Making the most of it… 4 days left…

Photo Credit : Pinterest

Photo Credit : Pinterest

How do you make the most of a moment?

This is officially my first post of 2013. How exciting, right? No… well, it was a bit weird the other day when I signed and dated something – I almost put ‘2012’ down. Ha… but yeah, how can we make sure that we make the most of 2013 and the days that we have. 

There are moments in our life that we don’t grab onto as hard as we should and make the most of it. It is almost kind of like when My family and I were hiking in Glacier Montana one time. My mom made a note on how all the people who live close to beautiful things sort of just take it for granted. I have also noticed that having lived on the Sunshine Coast… many people take for granted the beautiful beach and the ocean at their doorsteps. 

But then again there is another thing that people take for granted. People. Those they love.

I remember being told a story about how when my grandpa died that my Dad wished he could have said good-bye one last time. I understand that feeling.

There are also moments where you pay attention to small things that shouldn’t be paid attention to and then that distracts from what really matters. I know I have been victim to that one.

In four days I have to fly back to America. It is bittersweet, really. I am excited to see family and my country again, but in the same breath my heart is breaking! I don’t want to leave Johan here. I guess I must just go out and enjoy these 4 days like a banshee… and then I will look forward to the future while trusting God with his plan for us. While looking forward to his visits.

 

So what about you? What do you do to make the most of your time that you have? Also do I have any readers who are in long distance relationships? If so, give me a wave (comment)! :)

December – The Month of Packing

December – The Month of Packing

Have you ever seen the movie Groundhogs Day? Where Bill Murray’s character had to keep replaying one day over and over until he got it right? Yeah, and it happened to be Groundhogs Day (that is kind of given away in the title.)

But anyways, I sort of feel like December has been a Groundhogs Day of it’s own in a way.

“Why?” You ask?

Well, it seems it’s been a month of packing. Rolling and squeezing things into tight places like containers, trailers, post boxes, and now suitcases. Yep, I decided to write a blog post instead of starting my packing just yet. If you would like to look at my Journey to Perth and back again check it out here.

Photo Credit : ebay

Photo Credit : ebay

There is just something omnious about an empty suitcase. You know what I mean? I mean it’s empty. It hasn’t been filled yet.

An empty suitcase could bring you anywhere.

I suppose you could even compare it to a New Year. It hasn’t been filled yet. Maybe that is what scares me. It seems that is always what has scared me the most in my life. The Unknown… 

2013 holds a lot of unknown stuff for me. I will be going back to the States on the 9th of January. There are a few things I am scared about. Right now, I don’t have a job and I want to find something where I could start supporting myself completely. And I don’t know where I will search. Right now the whole map of the United States is open for consideration. which is a bit scary as well, because it’s a huge country. I recently got used to calling Brisbane home, and used to having my boyfriend only a few miles away.

Photo Credit : American Map

Photo Credit : American Map

What are you packing?

What are you packing in your suitcase for the New Year? Here is my to pack list.

  1. Faith GPS – Faith is an important one. It’s so important to have someone who knows where to go and when you should turn left or right. And I know Jesus knows which way I need to turn. So, I am definitely inviting him on my New Year Trip. And I need to continue to trust that he has it all planned out and that I just need to sit back and relax… he is the Mason of my heart and he knows what I want.
  2. Love –  “To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.” – David Viscott.
    I find love to be extremely important. I definitely wouldn’t be the same girl today if I hadn’t met Johan. I am so happy to be with him. (I really wish I could just throw him into my suitcase.) lol… but since I can’t do that. I will put him in my New Years Suitcase and dream for the future. We will find a way. Love always does.
  3. Universal Resume/Application – For any business people interested in hiring me… this is just a metaphorical resume and application. I want to be prepared and will pack the determination and oomph to get a good job.
  4. Tennis Shoes – For maintaining my health. That is something that has been made even clearer to me lately.
  5. Notebook – To write in.

Well, I believe I have spent enough time thinking about this for now. I am going to start in my closet to figure out what I want to keep and throw. I will let you know if I have an adventure in Narnia.

I pray you all have a wonderful New Year and that God greatly blesses each of you with health and great happiness.

So, then… what about you? What are you going to pack in the Metaphorical suitcase so you are ready for the New Year?

