NaNoWriMo 2017

If you don’t know, it’s NaNoWriMo time! This month is National Novel Writing Month. Participants spend the month writing a novel — the ultimate goal being 50k words. If I remember correctly, 50,000 words is around 300 pages which is the average length of a novel today.

For the past three years I’ve participated and completed the 50k word goal. It’s not easy. They say to write 1,667 words a day and you’ll reach the end complete! The thing is life tends to get in the way. When you’re stuck, 1,667 words seems like an impossible goal. When you’re on a roll, 1,667 words is like nothing! So it’s an exercise in consistency.

During this month, if I make any posts at all there’s a very good chance that it’ll be ranting about how NaNo is kicking my ass. This time, though, I’ll be writing something a little different. Normally, it’s completely fictional with a character or two based loosely on someone I know. Now it’s going to be a little more personal. I’m going to be writing some about my life — friends, family, all the crap I’ve been through. At the end, I’m hoping it’ll turn into a happy ending (which will be the most fictional part of the story). At least, maybe. I’ll probably start writing and it’ll turn into something completely different.

If you’re interested in writing, even if you don’t think you’re good, you should at least check it out! It’s fun! Go to NaNoWriMo and see if there’s anyone else in your area. You can be anonymous or not. You can meet up with people if you want or you can do it solo. I’ve only met with the group in my area once when I was in college. Since then, I haven’t attended any write-ins or kick-offs.

Best of luck to anyone out there participating!

Signs

It’s a little too personal than I’m comfortable with sharing, so I won’t go too detailed.

I recognized something in my life that I’ve kept for years. I’ve justified it by saying it’s just artwork, etc. But the truth is, down in my soul, I’ve known it isn’t good. It’s a HUGE temptation for me and when I give in, it completely drags me away from the Lord and my bible gathers dust.

I knew I had to get rid of it. I didn’t know how. Just throwing it away, I could still go get it. Giving it away seemed even worse! I know it’s something God doesn’t approve of and giving it to another person, leading them to sin wasn’t right. So what other way is there? Fire.

It was between the trash and fire. The trash, I could wait until the last minute before the city picks it up, and throw it in. Or I could totally destroy it. So I prayed.

I got on my knees (literally) and asked God to give me a sign. If he wants me to destroy it with fire, put fire or flame in my dream, otherwise I’ll do my best to resist until the city picks up the trash. I begged, genuinely begged and pleaded with him to tell me what to do. I asked him for guidance and said I’ll do whatever he tells me to.

I can’t say I remember much about the dream, but I remember one very important thing. Flamethrower.

Why was a flamethrower in my dream? No clue. But there was my answer. Burn it.

So the next day, I gathered everything that had anything to do with it (which was surprisingly a lot) and burned all that I could. It made a huge smoke cloud, and it was windy so that was even worse. But I did it!

I asked for a sign. I got the sign. I did what he said. As I watched the embers of the fire die, I just felt this weight on my soul gone. I didn’t even realize it, but it was like carrying a really heavy bookbag all day at school, getting used to it, then dumping it off as soon as you get home. You feel like your shoulders are lifting. It was that, but deeper.

God is real! God is alive! He is listening!

If you’re struggling with something, pray about it. I mean, just talk to God, ask him for guidance and be prepared to follow through. Learn what God’s will is, make sure what you’re asking is in line with what he wants, and pray in Jesus’ name. I asked for a sign just like Abraham’s servant did (Genesis 24), something specific that couldn’t be confused as something else. Something specific for me to know.

Just try. Give it time. Like baking a cake. You can lick the frosting bowl and wait for the timer to ding saying the cake’s ready!

…or you might think I’m just crazy 🤷🏻‍♀️

The Waiting Game

After all the work and time and preparing I’ve done, now I have to wait. I’m used to instant gratification. It’s a nice concept, except when it isn’t. I’ve done the work, made things, listed them (still making things). Now I’m waiting for buyers. All the excitement is gone. Not gone, but severely diminished. I know logically that it wasn’t going to be like I list all the things and people start buying them immediately, immediate success, but I think I had just that kernel of hope that it would. Just that small bit of unrealistic expectations has been enough to completely derail me.

