Saturday, January 26, 2013

Gray To Glimmering Tag

Kellie is holding a Gray Days to Glimmering Blog Party over at Accordion to Kellie to brighten up those long, montonous days of January! Be sure to stop by her blog and check it out!

1) What's your favorite thing to do when you've been feeling uninspired?
Read. Read what? My Bible, a favorite book, a new book, notes I've written about my stories, etc.

2) Tell us about a really great movie/show that you've just discovered.
One I've JUST discovered? I don't know that there is one. Does The Happiest Millionaire count, even though my family discovered it last summer? That's the first one I can think of... :)

3) What do you like to do to change your mood?
Sing. It always helps.

4) Your favorite drink is currently...
White grape peach juice.

5) When you hear the word exuberant, what's the first word that comes to mind?
SMILES! Ahem... Jessa...

6) What made you smile last?
My siblings and all the millions of inside jokes that we share.

7) What five songs would make a playlist to describe your week?
One - Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious 
(from the Broadway Musical, not the movie - listen to it; it's different)
Two - Bow the Knee
Three - When God Is Near
Four - Ten Feet Off the Ground
Five - Sons of Odin
That's a rather interesting list, and I will leave it to you to interpret it. Really, those are the first five that came to mind, and I know they don't go together at all.

8) What's at the top of your creative 'To-Do' list?
Finish writing The Twelfth Kingdom... well, that won't be happening for some time, so let's say something else. Read Only A Novel by Amy Dashwood. I won a spiffy copy from a giveaway on Jessica's blog; the book just came in the mail, and I CANNOT WAIT TO READ IT!

9) The last thing you crossed off the above list was...
Hmm... read The Romance of the Forest. Indeed, I am not so uneducated compared to Jane Fairfax. Or Robert Martin. Or Emma Woodhouse. Or Harriet Smith. Or... I ran out of names...

10)  Quickly - the first movie quote from the top of your head, please!
"Mr. Guppy! Kenge and Carbuncle!"
Bravo for anyone who knows who said that, and in what movie.

11)  The best thing about January is...
SNOW! We finally have snow! A whole, glorious ELEVEN INCHES!
Spending the week at our classy blood cousins' house. THAT was great fun!
I can't decide.

12) The worst thing about January is...
My grandmother still being in the hospital. Thank you all for your prayers. They mean a lot. Grandmom is doing better, praise the Lord, but she's still in a lot of pain after the car accident. The doctors are encouraged by her progress and are beginning to plan her return home. Our God is An Amazing God!

13) What's your #1 resolution for 2013?
Write what?
Finish The Twelfth Kingdom.
Finish CoaL... maybe...
Work on any other story that suits my fancy.
Write music for the movie that we plan on making with our blood cousins this year (which also involves editing the actual movie script).
Pen poetry.
And so on...

14)  And lastly, share a quote or verse that you've found especially inspiring lately.
"Be still and know that I am God." ~ Psalm 46:10

God bless!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Character Encounters At Subway

And now for another Character Encounter hosted by the lovely Kendra! Don't forget to check her blog for more CE fun!

Since I've been wanting to write more about my story The Twelfth Kingdom on my blog, I've decided that this year, I'm going to have a Character Encounter for each one of the princesses, because there are 12 girls. I've already covered Judalily last month, so this challenge will only take me until November to complete. I do hope you all enjoy learning more about the twelve princesses of TK!

I mentally slap myself for neglecting to pack bread this morning as I follow my mother beneath the Subway sign and into the restaurant. It's one of the few places I can eat out, many thanks to my soy allergy and also because soybeans are hardly ever found in fresh vegetables. However, there is soybean oil in the bread for the subs, and in my rush to get out of the house this morning, I forgot to pack myself some of my own bread. Looks like I'll be eating salad today. I'm getting used to dumping the innards of my sub out and eating everything but the roll.