The To Dos and To Not Dos of Editing – Edit Round 1 Update

I just love this picture! Last Halloween I dress like an un-dead writer... and my cat was wondering "What thee heck!?" lol... in between purrs! :P

I just love this picture! Last Halloween I dressed like an un-dead writer… and my cat was wondering “What thee heck!?” lol… in between purrs! :P

Today was an interesting day of edits. It was also a full day of packing. I think I might write a post on what I have learned from packing a container and then I would compare it to things in life. I think it might be really good!

But, back to editing… I never realized how many times I use certain words when I write. This is going to be a short update, but it will be a list of to do’s and not to do’s for editing… that I have learned already in this first week of edits.

To Dos and To Not Dos

So there are more to not dos than to dos… but hey, it’s all in learning! :)

  • To do for next book I write -> I will edit what I wrote the next day before I write, then I will be able to have a somewhat cleaner 1st draft. This draft is a bit messier, because I did it for NaNoWrimo and just needed it done!
  • Don’t switch point of view. I know now that I had a problem with it, but will most definitely correct this habit in this edit. I was writing “She said this or did this…” and then a few paragraphs later it switched to “I said this and did that…” But, I kicked that in the behind today! :) 
  • Don’t switch tenses… I fixed this problem a while back when I was focusing on a short story edit.
  • Don’t use “go to” words… There are certain words that I always “go to” and they are: like, that, was, were, have, just. After editing today I was disgusted by those cheap words.

What about you? What are your editing To Do and To Not Do lists?

Dead-lines, NaNoWrimo, and (my thoughts)

Hello Everyone,

Brisbane has been blooming like crazy! It’s so nice to see all the green shades in the trees and such a huge variety of flowers blooming everywhere. It’s so beautiful, but one thing that has been hard is the freakishly humid weather. It’s hot enough without the humidity, but then when mother nature adds on the humidity it drives me CRAZY in the morning. It’s like a never ending sauna and being a girl from Minnesota – I still haven’t climatized to always being sweaty. This morning I woke in a sweat and rushed to the shower. About 5 minutes after that shower, I wish I could have taken another one. Yes, humid… like that!

Besides writing here and there – I’ve entered a Halloween Writing Short Story, which I am excited about. This week I will continue my search for a job, and will attempt to write 10,000 or so words by Friday. (current WIP word count is 44,730) I am going to find some places I can freelance at and send a few articles in whether to get paid for or just for the experience so I have more to add to my portfolio.

NaNoWrimo

Who all here is participating in NaNoWrimo? If you are please click on the link and add me as a NaNoWrimo Writing Buddy!

This is a Jacaranda Tree… Isn’t it pretty? :)

Purple Trees and Prayer

The picture to the right is of the Jacaranda tree that I was talking about up above. Isn’t it pretty? It’s so beautiful. Johan told me about a tale that most people say which is “If a Jacaranda bloom falls on your head, you will do good on your exams.” He also told me that whenever the Jacaranda’s are blooming people will always say, “It’s getting close to exam time.”

Speaking of a flower falling on one’s head – Johan and I were walking under a Jacaranda Tree and I jumped up and grabbed a purple flower off the branch. I  set it on Johan’s head.

Guess what he got on his exam? A 7, which is an equivalent to an American A!!!! :) Yes, okay I guess I am being a proud girlfriend and bragging a little bit! haha… oh well… he deserves it! :)

This photo reminds me that I have been sorta slack in taking photos lately, so I am deciding that from now on I am going to take my camera on daily walks (since I don’t have a dog or a cat… which by the way, I really miss having a cat.) and I will share a little of my life in Brisbane with you all.

If you all could keep me in your prayers… I want to find a job here so that I could stay longer so Johan and I don’t have to be split by the ocean again. We survived it once and could do it again, but it would be best if we didn’t have to. So please pray for God’s favour and his will. :)

I just got an ebook called the 90-Day Novel, and I found some of the questions in the book to be thought provoking. I will answer some of the questions throughout the next few months.