Right now, I think it’s different because I’ve set up a “craft table.” Every morning when I let the puppy outside I walk past it. And I can’t not touch the beads. There’s something about the feel of them, like putting your hand in a jar of marbles. It’s the only way I can think to describe it, but feeling them makes me want to do something. That’s how I’ve ended up making things. It’s all right there, one spot, out in the open and I just can’t resist! Besides, having an Etsy shop gives me a good excuse to keep buying more things!

I know I’m not alone in that – doing something and then expecting immediate results instead of waiting for the reward of success in the end. I think some of us (me included before) have prayed and asked for something from God and when there isn’t an immediate response or answer we understand, we get frustrated and give up.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him. — 1 John 5:14,15

The Israelites were in the dessert 40 years before they reached the land God had promised for them. I know it’s not going to be 40 years. But I think it’s a good comparison. 40 years,, 400 years of slavery before what God had promised Abraham and Isaac and Jacob came to be.

So, a few days? a few weeks? That’s nothing.

If we ask for things that are in accordance with Him, we’ll get it. God, the creator of the universe, who can hold the oceans in his hands, will take care of us. But he wants us to come to him. It’s something I’m learning and writing helps me process. This is me processing and I’m sharing.

Places with a Purpose

I’ve never been the kind of person who thinks that your bed is just for sleeping, your desk is just for studying/working, or the couch is just for lounging. I study, eat, sleep on the couch. You get my point.

But since I started this Etsy business again, things have been a little different. First, I kind of destroyed our living room by setting up two tables and a cart in it, but I don’t think people mind. To get to the kitchen for breakfast, I have to walk through the living room and get to see all my jewelry supplies. Using these tables just for making jewelry has really helped.

I didn’t buy into that idea of setting up a place with a purpose. Without even meaning to, I sort of did it myself. And it works! Of course, it doesn’t mean I’m about to not nap on the couch or eat a meal in front of the TV, etc.

Just saying… sometimes it works and sometimes it’s worth it.

Maybe there’s something you could try? If there’s any NaNo’s out there, maybe a specific chair or table or something just for writing. I don’t know. Personally, I’ll be writing wherever I can get my laptop!

Getting Things Done

Every day I wake up and think, “I hope I don’t waste this day too.” I know that life is short, anything can happen, you never know when your number’s up, yada, yada. I think about it quite a bit lately (I think because my step-grandmother just passed – no condolences necessary). So I wake up with the intention on accomplishing something that day.

But then my meds kick in and make me sleepy, or my anxiety crushes me, or I dissociate, or I can’t even make it out of the neighborhood because there happens to be a car behind me but they might be following so I race through the neighborhood like a madman to get home without being seen thanks to my paranoia and PTSD.

Finding something that I can do at home is good because almost none of those issues pop up! My Etsy shop has been up for about a year but I haven’t been using it. Now that I’ve got more listings up I find myself motivated and excited to do more. That is such a good feeling, and rare for me. I want to make more things to sell. Usually, I just give things away as a gift or keep it for myself. Selling them gives me an opportunity to make some money (to balance out how much I’ve spent on the supplies) and something to do. It’s more than me being able to say, “I washed the dishes and vacuumed the house.” To other people, that doesn’t seem like a big deal. They do all those things and go to work. I can’t. I wish I could. I wish it so much and I’m trying to get better, but it isn’t easy.

When I meet someone new (because I’ve taken a risk and went to a new church meeting thing once a week at night and it turned out I liked it so I’m going back), they’ve always asked my name and what I do. The last time I was around new people the questions were my name, my major, where I’m from (college). What can I say to those answers now? What do I do for a living? Nothing. Sorry. I’m a mooch. I come off as lazy and privileged. I know I’m lucky and that there are so many people in my situation who aren’t as lucky and don’t have the support system I do. Being able to answer them, “I run an Etsy shop,” makes me feel so good! Even if it doesn’t seem like much to them and no I’m no where near making a living off it, it’s still something other than permanently imbedding myself in the couch and burning my eyes out on TV.

tl;dr   Getting my Etsy shop going has gotten me going and I’m that real kind of happy that’s deep happy.

(Yes, I’m linking myself again. Sure, I’d love it if you bought something. But if you don’t, I’d be just as happy getting views on my “stats” dashboard. My standards are low.)