As my mom and I get into line behind the other hungry sub-seekers, I try to make myself feel better. My doctor appointment wasn't supposed to last as long as it did, and even though the office was situated an hour away from our house, we expected to be home by one o'clock, at the latest. 

I glance at my watch. 2:48. And Mom was still planning on making a few more stops before heading home. Getting some lunch was unavoidable. 

Mom stepped up as the man in front of her finished his selections of sub toppings and gave the order for two cold-cut combos. I let her go first and smiled as I listened to her usual request: lots of lettuce and lots of tomato, onions, with extra oil and vinegar. 

The lady behind the counter then looks at me expectantly, folding back the bread expertly. "And what would you like?"

"Lettuce and tomato..." I begin, seeing the meat and cheese already laid out neatly on the bread, before a soft voice cuts in.

"... and onion." 

I turn quickly to see a teenaged girl in a crimson gown embroidered with dark blue thread standing behind me. I recognize her red hair instantly.

"Ashrynn, I don't like onions. At least, not raw."

The red-headed princess appears utterly baffled. "Why not?" 

I shrug. "I just don't. They're fine grilled or cooked, but I don't like eating them raw."

She gave me a little sniff. "Well, you should attempt to like them. It isn't proper to snub edibles simply because the taste disagrees with your uncivilized tongue."

"Uncivilized...?" I refuse to be insulted by one of my own characters. "Ashrynn, you've been reading way too many books."

"I have not! Can I help it that my vocabulary generally appears to be of a wider range than yours?"

"Ah, ha! I made you up, so everything that is in your vocabulary is in mine. Therefore, we are equals." I turn back to the counter. "Pickles, green peppers, and cucumbers, please."


My shoulders slump. "Is there something wrong with cucumbers, Ashrynn?"

"No, I suppose nothing is wrong with them as a vegetable, but I must admit the flavor of such a green, seedy tube is rather unrefined and altogether mushy."

"Mushy, my eye!" I retort. "I happen to love cucumbers! And what was that you just told me about it not being proper to snub food based on its taste?" I turn back around to face her as the Subway lady loads my sandwich with more vegetables. "By the way, what are you doing here anyway? Usually one of you shows up somewhere in a somewhat private area. You're the first one I've seen who has appeared in a rather public place with other people around. Aren't you worried about..." my words fade off as I see her hazel eyes looking wistfully at my mom who is standing at the far end of the counter, waiting for me.

"You are most fortunate to have your family about you, Kiri." Her tone is soft, much softer than it usually is. "I would wish that my life could be more like yours."

Something pricks at my heart, and I lay a hand on her shoulder. "Ashrynn, I know right now that things look bleak. I know you hate where I've put you, but you've got to trust me."

Her eyes return to mine, probing them for answers, seeking something I cannot yet reveal to her. "I hope I can trust you, Kiri, for that is all I have right now. My sisters are splendid in their own ways, but..."

I level my gaze at her. "If you took your head out of books sometimes, you might be able to grow closer to your sisters and actually have them become your friends."

"Books do not judge you." Ashrynn's words were so low that I almost missed what she said.

"And neither will they. You are all the same, all adopted and saved from poverty and hunger by the hand of the king."

"We're not the same." She mutters.

"Kiri? Are you ready?" 

My mom's voice jerks my head around. "Uh, yes. I'm ready." 

As I expected, Ashrynn is gone when I look back to her. They always leave like that. I pluck up my wrapped sub, grab a fork, and follow my mom to an empty table near the window. The conversation I just had with Ashrynn won't leave me alone, and a sense of deep guilt settles on my heart when I realize that the last time I wrote about her or any one of her sisters was months ago. 

With a pledge to do better, to write more and finish the story, I sit down and unroll my sub. And groan.

I got onions.

God bless!

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Long Expected Birthday

I'm still in shock.

I cannot believe that MY little sister is ten years old today! When did this happen?? 

Ah, well...

