Celebrations and Special Places

This past month has been full of celebrations. My first niece was born, and after scary complications she is home and thriving. My husband finished his MBA at Wright State. And we celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary.

Both my husband and I are the romantic type, and we love to reminisce, especially about Wright State University.

To celebrate Jacob graduating (since he won’t get to have his actual ceremony until the school’s December commencement), we walked around campus and visited all of our favorite spots: the library, the old writing center where we worked together, the engineering and liberal arts buildings, and the classroom where we met.

It’s amazing how much Wright State has been a part of our lives. It’s where we met. Where we worked together and lived next door to each other. Where we had our first date and first kiss. Where we said “I love you” for the first time. It’s where Jacob proposed and where we planned our future together. Best of all, it’s where we got married.

After seven years and three degrees between the two of us, Wright State has become my favorite place in the world.

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Wright State University’s Alumni Tower

To celebrate our anniversary, we also were nostalgic and did what we alway do on our anniversary—recreate parts of our honeymoon. We went to the Ohio State Fair and saw Casting Crowns in concert. Then we went down to Cincinnati for a night, doing a riverboat tour and staying in a riverfront hotel.

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We love staying on the river in Cincinnati!

All of these places hold so many special memories for me. I love getting to walk down memory lane with Jacob every year as we celebrate our anniversary. I can’t believe we’ve already been married for three years! I know there will be many, many more years to come filled with even more special memories and places.

We had to say goodbye to Wright State, but now we’re stepping into our future. We’re an aunt and uncle now. Jacob has two college degrees and will be starting his third at the University of Cincinnati next week. And we’re starting our fourth year of marriage more in love than ever.

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Our view from our riverboat tour. We’ve done one each year for our anniversary.

I’ve really enjoyed taking a break from work and celebrating all of these occasions, but now I’m feeling nice and refreshed and ready to get going on my work-in-progress!

Ready for Spring!

Spring is my favorite season. I love sunshine and flowers and warmer days. Spring is so beautiful and full of new growth and fresh starts.

Because I live in Ohio, even though it’s officially spring already, the weather is still up and down and as I’m writing this it is still pretty cold outside. So to cheer myself up I wanted to write about everything I’m looking forward to this spring!

  • Egg the City
    My church puts on an amazing egg hunt every Easter called Egg the City. This year there’s going to be 100,000 eggs. I was on the setup team last year and this year my husband and I are leading the setup along with another couple. I can’t wait to cover the football field with eggs tomorrow and see all of the excited children! It’s going to be a great day followed by our Easter services that night and Sunday morning!
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Egg the City
  • Disney World
    My sister has been working in Disney World since January as part of their college program, and I finally get to go see her in a week and a half! I love Disney with all my heart, and I’ve been dying to go back since our last trip in December 2016. I’m also really looking forward to this trip because it’ll be just my mom and sister and me. We’ve never had a trip like this with just us girls, and we’re all really looking forward to it.
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A fun poster my mother-in-law got for me. Disney in my veins and Jesus in my heart.
  • Flowers
    I don’t care if I’m allergic to everything that grows, flowers are beautiful. They make me smile. I love this bouquet that my husband got for me last week when it snowed even though it was supposed to be spring.
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A beautiful bouquet my husband gave me
  • Books
    I’m always looking forward to books! Some of the books on my spring TBR are Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson (again, I can’t get enough of this book), Called to Create by Jordan Raynor, and Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch.
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 Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch and Called to Create by Jordan Raynor

What are you looking forward to this spring?

When I’m Not Writing: Crafting

I’ve told you about some of my favorite things to do when I’m not writing, like watching musicals. Today I wanted to tell you about what’s probably my favorite of all my hobbies—crafting.

I’m a pretty creative person. You need to be in order to write. I love to make up stories and create new characters and places. But I also feel the need to work with my hands and use my creativity in tangible and visual ways. That’s where crafting comes in.

My love of crafting started at a young age. My mom was my Girl Scout troop leader, taught children’s classes at the park district, and taught my church classes. All of these activities involved a lot of crafts. I loved making anything and everything. As an adult, I still love to create art and other projects.

Jewelry-Making

I’ve been making jewelry for over half of my life now. I still love buying beads in all different colors and creating beautiful patterns. Jewelry-making is so relaxing and lets me clear my head when I’m stuck on whatever I’m writing.

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A few of my cases of beads

Coloring

Another activity I do to relax and clear my head is to color. I only got into coloring in the last year or so, but it’s quickly become one of my favorite activities. And not only is coloring really relaxing, it’s also one of my favorite ways to dig into God’s word. I do this through scripture coloring books which allow me to draw closer to God while I’m relaxing.

Planners

Being a stay-at-home writer, I don’t have too much to schedule in my life, but I have fallen in love with the creative planners that have been trending lately. Every Friday, I spend an hour or so designing the next week’s pages. I fill in everything that needs to get done, and then I decorate the pages with stickers and lots of color. I include inspirational quotes, decorative flowers and washi tape, and a prayer list for each week. I love getting to look at my decorations and the inspirational quotes as I get ready for each day.

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My planner and decorating supplies

Gift-Giving

Lastly, I love to craft when it comes to gift-giving. I have tons of card-making supplies so that I can make everyone a card that’s individual to them. I also love giving homemade gifts like fleece blankets. For my husband, I usually will make him something with pictures, like this picture wall I made him for Valentine’s Day last year.

Crafting allows me to be creative with my hands, clear my head when I need to work out a writing problem, and even draw closer to God. There is nothing better than creating something, whether I’m writing stories or making a homemade gift.

Christmas Traditions

It’s almost Christmas!