Etsy Shop

You may (or may not) have noticed the new widget in the sidebar for my Etsy shop, Emi’s Jewelry Studio. I’ve had the store for just over a year now and haven’t been very active. It’s hard to stay creative and on top of things when the depression kicks in and I’m just trying to keep my head above water.

Today is different. Right now I’m feeling crafty. So I’ve got some bracelets going and some rings. I haven’t actually posted the listings yet, but I am working on it. I want to put up a lot because it’s getting close to Christmas. I want them to available ASAP.

The problem is I have a tendency to make something that I love and I want to keep it. Several rings and bracelets have been made for the shop that I end up keeping. It’s gotten to the point though that I’ve got too many to wear and I don’t go out enough to wear everything. So anyway, I’m making lots of things to post before Christmas. I only ship within the US (because international shipping/fees is too much work, sorry).

This is shameless self-promoting. If you’re looking for something casual or a simple gift for someone, click on the badge! It’ll take you straight to my shop. Not a lot is up yet and it isn’t quite Christmas time, but keep me in mind! Be on the look out for bracelets, rings, and earrings! Some day soon I’ll have the right supplies to take the best pictures I can (because let’s be real, a good picture is the number one reason for even looking at a product online)!

Who knows? Maybe I’ll post a discount code on here for y’all! 😉

edit: just posted earrings and a bracelet for Halloween!

What a day…

So, I have a big yard. I’ve been alone for the hurricane and after and normally I’m not. I was gathering up all the branches from the back and dragging them out to the street for the pick ups. I basically bathed in bug spray because mosquitoes were so terrible outside. It was awful and I wasn’t drinking enough (I realize after I collapse against a tree and the mailman asks if I’m okay).

I accidentally took two days of meds on one day so the second day I didn’t take anything. Long story short, my meds were all kinds of messed up. I’m being eaten alive by mosquitoes, I’m getting all kinds of scratches cleaning up the yard, near fainting, and the whole time I’m mumbling to myself that I’m not grumbling or complaining (Philippians 2:14)…

I was just a train wreck. Then I hear my neighbor through the fence (who I haven’t met yet) asking someone, “Hey, do you hear her?” And I just really wished I had a pool so I could jump into it and stay under as long as possible.

It was embarrassing and pathetic. Now, after some time, I think it was ridiculous and a little funny. Medicine is important!

And now you know. I hope it made someone smile!

Context Clues

I grew up going to church — Sunday school, Sunday morning “big church”, Wednesday night dinner, youth ministry. I went to church camp every summer until I aged out. So I grew up knowing certain verses by heart just through the repetition of hearing it and commonly quoted.

  • John 3:16 – For God so loved the world he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
  • Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
  • John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. He was with God in the beginning.
  • Psalm 46:10 – Be still and know that I am God.
  • Psalm 121:1,2 – I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
  • Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life.
  • Isaiah 40:31 – Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4 – Love is patient; love is kind.
  • 1 Corinthians 13:13 – These three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

And I think one of most well known:

  • Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I’ve heard that repeated in many different circumstances. Tim Tebow has worn it during games. People say it to others to buck up their courage, quoted in hard times, before interviews, etc. In fact, I can specifically remember my mother saying it to me before try outs and school presentations.

I’ve heard it so many times in fact that I’ve never actually looked at the verses before it. We go to it for strength and comfort. We go to these verses what what we need.

The verses around it put it into context. The book of Philippians is written by the apostle Paul while in prison to the Christians in Philippi. So here’s what the rest says:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

So it wasn’t about being superman or invincible. It was about Paul being able to handle all the situations. He’s been sitting in jail, in poor conditions, probably hungry, probably dirty – but he’s still content with his life because of Christ. He’s content in Christ.

I feel stupid! I didn’t realize this on my own. It was through a Bible study and I feel like it really opened my eyes to how I read the Bible.

Context y’all! Context is important!

We pick and choose verses to fulfill whatever we need at the time — comfort, strength, reassurance, guidance. When we read the Bible, we pick out the things that we need and suit us. That’s the same thing that hate groups who pull out certain voices to justify the horrible things they do.