Dear Teddy,

I remember the day you were born, not quite like it was yesterday, but somewhere thereabouts. I was buried under a collapsing blanket fort in our aunt's living room when Daddy called from the hospital to tell us that you, a rosy baby girl, had come into the world. And even though I already had three sisters, I was muchly excited about gaining yet another one (poor Doofus).

I am so glad that the Lord gave you to us. Your cheerful tone is a joy in our household, and you brighten even the grayest of days. I love the way you can make me laugh when I feel disinclined to utter a laugh. 

And now you're ten years old. You've left behind the days of single digits, and you are now quickly approaching those years which the earth describes as "old." But don't worry! You'll never get too old for me not to call you "Teddy!" :D

I hope you have the Happiest of Happy Birthdays today! 

Love you!
Your Kitty

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Christmas Tag

I saw this Christmas tag over at Miss Melody's blog, and even though Christmas has passed (for now), I couldn't help grabbing it to put on my own blog. Who doesn't like filling out fun tags, and besides aren't all those holiday movies telling us to keep the spirit of Christmas alive all year round? Or something like that. ;)

What's your favorite Christmas song? I don't have one! I love God Bless Us Everyone, Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella, In the Bleak Midwinter, Carol of the Bells, etc. etc. etc.

Who sings it the best? Andrea Bocelli marvelously sings God Bless Us Everyone! Other than that, I guess I'd be a bit biased to say that my family sings all the other carols the best. Especially Carol of the Bells. :D

Do you change your favorite Christmas song every year? Sometimes I enjoy one song more than others, but my favorites usually stay about the same.

What Christmas song do you hear the most? My family plays an assortment of Christmas CDs during the month of December (and the few months preceeding), so I don't know if I hear one more than others. 

Does your family mostly agree on what Christmas music to listen to or are you constantly changing the song? We agree on just about everything. Except when Doofus doesn't want to hear Suite From the Polar Express again... though I don't know why he has an aversion to that song. We only play it about three times a day during the entire month of December. 

Who's your favorite Christmas movie side character? Gonzo and Rizzo in The Muppet's Christmas Carol.

Besides George and Mary Bailey, who's your favorite character in It's A Wonderful Life? Uncle Billy (actually, I'm not a huge fan of George and Mary.... sorry)

Do you like Santa Claus in Miracle On 34th Street? Never seen it.

Vera Ellen or Rosemary Clooney in White Christmas? Vera Ellen. Rosemary Clooney gets on my nerves.

Bing Crosby or Danny Kaye? Danny Kaye! He's funnier. "I'm sure it's just a small, compound fracture, sir."

Besides "White Christmas" what is your favorite song from the movie? "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing" (I love watching the dancing numbers)

What's your favorite (or one of your favorite) lines from a Christmas movie? Only ONE?!?! "Oh, wait, I forgot my jelly beans." "After I figure out what that means, I'll come back with a crushing remark." "Ted! TED!" "Think Swan Lake. Step, step, LEAP! Step, step, LEAP!" "Hey, you. Yeah, you. Do you know what kind of train this is?" and more. See, I can't just do one.

Do you own a special ornament? Oh, yes, several. It's a tradition in our house for the kids to get an ornament for Christmas every year (sometimes extra), so I have over 20 of my own ornaments. Special ones? Hmm... I have a Kirsten Larson (yes, American Girl) ornament from Hallmark as well as a Kaya one, a silver flute, Precious Moments ornaments, a red Hallmark angel, and this year I recieved a Rapunzel ornament. They're all special to me since they're gifts from my parents.

Did you break any ornaments this year? Not this year. 

What's the oldest ornament on your tree and where did it come from? I couldn't say. We have TONS of ornaments, some from when my mom was little. My parents got married December 22nd, so they got a lot of ornaments as wedding gifts. 

Do you like pretty trees or fun trees better? Both. Pretty trees are for decoration. Fun trees are for families on Christmas morning. But I'd rather have a fun tree in my house.

