Sunday, April 30, 2017

April Highlights

  And another month bites the dust...

  It does not need repeating, but man, the year is going by so fast. Wow.

  I'm partially freaking out cause at the time of posting this I'm getting married in 111 days...that's scary. In three months I'll be an old married lady. Super weird.

  Well, what did this almost-old-married-lady accomplish this month you ask?


LIFE EVENTS

  • My friend MacKenzie came home from seven months overseas at European Bible school. It's definitely been good to have her back as she is one of my best friends and was dearly missed. We threw her a surprise party with root beer floats and the two of us took a trail ride as friends who love horses do (especially when one said friend hasn't ridden in seven months). 
  • Another friend Lisa and her little boy Obsidian (Sid) came over and stayed with us for a few days, so that was interesting and kinda neat having a baby in the house again - it's been awhile since that was a thing around here. :P
My brother holding Sid.
  • Crazy stupid Alberta weather literally went from the top picture to the bottom picture in a day and back and forth for pretty much all of this month. There is so much mud here right now...
Literally a day apart.
  • I started working on wedding decorations, my last sort of part of things to do besides logistics. Ironically that was the part I thought would be the worst, but so far it's just made me more excited. Maybe because it's getting closer...
  • Lots of jumping this month. I even got brave enough to raise them quite significantly, now that my lower leg is properly positioned to hold me on. 
  • I was in charge of an art display at our local homeschool convention which involved sitting around a booth and reading Ender's Game while eating junk food most of the day.
  • The farm is filling up with baby animals, especially new calves and also some new kittens. What I really want is a puppy!
This one has the coolest leaf marking on its cheek
  • Wrangler Training has officially begun out at camp which involves training new wranglers and working with all the lazy horses, also all the new slightly crazier ones. We are having to put down one of our horses, Spec, due to him having lost most of his teeth. It's very sad as he has been with us a long time, but I'm glad he's getting laid nicely to rest.
Spec's last picture. :(
  • We had a Potential Staff camp weekend as well for all the new guys wanting to be staff this summer, those are always pretty wild. I got to hang out with two of my favorite staff members in our cabin, break a jaw-breaker with a trailer hitch, eat some larva and a whole host of other weird and wonderful things. 
  • Jonathan and I got to hike again today! Finally! I took a lot of pictures cause it was super pretty but unfortunately I forgot my camera in his car. Le sigh. 


WRITING LIFE


  I don't know if I can say I got much "writing" specifically done this month. I wrote one chapter from The Wandering and have been working slowly and steadily on Thin-Skinned as my school project. Speaking of, I am so excited to be able to finish that next month and have my certificate - and no school ever again unless I feel like it!

  I also have pretty much completely finished my edits on The Sorceress and the Squid. I am just reading through it once more while I wait for my cover art to be completed, then on to formatting! This has been such an exciting process. I loved working with my editor Erin Lodes and seeing how my book changed and grew and got better over this past month. I've been planning out a launch for the book (tentatively June 4th) and am super stoked to get this story into more hands. So far I've had some pretty amazing readers, but I'm always always eager for more - and of course eager to be a published author!

READING LIFE


Still sicking to my goal of two books a month. This month's picks were both very excellent choices.

ENDER'S GAME by Orson Scott Card
Once upon a time, a younger me picked up this book and tried to read it but found it way too dry and slow-moving. I'm not sure what younger me was thinking. This time around it was AMAZING and I was racing through to finish. The characters were very interesting and the world-building was great and the plot engaging and all around it was just great. Space battles, guys. Space battles. 5/5






THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND by Elizabeth George Speare
I picked this up at the homeschool convention in the used book section for a couple dollars (while reading Ender's Game). I have been looking for it for awhile and was super excited to come across it in the mosh pit that is the used book stall. I began reading as soon as I'd finished Ender's Game and loved it as well. To be honest, one of the most satisfying parts was that the main character's romance played out exactly as I wanted it to. So nice. 5/5





BLOGGING LIFE


  I've more or less been able to keep up a regular Sunday once a week blogging schedule (surprise surprise). This month I talked about my favorite fictional friendshipsthe worst things people say when you get married young, and some thoughts on 13 Reasons Why and suicide.

