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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

I’m sorry this is not a story update, but I thought I’d give a little glimpse of what I am currently working on by way of an excuse for not writing more.

Thanksgiving week was crazy busy. We were at my in-laws all week, and I took charge of all meals. My youngest sister-in-law has a terrible case of ulcerative colitis and cannot leave her bed most days, and therefore my mother-in-law is exhausted. By way of giving her a break, I basically took over while I was there, which I was more than happy to do, but meant I spent a majority of my time in the kitchen if we weren’t visiting with family. I have also been appointed the Thanksgiving coordinator, which means I was in charge of coordinating and supervising Thanksgiving dinner, as well as cooking several of the dishes. Again, totally fine and fun! Everyone knows I love organizing and scheduling things! But again, not a lot of time for writing or anything else, really. So we came back Sunday, after driving through the night (18 hour drive, not counting stops), exhausted, but happy we went, as always.

After a 5 hour nap, we got up and immediately began preparations for our huge Christmas party on Saturday. Let me tell you about this Christmas party. I have always wanted to host a cocktail party and a Christmas party, so with how weekends worked out this year, we decided to combo it and do a cocktail Christmas party! Of course, me being me, I wanted to make it all pretty and formal, and I’m super excited about it! We just messed up on one thing . . . we assumed most people would not be available since in previous events we have hosted, only half the people say yes, if that. So we invited about 40 people, in hopes of having between 15 and 20, with a minimum of like 12 and, so we assumed, a maximum of 20.

Can you guess how many are coming? As of right now, 33. So. We are cooking for over 30 people. Formal dishes. Appetizer portions, but still. Not to mention the variety of cocktails and beverages. So this has become a bit pricey and rather time consuming. It took me like 3 hours Sunday  night to make the grocery list and then purchase about 3/4 of it on Walmart grocery pickup to save at least some time. We’ve been slowly purchasing other items throughout the month, but last night we had to go out and finish getting a majority of groceries and all the random stuff we hadn’t gotten yet, like cups and napkins and toys for the kids that will be coming, etc. I can’t even think about the amount of money spent without a shudder. With the result that both Sunday night and last night, we only got about 5 hours of sleep. And no writing time.

I had to write extremely elaborate schedules for Thursday – Saturday to ensure I would have enough time for everything. Tonight is the bake meat pies / set up Christmas decorations / buy and set up the Christmas tree / buy the stuff we couldn’t get yesterday night. Tomorrow is the clean the entire house (man, does it need it!) / finish Christmas decorations / set up all the tables and decorations / make the party favors night. Thursday – Saturday: Cook, cook, and cook some more. And also try to find room in the freezer. Which may not be possible. So maybe buy ice and keep stuff in a cooler instead.

So that is my life update. Don’t get me wrong, it is going to be a ton of fun and I am glad we are doing it – it just means very little room to breathe right now.

Hourglass small at top (time left), big at bottom (stuff to do).

 

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As I sit in my lovely living room, the Jim Brickman station playing softly in the background, curtains drawn, a cup of tea (yes, in a teacup) and the beautifully lit Christmas tree in front of me, it feels more like early morning than almost 11:00 AM. Of course, the magic of the moment keeps being rudely interrupted by my need to blow my nose. Dratted colds. But that is the besides the point. The point is, my husband, during evening prayers last night, thanked God for several things over the last year that left me in a reflective mood even to this morning. God has so blessed me!

Last year, and even the year before, were full of fun and joy, and I welcome the year stretching before me with open arms. How different from the years before I met my husband, where years stretched before me with pain and trial, and the constant prayer that God would get me through. How it was worth going through those years to get to these happy ones! Years where I want for nothing, where I live in the capital of the free world, where I can afford, without any injury to myself, to send money to my family! This, this is what I dreamt about and prayed for all those years going through college, working three jobs, taking 18 credits, not eating because I couldn’t afford or didn’t have time for food, watching my bank account drop to $1.50 and praying for another babysitting job so I could make the next bill. Crying tears of joy in my car after that babysitting job did come through and God moved on them to give me a few extra dollars, which would allow me to just make my next car payment.

