Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hey, Hey, It's My Birthday!

So, today is the day. I am another year older. Yay, yay! Is it strange, or uncouth to post about your own birthday? Not so sure about blogging etiquette. I know I should be super depressed, sitting in the fetal position counting my grey hairs. Oh wait, I can’t. I started dying those bad boys years ago. J

Surprisingly, I am feeling pretty good. I am one of those odd people that actually likes myself more the older I get. I have grown fond of the smile lines around my lips, and those intense squiggly indentions running across my forehead. The grey hairs first made their appearance in my mid twenties so I have long since resigned myself to monthly touchups. To me age means wisdom, compassion, understanding and patience... all qualities I would love to have. 

Truth is, I have a bit of a love affair with the elderly. Just ask my husband (he thinks it’s kind of weird). I gush not at babies, but at the old couple at Paradise Bakery who sit across from each other holding hands. Holding hands! Is there anything more lovely? Love them! Can’t wait to be them.
Here are the absolute cutest "older" people I know... Love them!

I am already picturing Travis and I doing the same thing… except we would be in a boat on a lake somewhere… he would be fishing, I’d be reading a book. Doesn’t that just sound heavenly?

Anyway, so it’s my day. I am not really sure what that is supposed to mean. I am going to go to church, Travis will throw together dinner, then I'll attend a Relief Society committee meeting at 8. Travis is making me strawberry shortcake for dessert, yum. That’s his favorite dessert, but I’m not complaining... sugar is involved. Overall, not too exciting, but pretty perfect just the same. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Driving Into The Sun

Last weekend my family traveled to Snowflake Arizona to visit my husband’s family. We were on the highway heading home just as the sun was setting. As we drove, the sun descended until its light shown directly in front of us. We were literally driving into the light. Insert joke here. J This was a beautiful sight, yet a bit dangerous. Because of the bright light we couldn’t see anything around us. I had to snap a picture.

Life can be this way. We set our course, know our destination, but are blinded sometimes. We have to go on faith that we will reach our end destination as long as we keep moving forward. We just have to go slow and be very, very careful not to lose sight of what’s ahead.

Two things happened to me since then.

First, I was looking for something I lost… (still can’t find it btw).What I did find was a rejection letter from a literary agent that I had received in January of 2008. It’s kind of depressing to realize you are in the same place you were six years ago. All of those feeling of self-doubt that I hate started seeping into my soul. Oh self-doubt, you evil villain, you! To be fair it was my first manuscript and it was really bad.

The second thing that happened, I received my acceptance letter from ASU. Boy, that was fast. Of course I was expecting in. What? Were they going to turn away my tuition? I don’t think so. And though this is what I wanted, I started to feel a bit overwhelmed. Insert self-doubt here. 

So, here I am today with mixed emotions. I ran across this picture on my phone, (the one above). I remembered the impressions I had when looking into that blinding light. I was reminded that I did have my destination in my sights. I don’t know how long it will take, but I do know I am on the right course. I am not the same author I was six years ago. I have studied, taken classes, attended critique groups, all in order to hone my craft.

I am also not the same person. I am not waiting for things to happen to me. I am moving forward… “keep moving forward,” as one of my favorite little cartoon characters kept saying. I may not be able to see my path clearly at times, but if I keep my focus on the future I want, I know I will reach the destination I have locked in my sights. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Application Is In

This week I finally sat down and filled out my application for Arizona State University. I thought all I had to do was have my transcripts sent over from the community college. But, no! Because I filed late for my Associates Degree…like a few days late, I do not officially receive my degree until May. May! Because I don’t have my degree, ASU is asking to see my high school transcripts. High school? Does my high school still even have my transcripts? I called Mesa High, GO JACKRABBITS! and figured out how to pull my transcripts and sent them over.

Boy, does it feel weird to look back that far. High School was a lifetime ago. Like 19 years!!! I hate to disappoint ASU, but I am not the same person that those transcripts represent. Yet, I sent them anyway. I was assured they only needed them to show I graduated. Yep, class of 1995!

That’s not all this girl did this week. I also wrote several scholarship essays. It’s an interesting experience writing about how awesome you are, and how deserving you are of other people’s money. Can I just say that ASU is EXPENSIVE, holy cow! It’s not like I want to be a brain surgeon or anything.

I also researched agents this week.  After finding the ones I thought would fit my novel I sent out a couple query letters… cross your fingers. :)

Last but not least, I painted those blasted shelves. What’s that I hear, a round of applause? Well thank you. It took me long enough. I love how they turned out. I feel much more organized.

Overall, it’s been a very productive week. It only took me writing my last post to realize that it was time to get off the sofa and accomplish something already.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Lets Get Motivated

It’s the beginning of the year, the time when resolutions are as common as sunny days in Arizona, yet I find myself with NO motivation to accomplish anything. What is that? I fear, now that I don’t have deadlines and due dates, I can’t bring myself to accomplish anything.

I should be painting the shelves my husband built. I should be finishing painting my daughters room, a project I started over two months ago. I should be revising my novel. I should be sending out query letters. I seem to have hit a wall that is insurmountable. 

Instead of opening my manuscript, I have been opening books, books not written by me. I love to read! I am a fan of anything fiction, sorry, not a self-help girl here. I don’t have time to read while I am attending school, so I think I may subconsciously be trying to catch up on four months of reading, in one week. Yikes.  In my defense there are some pretty awesome books that have come out this year. Is it just me or are books just getting better and better? I just read Julianne Donaldson’s Blackmoore and a Karen White novel, (love all of Karen’s books!) Now, I want to move on to yet another book. I can read a book in a day, in fact I often do, which explains the state my house is in :/ 

My friend suggested that I am just going through a de-stressing phase, and that I should just go with it because it is what I need, mentally. I think she may be right. My first week out of school, before Christmas, I was a bit down, feeling like I should be somewhere doing something, I just had no idea what. That has passed and I am now just being down right self-indulgent.  

So, I guess I will give myself another week more of reading and zoning out of life, then it's back on my horse, and hopefully the Jen that leaves her house and actually accomplishes things will return. :) 
Watching Sleepyhollow, another one of my guilty pleasures this week. I love how freaked out I look!

Monday, January 6, 2014

A Year In Pictures

Life is always a bit crazy at the end of a year. I usually race through the month of December and don't stop to assess my year until the dust has settled. So now, days after the start of the new year I am finally taking the time to reminisce.

I am not normally one to look back and contemplate too much. The truth is, I have had years that have brought me to my knees, literally, and looking back is still a bit too painful. 

And then I have had years like 2013. 2013 was pretty great, and I hesitate to look back because I don't want to jinx 2014. I know, I am bit of a nut. So anyways, here is my look back in pictures. I have added some of my kindos. I am still a bit hesitant to do so... but they were really the best part of 2013 so I couldn't not include them.

I got a little crazy with my pics... a bit too many, but I figure you can stop looking at any point. 

Salzburg Austria

Beethoven, I am a huge fan!

She thinks she's King of the world.
Balboa Island

Wood Carving in Rothenburg Germany
My first black eye. Soccer is lethal!
Newport California
on top a medieval wall, Germany
Two peas in a pod, these two.
Streets of Salzburg


Creepy lady climbing down from the ceiling....
Castle in Mossle Valley, Germany

Bacharach Germany

Rocking it at Saguaro Lake
Sedona AZ