  Blogging stats:

  • Followers: 17
  • Pageviews: 5,845
  • Posts: 63


GOALS


Goals for April:


  • Get to chapter 20 in The Wandering? // This didn't happen as I expected. :P But I did write one new chapter, putting me onto chapter 18. 
  • Read 2 books // Yup! See above. 
  • Finish my read-through of The Sorceress and the Squid (hopefully before the end of the month) so I can send it back for the proof-read // Not only did I finish the copy edit review, I also finished the proof-read review. Huzzah!
  • I'm working on Thin-Skinned for school starting this month, so we'll see what happens there I guess...hopefully some new chapters? // I do indeed have almost a whole new chapter...I have been rather busy unfortunately and done less actual writing than editing and rereads. 
Goals for May:

  • One more chapter in The Wandering (I *think* this is a realistic goal).
  • Get The Sorceress and the Squid ready to send for formatting and prep for release (more info on this stuff COMING SOON).
  • Definitely get as much done in Thin-Skinned as I can since I have to have a certain amount of pages finished for the end of my course next month. 
  • Read 2 books 
I think that will be all...I think. Better keep stuff short and sweet - so much else in my life to do! 

  Anyway, before I wrap-up here, I just want to let you know that yes, The Sorceress and the Squid is headed down the publishing road and will hopefully available for purchase on Amazon by June 4th. This is me being optimistic and determined, lol. Hopefully y'all will go an check it out when it's ready! :D Also, if you're interested in being part of the launch team and/or blog tour, keep an eye out for sign up info coming soon. 

  Super excited for this, guys!!

  How was your April? Are you in shock like me that it's already May? Yeah, it's nuts. What sort of things did you get up to this month? Let me know below!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Thoughts on "Thirteen Reasons Why" and Suicide

  Just as a warning, I'm going to get real here today, guys. Suicide is a topic that's been on my mind lately and I don't think it's something we should be brushing aside or pretending it doesn't exist. As an aside, most of this will be rambly and not necessarily narrowing to a point, but there are some things I'd really like to get off my chest, and what else is a blog for but recording one's rambling thoughts?

  So Thirteen Reasons Why is a Netflix series based on the book of the same name by Jay Asher. The official synopsis is below:

  Clay Jensen, a shy high school student, returns home from school one day to find that he has received a mysterious package in the mail. It contains seven double-sided cassette tapes used by Hannah Baker, a classmate who has recently committed suicide. Each tape details a reason that she killed herself.

  I guess that's a bit of a depressing scene-setter. But when dealing with issues like these, how can you not feel depressed?

  Does that mean we should ignore these things and pretend they don't happen?

  Of course not. 

  Trust me, pretending does you no good. 

  Initially what drew me into watching the series was simple curiosity. The synopsis does hold a certain measure of shock factor and for me sounded like it had potential to be a good and thought-provoking story. That it has certainly turned out to be. I haven't finished the series yet as I'm not much of a binge-watcher and rarely have the time to be, but so far I am enjoying it (sad though it may be). I started it a few weeks ago, shortly before a camp friend of mine committed suicide. 

  I was not very close to him, the camp staff all have a friendly relationship with each other but are not all necessarily best friends. There are some bonds between certain sets of individuals that are far stronger than others. I call him my friend anyway though, he was certainly far more than an acquaintance and someone I had known my entire life through the local church and camp both. 

  His name was Andrew. He was a couple years older than me. His camp name was Beaker, like the Muppets character because that's who he resembled. Whenever he was in charge of playing music in the morning he chose the Car Wash song from Shark Tale and could be seen swaying to the beat in the middle of the yard. He hated having one kind of food touch another kind and was exceedingly picky about it - he hated shepherd's pie because of that. He enjoyed mowing the grass and could often be seen puttering about on the lawn-mower in the playing field. He would refer to people as "Turkey" and liked to play guitar. He worked for hours to put all the camp songs onto PowerPoint slides. He was incredibly funny, incredibly well-liked/loved. You would never have suspected so much hurt was going on underneath it all. 

  Hearing that Andrew had passed on was a shock. Hearing that he had taken his own life was terrible. I have not dealt with much death in my personal life (which I am very thankful for), and all of this hit me quite hard. 

  Of course the typical questions run through one's mind, all coming down to one in particular: Is there something I could have done to change this?

  Depression is a terrible thing and I wish it was treated more as an illness and less as an attitude. I myself have struggled with some depression and negative thoughts including suicide, though I've never acted on such things. I know how prevalent the lies of one's mind can be, and how nearly impossible it is to escape them. 

  Andrew was a Christian, a very solid Christian. I firmly believe I will see him in Heaven one day, which makes all of this much easier to bear. But it doesn't make it any less sad. He left a sister behind, parents and grandparents who loved him. They will never be the same. Camp will never be the same. A light has gone out of the world. 