Oh, I am not bemoaning those years – by no means! Nor the years before, when I watched my family go through more suffering than any family should and worked to put food on the table for my family while my mom tried to find help for my dad’s dreadful chronic condition. No, I believe going through that is what made me into who I am, what gave me strength to work my way through the world and put myself through college and find a good job, what laid such a strong foundation for trusting Him, for knowing that no matter how bad things appeared, He always came through. So, for that, I am grateful. But for what He has now blessed me with, I am even more thankful -and so much more thankful than I would have known to be had I not gone though the trials first.

So, enough of my poetic reflections. 🙂 Highlights of my last year!

1. A free cruise to the bahamas!

2. The swim-up bar at the all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic (the trip for our first anniversary).

3. Paying off multiple credit cards!

4. Getting a job I love! (so far, at least! 🙂 )

5. Getting curtains for our new apartment!

6. Last night, seeing my American girl dolls, Felicity and Samantha, dressed in their Christmas best by the Christmas tree. Now how is that for a childhood dream come true?

As if you haven’t had enough of my rambling, I am not done yet. I did, for once, create goals for the New Year! And, for the first time in my life, I didn’t create them based off of everyone asking me if I was doing any New Year goals! I created them because I wanted to!

1. Lose 30 pounds. I have gained so much weight since meeting Daniel, which is probably due to actually eating, that it is now time to get back down to an ideal weight, though, per entreaties from friends and families and comments about how unhealthy I looked, I am not going to go back to the 120 I weighed when Daniel and I started dating. Instead I am aiming for a more natural 130.

2. Complete my novel A Picture of the Past. I mean complete as in, completed and edited – ready to be submitted to a publisher if I should so choose.

3. Make money writing. I know, I know, very general. Mostly goals should be quite narrow and easy to measure, but this one is different for me. The truth is, I don’t know what a reasonable number to put would be. What I want, is to begin submitting stories to contests and articles for freelance and see what happens, with the intention of giving myself an idea of how hard it would be to make a good living writing if I were to do it full-time. Not to say I am not grateful for the job I do have! I am! And I intend to work it for a minimum of a year, probably two! But that doesn’t change the fact that writing for a living has been my dream since I was 8 years old, and Daniel and I have discussed many times how feasible it would be to make it work. So I figure, if I can make any money writing while I work full time, maybe it will give me an idea of what to expect.

I feel like I should make a fourth goal, like a financial or other more responsible adult-ish goal, but I don’t really feel like it. Besides, Daniel and I already have our financial goals, set shortly after we married! And, with his recent raise, and my new job, it looks like we are back on track to meeting our goal of being completely debt free by the end of 2018! So I will leave it at that.

You will all be relieved to know that I am now done rambling and ready to release you back to your own New Year!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and God bless us, every one!

American Girl Dolls

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Sorry I haven’t posted in so long – I have been busy with life: Settling in to my new job, setting up Christmas stuff, recovering from a week and a half with my in-laws . . . all that. 🙂

So, here are my upcoming writing goals. I think it will be significantly harder to keep without a whole community of writers doing it, but I am going to do my darndest anyway.

By the end of this month, I would like to have finished the (extremely) rough draft of my book, since 50,000 words by no means finished the book. Then, by March 2015, I would like to have finished the editing process enough to send it to friends for critique. By June 2015, I would like to have it finalized. At that point, I will decide if I want to actually try to get it published, or just enjoy the fact that I completely completed a novel. Maybe I will even do Nanowrimo’s offer to get two free self-published copies.

In the meantime, I have decided to start entering some of the Writer’s Digest writing competitions. I finally subscribed to Writer’s Digest a few months ago, and am amazed at how inspiring the articles are to me as a writer. I think having goals to work toward (as in, writing contests) will help improve my writing speed and style and whether I win the actual contest or not, I think it will help me move forward, and I am tired of putting off something that I have always wanted because I am afraid of failing.

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