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Our Christmas Tree

I love this time of year. I don’t think there’s anything more beautiful than Christmas lights, and I love all of the decorations. My husband even put my engagement ring under the Christmas tree in his apartment when he proposed to me. I just love that we get to celebrate Jesus’ birth each year with all of the beautiful decorations, Christmas cookies, and family. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

Some of my favorite decorations are the houses that make up my mom’s ceramic Christmas village. Every year we set it up under their tree, and I love all of the beautiful lights. I don’t have a ceramic village myself, but I do have my Lego Christmas village.

I love to bake, so making Christmas cookies is always a lot of fun. My family have always made these butter cookies that we call Silver Bells, and they’re delicious.

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Silver Bell Cookies

But my favorite of all of our Christmas traditions is what my family does on Christmas Eve. We go to see a movie in the afternoon, eat Chinese and chicken for dinner, and then open presents while watching A Christmas Story. Then my dad always reads The Night Before Christmas before we go to bed. Sadly my husband and I will have to miss the movie this year because we won’t be able to make it over to Columbus in time after church (it’s okay though, we’ll have already seen Star Wars twice by then), but I can’t wait to do everything else with my family and celebrate with his family on Christmas day.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?

When I’m Not Writing: Watching Musicals

In addition to making jewelry and coloring, one of my favorite things to do when I’m not writing is watch musicals. One of my first memories is when my mom took me to see my very first musical—a community theater production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Seeing this show when I was little launched a lifetime love of musicals.

I love musicals because I love music, and getting to see stories presented in other formats has always been fascinating to me as a book lover/writer. Using music is such an interesting way to tell a story. Plus it makes the stories easier to remember because songs are pretty easy to commit to memory. I can (badly) sing almost the entirety of Joseph and Les Misérables.

I also think that watching musicals can be helpful to writers. Along with watching movies and television, reading comics and poetry, and even acting, seeing stories presented in different formats than fiction writing can be beneficial.

Other forms of stories can infuse your fiction writing and make it richer. For example, I, like many teenagers, couldn’t understand a word Shakespeare wrote until I was cast in a high school play that modernized scenes from various Shakespeare plays. Getting the chance to act out what I was reading allowed me to truly understand it. I can still remember some of my lines from that play, and now I can read Shakespeare with ease. I love his poetry and some of his themes have an influence on my work.

My favorite musicals are Les Mis, Joseph, Cinderella, Shrek, and Phantom of the Opera. My new obsessions are Wicked and Newsies, which I’ve both recently seen for the first time. I’ve gotten to see all of these live except for Shrek and Newsies, but I hope to see them someday. There is nothing quite as powerful as seeing these amazing stories acted out live.

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My Playbills from the professional shows I’ve seen, including Les Mis and Cinderella on Broadway.

Fall Favorites

Today is the first day of fall! I love when seasons change. I like the idea of fresh starts and entering into new phases. And each season brings with it something new and exciting. These are some of my favorite things about fall:

Back-to-School
I love school. I love to learn and school was always so much fun for me. Sadly I’m not in school anymore. But my husband is, which means Saturday morning library dates. Wright State University has a beautiful library, and we love to go there on the weekends to enjoy coffee and catch up on work.

Fall Candles
I’m one of the few who actually don’t like pumpkin spice lattes and everything else they’ve added pumpkin spice to. But I love how it smells. I love the flowery scents of my spring and summer candles, but my favorites are all of the spiced and pumpkin scents.

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My fall candles

Sweaters and Flannels
I love sweater weather. Sweaters and flannels are just so comfy and cozy. I wish we didn’t have 90 degree weather here in Ohio today so I could wear a sweater.

Apples
Fall means apples, and honeycrisp apples are my absolute favorite. My husband and I are planning on going to an apple festival next weekend, so I’m definitely going to get a big bag of honeycrisp.

My Birthday
My birthday is in the fall, towards the end of October, so of course that makes me love fall even more. My sister also has an October birthday and tomorrow we’re going to see Wicked as an early birthday present from our parents.

Books!
Colder weather means spending more time inside, and I love to curl up with a good book when the weather turns cold. Some books on my fall TBR are A Lily at Dawn (a book by a writer friend of mine), The Selection Series (for I think the fifth time), and In a Handful of Dust (the companion novel to Not a Drop to Drink).

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My fall TBR: A Lily at Dawn by Rebecca Fellrath, In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis, and The Selection by Kiera Cass

Our Second Wedding Anniversary

Tuesday, August 1st was my second wedding anniversary. I can’t believe my wonderful husband and I have already been married for two years. It feels like just two days ago that I met the cute boy next door and realized we worked together at our university’s writing center, and it feels like yesterday that I married him.

I’ll never forget how wonderful our wedding was. Our parents threw us the best wedding I could have imagined. We decided to get married at Wright State, since that was where we met and fell in love, so we had our ceremony and reception at Wright State’s Nutter Center’s beautiful Berry Room.

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These past two years have been the best years of my life. We have been truly blessed by God with a wonderful life together, and I can’t wait to see what plans he has in store for us going forward.

This week we celebrated our anniversary by recreating part of our honeymoon, just like we did last year for our first anniversary. On Monday we went to the Ohio State Fair to see one of our favorite bands, For King and Country. And on Tuesday we took a river cruise on the Ohio River and had a wonderful meal while looking at Cincinnati’s beautiful skyline. I had so much fun on the cruise and at the fair that I hope we continue our tradition of doing this for each of our anniversaries.

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My husband is my rock. He supports me more than anyone and is always there for me. I love him so much, and am so grateful to have him by my side.