  Thirteen Reasons Why is a secular show and (so far) there has been no mention of anything spiritual or any sort of afterlife. Perhaps that is what gives the show its lingering sadness. It does a terrific job pushing you towards hard questions. This in particular is one of the show's most powerful scenes, there is a touch of strong language for those of you that are disinclined to listen, but the strength of the character, his pain and anger, pushes through:



  For me, the question of "Why" still persists in these weeks following Andrew's death. But now it is less "what could I have done" and more "what should we all be doing now?" 

  Why does the church never talk about things like depression or suicide? Why is that constantly swept under the rug, hung up in darkness like a skeleton in the closet? Why are these real, hard issues overlooked for things that are ultimately so much less important. 

  There are people desperately in need of help, of our care and concern, what are we so busy doing that we can't help them? What are we doing to drive them further away? Why are we all so so bad at taking care of others?

  I can't really answer these questions, they're just there. I needed to put them down. I know it's a hard subject to tackle and I don't expect anyone to come along and pull it apart for me. I just think we shouldn't be afraid to look it in the face, to hold out open arms to those who are struggling. 

  My prayer is that, whether or not I am ever made aware, I can be a factor (great or small) in helping someone overcome the darkness of depression and suicide, if I can help hold them back from a terrible choice - in whatever possible way. To be for others what I was not for Andrew, that is my hope.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Worst Things People Say When You Marry Young (and my responses)

  Hey everyone! I know I totally missed out on last week's post. Everything was absolutely crazy and the weekend snuck by me and passed on and I had no great blogging ideas so I just kind of left it at that. And I know that my post for this week really doesn't have much to do with writing or stories. I apologize. This is a subject that's been on my mind and heart lately and I wanted to share some of my thoughts with my little community of readers.

  So, without further ado, here are some things people say when they find out you're getting married young (and my incredibly salty responses).


this is my beautiful engagement ring - yay!

  #1 - YOU'RE WASTING YOUR LIFE!


   Oh, I'm SO glad that you were here to remind me of my life's course as a young person - your prerequisites for being ready to get married (partying, running wild, being tragically irresponsible) sound like the best way for me to live until I'm comfortably 30 and ready to drop into a vegetative state of suburban mom-hood like you did.

  #2 - YOU'VE GOT TO KEEP YOUR OPTIONS OPEN, YOU'RE TOO YOUNG TO KNOW WHAT YOU REALLY WANT.


  I guess if everyone's decision making in their youth was as bad as yours, Brenda, then we would be in a bit of a pickle, eh?

  #3 - I COULD NEVER DO THAT. 


  Here's an idea - don't?

  #4 - AREN'T YOU WORRIED ABOUT LOSING YOUR INDEPENDENCE/INDIVIDUALITY?


  I didn't realize a person's independence/individuality was so fragile that it broke upon signing a marriage license.

  #5 - ARE YOU GUYS EXPECTING?


  Expecting...rude and intrusive comments? Well, yes! Yes, we are.

  (No, I don't have to be pregnant with someone's child to be committing to them for life, usually committing should come first I think...)

  #6 - ARE YOU RELIGIOUS?


  Yeah, we are. But there are people who get married young who aren't, so what does that have to do with it?

  #7 - YOU'LL MISS GOING OUT AND HAVING FUN.


  I feel like our ideas of "going out and having fun" are drastically different if you think I can't still do that when I'm married.

  Also, didn't realize marriage was a prison, thanks for letting me know!

  #8 - MAYBE YOU SHOULD WAIT TIL YOU'RE OLDER?


  Nah, making you uncomfortable is more fun.

  #9 - HAVE YOU DATED ENOUGH TO COMMIT TO JUST ONE PERSON?


  Well, no, I haven't in fact tested every other type of male out there to see which one best suits me, I didn't realize dating was a scientific experiment.

  #10 - WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK?


  Pretty sure they're all quite eager to get rid of us.

  #11 - MARRIAGE IS SERIOUS, YOU KNOW. 


  As a nineteen year old totally incapable of doing anything serious ever, this could have been a real problem. Wow. Thanks for the warning.

  #12 - AREN'T YOU RUSHING THINGS A BIT?


  Well, we've been together for nearly three years...I guess for SOME people that might be too little time to make important, grown-up decisions. Guess we'll just string each other along for a few more then!

  #13 - HOW OLD ARE YOU?


  Nineteen years of age. My fiancee is nineteen. I know we both look like we're twelve but I swear we can like, drive and vote and stuff. You expect me to have made up my mind on a career I want to commit to for the rest of my life by age nineteen, why not a person?

  #14 - HOW DO YOU KNOW HE'S "THE ONE"?


  I like him? Like, a lot? Is that acceptable?

  #15 - DON'T YOU KNOW THAT 50% OF MARRIAGES END IN DIVORCE?