“One thing I feel strongly about…”

I feel strongly about the truth, about life, blessings, and choosing the life that God created for you, not the fake reflections that we see in Satan’s warped mirrors. It is important for me to tell as many people as I can about the two walks of life that we can choose. There is a ‘narrow-gate’ and a ‘wide-gate” and we have to choose. One leads to life and one leads to death. It’s from a Bible verse. :) That is kind of what my current WIP’s theme will follow. But it is something that I am passionate about. :)

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. – Matthew 7:13-14

I also feel strongly about this in life, not just in writing. That is why sometimes I share my beliefs and thoughts on political things and current events happening in our world today. There are many people out there who don’t know the difference between world views, candidates, and I know there are some out there who are not going to vote because they believe their voices don’t matter.

I really don’t like it when I post something about the truth and then a bunch of people comment looking for a fight. I want to spread the truth that people do have voices and a reason for living. They can make a difference in the world, in their country, and in their family and friends lives. Even in a stranger’s life.

One day while in the City, I was shopping in a clothing store and saw this woman when I glanced up from a clothing rack. She was working there hanging up new merchandise. I smiled and continued to look around. To tell you the honest truth – I felt like ‘crud’ that day. I had no makeup on and was feeling blagh.
“Excuse me, mam’ I just wanted to tell you, you have a beautiful smile. and it made my day!” It amazed me, because I hadn’t been going out of my way to change a person’s life. But rather, each thing we do – big or little affects us and those around us.

Hope you all have a great day!! :) Celebrate LIFE!

  1. What do you feel strongly about? 

A letter to my 13-year-old self…

Hello Blog World! It’s so lovely to be home on my blog. I have been craving to write a blog post for the past few days and just thought, “Hey, I have time now!” and “Yay, I can write a blog entry now.”  How are all of you? I have been busy amidst everything. I haven’t been able to work on manuscript this week at all, which is really disappointing, but I have gotten other things done. A few of the things: finished freelance writing/designing a brochure for a company, finished my first round of editing my writing website, I can’t wait to introduce you all to it! Then on top of that, I have been finding some writing contests to enter. :)

I just thought that maybe I would reminisce on my life and show you all a letter to my 13 year old self. I decided to do this when I saw a writer had posted hers and I remember having written a few through out my college years, but since I am now 24 I think I will write one now. My 7th-grade-year of High School was a tough one for me. I’ve always been a creative person, so I would walk to the beat of my own drum and I really didn’t care what people thought of me. I didn’t want to be like the popular girls and I didn’t want to do stuff like everyone else. So, because of that difference I was targeted for bullying and other things.

Dear 13-year-old Devin,

I sit in another country writing this note. You are only 13. A new teenager. This is going to be a big year for you and also your country. I can only tell you so much right now, but I know you have recently started to go to school at the High School, because the middle school is combined with the High School. You have found this note in your locker when you realized that your best friend throughout 5th and 6th grade has moved away and hadn’t told you that she wouldn’t be coming back. I know you are feeling alone. I know it’s hard to believe that she didn’t tell you. But, I promise that life gets better. You wont always have to be the lone wolf walking down the halls alone. Instead of looking at the ground and shying away from they other kids stares – work your confidence and trust that they aren’t all staring at you and talking about you behind your back. Challenge the kids who make you feel insecure. Stand up tall and smile. Ignore their attempts at making you hurt or cry. Continue to draw and write. There will be a girl you must keep your eyes open for, her name is Silvia Atanassova and she is going to be someone who blesses your life more than you know it. She is going to be an exchange student from Bulgaria. She will inspire you to stretch your limits farther than you thought possible. She will inspire you to travel across the ocean. It may all seem a little scary at this point, because I know you probably feel content at home with Tony, Cassidy and Mom and Dad! Which is fine, and good. You will meet Silvia in the library, make sure you meet her and talk to her when you see her typing in a different language. Befriend her and you will never regret it.
One early morning in September, you will be sitting in your science classroom, when your teacher makes his way to turn on the tv. Within the click of the power button, you are shocked by what you see. An airplane makes it’s way through the first tower of the World Trade Center building in New York. It will be hard to believe. And no, it wasn’t a joke. It was an act of war. I would like to say that your Country has fully healed from that shady attack that happened  11 years ago, but it hasn’t completely yet. I am hoping great things for the future of America and I know that God has a plan. So keep following him. He has something big planned for you in the future. I am still unaware of everything at 24.

Here Silvia, Cassidy (my sister) and I pose in a little row boat thing, I think this picture was taken at a zoo.

