need to make sure it does. 

Anyway, if you're wearing an epic Halloween costume that you're very, very excited about, post a picture to my Facebook page (if your parents are cool with that). I would really love to see what all my readers do for Halloween!

And, if you dress up as a character from Darkwoods, I'd really love to see that! ;) 

In other news, I'll have a list of craft shows I'll be selling at soon. I think they're more spaced out this year, time-wise (the first one is in the middle of October), and I'm trying to visit some places I've never been yet. Once I have the complete list, I'll post it here. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

What I Think of the Three Live-Action Fairy Tails I Just Saw

Don't worry, I'll get back to the Travel Blog, but I want to make a quick note of this.

Turkish Airlines has a fabulous selection of movies to watch (including Ant-Man!) and on the list (under the category of blockbusters, incidentally) were Snow White and the Huntsman, The Huntsman: Winter War, and the live-action Beauty and the Beast. I had seen most of SWH before, but never watched it all the way through; as to HWW, I only knew of the two trailers, and I never even bothered with live-action BB, but I heard some very bad reviews about it.

On the trip over, I watched SWH all the way through. It's pretty much everything I expected... Snow White is bland, the evil queen is worse, and basically the only redeeming characters were the Huntsman and William, although I never bought the romance between Snow White and the Huntsman (I actually forgot the Huntsman was the one who was supposed to kiss SW). The plot was a bare bones plot with I think more scenic shots than actual dialogue or story. The comic relief was more stupid than funny. The fairy realm came out of nowhere and made no sense, but it looked cool, and there were a few cool shots of castles and mountains and what have you. Meh.

On the flight back, I watched BB. Obviously I had low expectations for it, but I was absolutely amazed. I clearly underestimated Disney's ability to make a bad movie out of a good story. The biggest problem I had was that every single person (except Emma Thompson, the teapot) very strongly resembled a child's windup toy. How they walk, speak, sing, dress, whatever, all made me feel like I was watching a windup toy display. There was almost no energy and no passion. For example, when Maurice was running away from wolves - wolves! - he does a lot of mild chuckling; I think he yells in fear once. Then there was that scene right after Gaston proposes to Belle, which is practically identical to the original cartoon; in the cartoon, I think that's one of Belle's angriest moments, but in this, Emma Watson just sounds bored. Gaston was the only mildly interesting character, and even then, only sometimes.

Another thing about BB that really infuriated me was the way they handled those crowd conversations. You know how in the opening song, you get shots of these random conversations all around the town, in different places, with different people, thereby getting a wider view of the town? In this movie, they all happen in about four square feet of each other, and between like a quarter of the people. And it's not like they were short on extras, so I don't know what was up with that. It just felt so much smaller and cheaper, and it sure didn't look like they put the same amount of effort in. The other crowd scenes are all pretty similar, but that opening one was the worst.

And finally, one more thing that drives me crazy: the very good ideas they had that were never fulfilled. The one that really gets under my skin was that every time a rose petal fell, part of the castle crumbled and the people inside got a little more like their inanimate selves (the feather duster grew more feathers, the candle couldn't bend his knees as well, the clock chimes, etc.). That is a very good idea that we see happen all of twice in the movie, once when it was introduced and once at the very end. That was it. Also, after it was introduced, the differences were completely unnoticeable for the rest of the movie; the candle's knees wouldn't squeak, the clock didn't keep chiming, the father duster didn't drop more feathers, etc. So basically, it was mentioned, forgotten, I think mentioned once more when they were explaining the curse to Belle, forgotten again, and then becomes part of the climax. Seriously? That was such a good idea, and it was all but wasted! There were a few others as well, but that's the one that annoyed me the most.

Part of the reason this gets under my skin is that Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie. It was also one of the first DVD's we ever bought - I remember about the time my Dad installed our first DVD player, someone gave us Beauty and the Beast and Monster's Inc, and those were the first DVD's we watched. So Beauty and the Beast is near and dear to my heart. This thing that came out is cheap-looking and way below anything Disney is capable of. There are a few interesting things and the occasional interesting song (still sung weakly, but interesting anyway) that made it watchable, but nothing made it good.

Which brings me to HWW. And that was ... actually, it was pretty good. Do keep in mind that I had pretty low standards at this point, but to my utter astonishment, this movie actually had a story. As in, a full story that filled up the movie's run time and even made sense. It's not a particularly contained story, as in, it's all over the place, but the progression from place to place actually worked out. The comic relief was still more stupid than funny, but there was so much less of it, thank you! The villains were terribly dull - they speak in these slow, trance-like voices the entire time, except for the occasional screech from Ravenna. Also, I wouldn't have called this Winter War, because the "winter war" part of it lasts for about 25 minutes. I would have called it Huntsman and the Mirror, or something similar, because the mirror had more to do with the story than "winter war" did, but whatever. And finally, there was a lot of stuff in it that doesn't really belong in a fairy tail... this was definitely a more adult version of a fairy tail than SWH. But, all in all, it was pretty decent - for the low standards I set.

Well, that's it. My plane is boarding - got to go!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter!

Today we celebrate Christ's victorious Resurrection, and the promise that our sins are forgiven and after death Christians can look forward to our own resurrection and joining Christ in Heaven.