  Thanks for the vote of confidence, marriage Jedi-master (which totally wouldn't even be a thing cause Jedi don't get married, so HA).

  #16 - SHOULDN'T YOU BE IN SCHOOL, GETTING AN EDUCATION?


  Actually, I don't want to go to post-secondary, nor do I need to for my career choice. Nor did I want to before marriage was in the picture. I'm pretty content to be a writer from home, work a regular job and let him go do the nitty-gritty work of getting a degree. College is not my jam, okay? And, even if it was, since when does marriage stop me from going out and getting a degree? And since when does having a degree make me "educated"? I'm not stupid just because I choose not to go to post-secondary school, okay?

  #17 - ARE YOU FINANCIALLY READY TO GET MARRIED?


  Well, if I'm waiting for that in order to pass at getting married we're gonna be here for a looooonnnngggg time...

  However, if you feel like donating to my cause, I am more than happy to oblige you! :D

  #18 -  HAVE YOU REALLY THOUGHT THIS THROUGH?


  Well, I do have about a dozen documents dedicated to long wedding planning and post-wedding planning lists...I have been thinking a little bit. Have I thought it completely, 100% all the way through? Well...I haven't decided what to name our first dog yet...?



  There you go folks, my list of the worst things to say to people getting married young. Now, a small disclaimer, I must say that on the whole, everyone has been very excited for us - like, some more than us. XD And that's really great. We've never had any of these snide remarks from family or friends who care about us, but I totally know these things come up with those who know us less well and of course it happens in the lives of other young couples. I am also not saying that all young people should necessarily be getting married, some people just aren't ready in the least bit, whether they're 20 or 40. However, I think that has less to do with age and more to do with how well someone was raised to be a responsible and dedicated individual.

  Well, there's my young marriage rant off my chest. XD I hope you got some enjoyment from it even though it's probably not relevant to most of my readers!

  Happy Easter weekend everyone!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Emily's Top Ten Fictional friendSHIPS

  So I did a Top Ten OTP's post in February for Valentine's Day. I got to use cute, romantic GIFs and definitely went over the "Top Ten" aspect. Whoops. But today, I am hear to bring forth my Top Ten Fictional FriendSHIPS for your reading/viewing pleasure. You're welcome.

  In no particular order...

FRODO and SAM (lord of the rings)


 

  No list is complete without these two literal angels. Probably the best example of friendship that I've ever read about. Sam is so faithful and Frodo tries so hard to keep him from the pain of the Ring and AH. They're so beautiful, they make me cry. Ugh

STEVE and BUCKY (marvel, captain america)



To be honest, these guys are on everyone's list. Because look at them. They did not deserve all the terrible things that pulled them apart. They would die for each other and it's all so terrible and sad and beautiful. #feels

TIMON and PUMBAA (the lion king)



LUAU!

Anybody want to start singing Hakuna Matata with me? :DD


LUKE, LEIA and HAN (star wars)


These guys are the ultimate, classic trio and this image is basically their group aesthetic. Look at the smiles, the back-clapping, don't it make you feel all full of giddiness and good ol' platonic love?


MERRY and PIPPIN (lord of the rings)



Can't have Frodo and Sam without these two to add the comic relief to a grief-sodden story. Also, they are the cutest and bestest by far. How can you not love them?


PETER and HARRY (marvel, spiderman)



I definitely prefer the original trilogy but couldn't find any gifs so here are the aesthetic Andrew Garfield and Dane Dehaan version of these two brothers-turned-enemies that play upon my heartstrings.


THE STRANGER THINGS KIDS: ELEVEN, MIKE, DUSTIN, LUCAS and WILL (stranger things)



Well, over this part year these kids squirmed their way into my heart. I can honestly say they are super adorable 80's memorabilia and science experiment. They're pretty great kids.


TODD and COPPER (the fox and the hound)



Is it still considered socially acceptable to cry about this movie when you're like, an adult? Yes? Good. Cause I do. Like, bawling. My childhood guys.

ANNE and DIANA (anne of green gables)



If you're a young girl, particularly a homeschooled one with an overactive imagination and a love for reading, then you also loved this friend ship. How can you not? They are such beautiful, amazing and inspirational young ladies.


THE GAANG: AANG, SOKKA, KATARA, TOPH and ZUKO (avatar: the last airbender)



Saved one of the best for last - the Gaang. The best animated friend group known to man. If you have yet to subject yourself to the glories of ATLA then I beg of you to put this post down and go to Netflix and WATCH. Like, seriously!


  So, did any of your favorites make the list? Tell me, who did I leave out? Going through this I remembered a lot of pairs I had left out of my OTP post. Whoops! What fictional friendship is your favorite?