Here Silvia, Cassidy and I sit on a couch at my Grandma Doris’ apartment. The little boy is my little cousin Adam. (Isn’t it crazy how you can long for people when you see their pictures and miss them even if they are no longer alive?)

In the pool swimming with Cassidy and Silvia

Here we are standing at the entrance to the Minot Stave Norwegian Church. Isn’t it beautiful?

And to show the other side of my heritage – We are standing under the Swedish Horse.

When Silvia looks for a college to attend in the States, you are going to be really excited, but when she isn’t able to. Stand strong. It’s hard when friends can’t stay.

Here we are with Lief Erickson, the viking.

This is us standing with Silvia and some other friends at the time. (the boy in the green is my brother, Tony) and you recognize Cassidy, Silvia and I. This was the day that Silvia was leaving. We ate out before she left.

You and Silvia both will make a pact to be in each other’s wedding one day. So, you will be so excited to do that. It is one of the hardest days to say good-bye to her,  but you will be set on seeing her again. The day that Silvia got back to Bulgaria she will phone you. The concept of talking to someone so far away on the phone will be unbelievable to you.  Keep in touch with her.

Your Mom will start homeschooling you and your sister and brother. It will give you a huge chance to see more, do more, and reach your dreams. Have faith, because everything will turn out, even when it seems like it wont. Because of the chance to be homeschooled you will get a chance to see the world, learn from history first on and outside of the textbooks. You will meet people and go places that you never thought you would see.

So, I leave you with this final thought. Devin, you are beautiful. Don’t have low self esteem. Let everything vanish. All that pain and hurt from the years of being bullied. You are blessed and beautiful and there is an amazing life out there waiting for you. Love you.

Devin (your 24-year-old self)

Note to readers: When I sat down to write this note, I was totally sent back to that time in my mind. I am so grateful that Silvia came to Minnesota. Yesterday was her birthday – June 8th. She added a light into my life. It was really nice to have a legit friend who loved me. I just thought I would share this with all of you though, In 2010 when I was studying abroad in Australia. I was checking my email and found a letter addressed from Silvia. I was so excited and opened it to find a note from someone else saying that he was Silvia’s English Teacher from High School. He said that Silvia’s Mom wanted him to respond to me. At that moment, I knew it couldn’t be good. Yes, you all have guessed correctly. My best friend from 7th grade had passed away. I broke out into huge tears. It was so hard to hear. She had inspired me and I really was still set on going to Bulgaria to visit her when she got married. But, now that will never happen. I will keep my promise to her though – I will go visit her in Bulgaria and will see her home. It’s always tough when things like this happen. I was so happy that my boyfriend was there to hold me. It was so hard. 

7 things you probably don’t care to know about me…

I was tagged by two other writers (Stephanie and Kelsey) on their blogs to participate in this chain blog message… to write 7 things that most people probably don’t care to know about me. What? *sarcastic smile* People don’t want to know things about me? Well, here is my attempt at writing 7 things that some people probably don’t want to know about me.

1. I had 2 nose surgeries. Yep, and it wasn’t because I wanted one. During the whole process, I was thinking about Michael Jackson and for the life of me I didn’t know why he would go under a surgery just to change how his nose looks. Me on the other hand – I had a deviated septum, and apparently also had a broken nose. Which, I can’t remember ever having my nose broken, because the doctor said I would have remembered it (as it would have hurt). Having the surgery once didn’t solve all the problems, so I was lucky and had to have the surgery for a second time. I remember the first time I had it was on the 22nd of December. So, right before Christmas. I even have embarressing pictures of me in one piece pajamas… you know the kind with footies… and I was not little like you are probably thinking. I was probably 17 or 18.  And besides the embarressing pajama’s I had tape holding cotton under my nose. And yes, that was also caught in the photos as well.

2. I love to eat sliced tomatoes with sugar on top of it. I swear I got this tradition from my Grandma Doris. But it’s a total tradition, in our family – well, at least for my Dad and I.

3. I find something peaceful about cemeteries. I like to go walk around in them. My inner muse speaks to me in the quiet places. Some people would probably think that I am crazy. But, it’s the truth, none the less.

4. I hate the cheesy commercials with odd colours and sqeacky voices. If it is unbelievable, I am not going to buy things from you.