Have you ever had a fake tree? Yes. Twice. One pencil tree when we lived in an apartment years ago and couldn't fit a big, real one, and then this year our grandparents gave us their 7.5 foot Norway Spruce, which is very pretty and doesn't look fake until you're staring straight at it with your nose 2 inches from the needles. I love real trees, but we're finding out that fake ones cater better to allergies. 

Green tree or a different color? GREEN!

Who sweeps up the pine needles and waters the tree? Usually my brother Doofus keeps it watered, but this year we had a fake tree so he got out of it. We all take turns running the vacuum (our living room is carpeted).

Have you made any Christmas crafts this year? I don't usually do crafts, just sewing projects that become Christmas gifts. 

Does your family read a Christmas story every year? Yes. 

If so, which one? 
Luke 2 is a MUST as it is the story of the first Christmas over 2,000 years ago about the Savior who came to save us because He loved us. Our other favorites include The Legend of the Candy CaneThe Candle in the Forest, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and The Legend of the Christmas Tree.

What do you do on Christmas Eve? Our usual Christmas Eve tradition finds us gathered in the living room, listening as my father reads aloud The Legend of the Candy Cane. Then we hang candy canes on the tree and sing before we go to bed. Sometimes, my parents have a special gift prepared for the younger kids.

How many Christmas's do you usually have? You could say three. My family does our Christmas on Christmas Day at our house, and then we have Cousin Christmas with our classy blood cousins that evening or a day following Christmas. And then we have CBC Christmas at New Years with our CBCs.

Marshmallows or whipped cream in our hot chocolate? Really? Neither. I'm not a huge fan of either topping, and since I'm allergic to chocolate, it's rather pointless.

Do you like the flavor cinnamon or peppermint better? Peppermint!

Have you ever had a white Christmas? Many times. We had snow this year! HUZZAH!

Ice skating or driving around looking at Christmas lights? I've never gone ice skating (but I'd like to!), so I'd have to go with the drive. I love looking at Christmas lights!

Do you like the blow-up Christmas decorations people put in their yards? They're nice to see once in a while, but I prefer the standard, twinkling lights and no poof.

What is something you are going to do new this year to celebrate? We celebrated with our CBCs with prayer, carols, pizza, and all other kinds of good stuff. Epic win!

Have you ever celebrated Hanukkah? No.

How many people are you giving presents to this year? Every member of my family (that means 7), plus I was also required to get two different gifts for cousins. Those are the only ones I bought, but I did help put together other gifts for friends.

What's your favorite kind of Christmas card to receive? One that includes a Christmas letter. I love hearing about what God has been doing in other people's lives. 

Do you eat breakfast first or open presents first? Breakfast. Always. 

Stockings first or last? First. 

What present do you REALLY want this year? This year? For 2013? That's rather far away, but okay... probably a copy of Little Dorrit (book). That's one Dickens I don't have yet.

Do you like a star on top of your tree or an angel? Angel for our main tree, but stars are nice, too.

Do you like the color red or green better? Green.

Silver or gold? Silver. All. The. Way.

One word to describe Christmas? Joyful.

I'm not going to tag anyone since it's no longer December, but if anyone wishes to grab this for later, feel free!

God bless!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Tales Of The Holidays And A Prayer Request

Yes, technically this should probably be split into two posts, but I don't feel like typing out two different posts at the moment. So, if you're really interested in reading this post, get yourself a hot drink (tea, if you must, otherwise I'd prefer you sip something else), sit back, and begin this epistle.

Okay, so maybe not epistle, but it is kinda long... and sorry... I didn't have any pics to upload.

So much has happened in the last month that I hardly know where to begin. I have the sensation that I am sitting down to write a letter to good friends to inform them of a great chunk of my life that I have neglected to mention here on this blog. Hopefully, you will forgive my rambling, for I fear that I will fall into some sort of insane sentences and garbled paragraphs. 