We should read the Bible, like any other literature (Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Kerouac, etc.), we have to keep in mind the context — author, intended audience, and culture at the time it was written.

I’ve never thought to do that outside of some of the early Old Testament. So I thought I’d share. The Bible study is really good; if you’d like to check it out click here.

Nate wasn’t so bad…

At my house, there was a lot of rain and a lot of wind. That was it. But we never lost power, only cable and internet (Uverse) for a few minutes and then everything was fine. I woke up with power and didn’t have anything to worry about. I had trouble falling asleep worried that if the power went out then so would the alarm system. So I slept with a loaded gun on my bedside table. I’m glad I didn’t need to use it (though it did help me sleep)! I’d already moved anything that could blow away inside the garage or shed. Anything that didn’t fit (furniture) was all tied together in the middle of the yard.

I woke up yesterday morning and found everything was fine! There was no major damage to anything at my house or any of my friends’ houses or my brothers. There were a lot of new branches down to pick up which I started bright and early yesterday while it was still breezy out. But it wasn’t too long before it was back to hot and the air was so muggy it was like breathing through a wet blanket so I gave up. I got the front yard done and that’s enough for now.

While I was out working though, my neighbor was walking her dog and she asked if we had power. I told her that we did and she informed me that she didn’t. She only lives three houses down. Last night I looked to see who had lights on and who didn’t. Most of our little court was dark and that was when I noticed that noise I’d been hearing all day was a generator going.

Our street is in a weird location. It’s right at the cross sections of power grids and school zone districts and all kinds of stuff (but only those two have ever really had an effect). Normally when there’s a storm and the power is out it’s our house that loses the power and the other two or three houses with us. It’s always been frustrating. Especially after Katrina. No one had power for a week. Then the houses at the end of the street (not my end) had power and two or three days later we did.

But Nate wasn’t Katrina by far. Everyone has power this morning. So I’m thankful that the hurricane wasn’t too bad for us and we didn’t have any issues. I know my grandmother owns a condo over in Gulf Shores. If you weren’t aware Jim Cantore was only a few miles down in Orange Beach. And if Jim Cantore’s there, that’s exactly where you don’t want to be.

We’re lucky. The elevator is out but she’s high up on the fourth floor and isn’t there currently so she won’t have to be going up and down all those flights. Most of the building is rental. A few of my friends lost power in the early hours of the morning, but by last night they had it back.

So all in all, Nate wasn’t that bad for my area. I hope it wasn’t bad for anyone else’s (I haven’t been keeping up with it outside of anywhere where my “people” live.

I hope everyone else was safe through the storm. If you’re in a flooded area I really hope it gets settled soon and the things you really love aren’t ruined! Everyone affected is still in my prayers.

Prepping for my date with Nate

Well, in case you haven’t heard the news there’s a hurricane coming.  Nate should be making landfall sometime this evening. Things are crazy, even though it’s not that big of a hurricane. I mean, it’s insane.

In the aftermath of Katrina, it seemed like the news showed people coming together to help each other and share what they had with those that didn’t. Tragedy seems to bring people together.

Before a storm like this though, it’s every man for himself. People fighting over a parking spot in a grocery store when there are plenty of spots open in the back. They just don’t want to walk. People in screaming matches at the gas station over who gets to the pump first.

It makes me think of that warning story of shouting “Fire!” in a theater and everyone panics and people get trampled (also like Black Friday). We fight to get things that we want first before others, but in the end when things have been destroyed and there’s nothing left but debris and flooded cars people share and you can see the best in humanity (sometimes you also see the worst, but I think there’s more good). On my street after the storm has passed, we’re outside picking up the limbs, clearing the street. When we’ve finished our own house or gotten it to a one-man job, we move on to the neighbors and help them.

It’s kind of sad what it takes to make people see through their prejudices, selfishness, racism, and general ‘I’m better than you’ attitude.

The rain’s just started at my house and we were told to expect power outages, so I’ll end here. I want to keep my computer charged because I already downloaded some movies to watch when the power’s out if I want.

To anyone out there in Nate’s path, my prayers are with you. To those already affected by the hurricanes, my prayers have been with you. Be safe! AND DON’T DRIVE THROUGH STANDING WATER!!!!