5. A major pet peeve of mine is leaving any sort of food uncovered in a fridge. I don’t want the smells of other foods attacking the smells of the other food. I don’t want to taste the pizza when eating the cake.

6. I dislike touching the handles in bathrooms after washing my hands. Okay, let me just say I don’t if there are paper towels. But I am freaking out if there are no paper towels. Thank God, when someone is coming in at the same time as I am going out.

7. I love tea. So, if you know of an interesting tea tell me about it and I will check it out! :)

So, now I have to pass the flame to 7 other writers. Let me see… and who will I pick… Drumroll please… It is….

1.My creative boyfriend

2. A lovely writing friend from college April Matson

3. My creative Mother (who is an artist – Check out her site as she will be giving away some amazing art.)

4. A writing friend from College, Emily Enger

5. Another lovely writing friend, Mandi

6.  A Blue Monkey Writing buddy, Ashley

7. Another Blue Monkey Buddy, Andrea

Hope you all enjoy these little things about me, even though the point was to tell you 7 things that you probably don’t care hearing about. :P

“All you need is faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust!” – Faith – Imagination – Fantasy – Real Life –

You know a lot of people say that fairy-tales and folk-tales screwed up their childhood  on their belief system. The fact that they were told that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, leperchauns, and tooth fairies caused them to fumble when it came to believing in Jesus.

For me on the otherside it drove me to see that “this world can’t be all that there is”. I know that Jesus drives my imagination and that as a story teller i make up characters who will show the reflection of Christ. That is what fairy-tales and folk-lore did to me… The wanting to be in another world where things weren’t so harsh. Where i hadn’t been bullied and where there were mystical beings and talking animals. In all imagination, Fairy-tales, and folk-lore there is always some truth in it.

Yes, i was told Santa brought the gifts on Christmas… But, that didn’t ruin it for me because as time went by i Learned about the real story of Santa… And what had happened down the line when German and English immigrents combined. The people started changing the story as time went by. He was first known as Christ-kindel which was first known as a messenger to give gifts of Christ! Check out the whole story here… they were good intentions.

The other interesting one that we can all think of is the Easter Bunny…. You may ask… Why do we celebrate with a bunny? The bunny also has a name and it is “Oschter Haws”. There were some pagen people in the ancient past who were worshiping their spring goddess Eastre.

Missionaries came to the Land and many of those became Christians, but the pagans festival during the spring was celebrated at the same time as Jesus’ celebration of rising from the dead. And you are probably thinking, “Okay, i understand that know Devin, but, why a bunny? And why does it lay eggs?”

In research it says that the bunny is a massive sign of fertility and new life. Exactly what Jesus died for…. So that we may have eternal life. Makes sense why the bunny is a good logo for the holiday… If you know the whole story.

And you asked, why eggs? Why does it lay eggs.

Jesus died on the cross to give us the gift of abundant everlasting life and that is similar to the reminder of the eggs on easter. Have you ever drained the eggs and painted them? We did all the time at Easter! Once you empty the egg, what do you have?

“Umm, duh, Devin… An empty egg.”

“Haha!!! Yes, an empty egg! And now let me ask you a question…. What happened when Jesus rose from the dead and left the tomb…what were they left with?”

“An empty tomb?”

“Why yes, you are correct!” :)

An empty tomb and empty eggshells. There is truth in all stories and those are only two!!! :D

You are probably wondering why i chose to write about Santa and the Easter Bunny in May… But, I just decided to write a post on this, because these are two very important things in my life. My Faith. Imagination is the other one. In the world today i have seen faith is just pushed aside and people are blind to the truth… Almost like in the new television show that I love so much “Once Upon a Time” where Emma doesn’t want to believe so she can’t see the writer’s leg of wood, so she couldn’t believe that he was pinnochio.

Faith is an important factor to have in ones life. As Peter Pan once put so nicely, “All you need… Is FAITH, Trust, and a little bit of PIXIE dust.” He put it very nicely and you know what? It is true. Jesus taught people life lessons through stories. Jesus walked on water. A real donkey spoke to a man. A real giant whale swallowed Jonah. The impossible turns possible. Have some faith and have imagination. God will show you amazing things when you look through His eyes. And, boy… Does He have some Imagination!! :D