But anywho... to begin the tales of the holidays:

December flew by so quickly that it almost seemed as if the month had never happened at all. The first few days found my family in deep practice for three Christmas concerts. (You do recall that my family sings together, right?) On the 10th, we sang for an hour in a local mini "mall," a grand mix of fun and sacred songs. However, due to weather and bad timing, we only had a few people show up. We had so many friends tell us (slightly paraphrased), "We're so sorry we missed it! When are you singing again?" that my dad scheduled for us to give another concert on the 20th when we were able to invite a lot more people. We debuted some new songs this year, including a special rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas and Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella. For the third concert, we were supposed to sing for a local nursing home, but the concert got postponed for later in January when the facility was quarantined due to a flu outbreak. 

Our classy blood cousins' cousins came up for Christmas this year, and after years of hearing about them, we were finally able to meet. The evenings we gathered together for fellowship found us eating way too many cookies, talking so much that some of us nearly lost our voices the next day, and playing swell games around the dining room table, namely Four on a Couch. 

Christmas Eve my family visited a local nursing home (not the one with the flu) and caroled. It's amazing the blessing you yourself can recieve while being a blessing to others. It may seem a little thing to simply give some of your time and talent to bring a smile to the face of someone, but the feeling of joy his or her smile creates in your heart is something that you want to hold on to. 

Christmas Day dawned early for me, waking up at 6:15 when my little sister, KT Bugs, crawled into my bed, asking to snuggle, which we did until the rest of my family decided it was time to get up around 9 o'clock. My mom made our family's traditional breakfast: egg sausage casserole and cranberry coffee cake. My father read aloud the Christmas story from Luke 2 as we sat around the table and marveled at the wondrous gift of love that God sent the world. Then we all settled around our Christmas tree to exchange gifts. I was muchly excited to give Teddy and KT the doll dresses I made, two replicas of Disney princesses' dresses: Belle for Teddy and Rapunzel for KT Bugs. My family, it is obvious, knows me absolutely too well, for I recieved 7 books for Christmas, including a splendid, glorificous copy of Bleak House! My sister also gave me a brick-sized volume of Les Mis, which I shall dig into once I am done with Bleak House.

On the Thursday following Christmas, our church hosted a New Years' Taco Bar. It would have been pizza, but unfortunately, many of the families in our church have allergies, so tacos was a much simpler meal. It was here that I was first introduced to the word game Probe, which is now a big favorite of mine. For those of you who know Probe, you know with me how awesome it is, and fun it is to do words like auxillary. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, go find someone who knows how to play Probe and convince them to teach you, too.

And then our CBCs came for New Years (you all should know what that means by now...)! As would be expected, we stayed up after midnight on December 31st, singing and praying the new year in. We also made up a new way to play Apples to Apples, ate way too much pizza, memorized epic songs from our favorite soundtracks, and probably played The Wilds Bunch: Takin' A Break CD nonstop for three days straight. You know, all the normal stuff you do with CBCs. And then we ended it all with a cold. I'm still taking cough medicine. But what's a little cold to a grand, old visit with epic CBCs? 

And more stuff happened, but I have either forgotten it or I am planning to writer about it later, so all of that will have to suffice for now.

I do have a huge prayer request to share with you all, and I do hope that you all have read down this post far enough to get to this point. 

My mom's parents visited my cousins this year for Christmas, and on the way home on the 27th, my grandparents got into a car accident, and my grandmother was seriously injured. She is still in the hospital, and has had quite a few surgeries on her legs. Praise the Lord, Granddad was unhurt, and Grandmom is doing better, but I would like to ask you all to add them to your prayer list. Please pray that the Lord would give the doctors wisdom as they care for Grandmom, that she would heal quickly, and that He would grant peace and comfort to my entire family. My parents are going to go visit them in the hospital on Saturday, and we kids are staying with our blood cousins for a few days while they're gone. I know that God has His hands in this, and I know that He will be honored and gloried in whatever may happen, but it comforts my soul to know that so many people are lifting my grandparents up in prayer. 

Many thanks, and God bless!