Is It Here Already?

It’s the end of the year. We made it through a season of seasons and are now ending the book on 2014. I thought I would review the year with you so we could read and say”Hmmm, oh yeah, I remember that. Wait! Oh yeah, I can’t believe she said that. She should have stayed in bed that day!” together. I wrote 214 posts this year, and will give you just the highlights. You with me? No matter, we’re going anyway.

JanuaryNew Post: Is It Here Already? A year in review. That should keep you busy till 2015  by @fillpraycloset

I was pretty reflective in January as I began making my Consecration to Mary and reflected with you on what came out through prayer. Apparently, Picasso came out, and some talk about how we perceive ourselves and I went back to the beginning replacing Vizzini in The Princess Bride with the Holy Spirit. 

 

February

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I teamed up with Tiffany over at Life of a Catholic Librarian for a Super Friends version of Lent. We banged out a week’s worth of posts covering the pillars of Lent, Ash Wednesday where my husband was corralled into getting ashes and I couldn’t stop laughing,  and Shrove Tuesday to name but a few shenanigans highlights.

March

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By far, the most fun post to write was the Catholic Celebrities post! From the image to the research, I had a blast finding out which stars were Catholic! I juxtaposed that with a post on Oriella Cazzanello; a woman from Northern Italy, who traveled to a clinic in Basel, Switzerland, and paid €10,000 to kill herself. I did that on purpose because as much as we fawn over physical beauty,  we shouldn’t hold that in such high regard that we fail to see the people behind the perfected face.

April

New Post: Is It Here Already? A year in review. That should keep you busy till 2015  by @fillprayclosetHoly A to Z challenge people. I really pulled out all the stops and joined a challenge with over 1,000 bloggers globally and wrote about the Catholic Faith from A to Z. By far the most popular in that month long series was the topic of the virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary (shocker!)

May

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I shared why I love being a working mother. Seven reasons why I love being a working mother, actually. That chair is one of them. I just noticed that you can see a picture of me with my stepdaughter, where we used jumbo crayola crayons as mustaches. Points to you if you find it. But seriously…

New Post: Is It Here Already? A year in review. That should keep you busy till 2015  by @fillprayclosetMay.was.huge. I went on pilgrimage to Italy and the major highlight? I was this far away from the Pope! That bodyguard still freaks me out though. Hi, Papa Francesco!

 

June

New Post: Is It Here Already? A year in review. That should keep you busy till 2015  by @fillprayclosetIn June, I was featured on SITS, a networking website of over 75,000 women bloggers who aim to support one another through commenting and social media shares.

I was also honest about family, shared how grateful I am for my original bestie, Mike and the boys – and how crying is ok, so long as you’re looking at the ceiling with me (you know, so you don’t mess up the mascara)

July

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My husband shared what it’s like to be married to me and it’s no picnic, I can tell you. He hilariously shared some things that will make you laugh, although he doesn’t laugh when I do these things. Hmph, that’s interesting.

Continuing with the honesty tip, I shared some things in my childhood that connect with my vocation as a mother. It’s not like I was thinking of it that day. It was a knee-jerk response to a link up that went awry in my head somehow. A response that should have been light-hearted and playful, triggered something dark and buried. That post changed me. I have to admit, I was in a pretty deep funk after I wrote that piece, and only in the past month have I been able to get past being so vulnerable. I think that means you owe me lunch or something.

August

New Post: Is It Here Already? A year in review. That should keep you busy till 2015  by @fillpraycloset
Credit: Morguefile via @scottmliddell

I remember I was thinking about NaNoWriMo in August. I tried my hand at a short story prompt for a link up. It took place in a coffee shop and had to tie into Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. No pressure, but I guess I did ok? I included my favorite pastry. (Always with the food, Cristina!!!)

I learned not to take myself so seriously, as far as living my faith goes. Sometimes we’re our own worse critic, right? I shared my confession with you? What was I thinking?! Oh, I know, I realized that  I am the Paralytic, my sins are forgiven and I can get up and walk.

September

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Oh September, how you taunt with organization and your back-to-school supplies. Just when you think you are planned up and ready to hit the end of the year like no body’s business, you hit the land that time forgot, or spiritual dryness. I tried to keep it light, and likened this vast desert to Disney’s Alice in Wonderland.

But, I also shared how you can tell if you’re an introvert, because I really know.

October

New Post: Is It Here Already? A year in review. That should keep you busy till 2015  by @fillpraycloset

I chatted with my tribe-peeps, and we shared some of the search terms on our blogs. I never really paid much attention, so when I looked and couldn’t stop laughing, I had to share them with you.

I was panicking the last few days of October because I was gearing up for NaNoWriMo. I was up early to pray, as I am more focused when I do that, and this post came to me, like a surprise “thinking of you card” from a friend. In this case, that friend was Blessed Mother Teresa. We’re besties. You didn’t know?

November

New Post: Is It Here Already? A year in review. That should keep you busy till 2015  by @fillprayclosetNovember was a blur for you too, right? Hubby went to Poland for two weeks on business while I wrote and crafted and crammed words every day to meet the 50,000 word goal that is NaNoWriMo. I’m not finished with the novel, but I hit the goal, so there’s that. 

December

All the birthday that was to be had, was had by me! I even had a birthday cheesecake this weekend (even though my birthday was on Gaudete Sunday!). That’s how you birthday, you extend it for a week. Of course, I reflected on what I’ve learned in my 36 years of being on this earth.

We’re still in December, I know that. But this is where I will leave you because Christmas, my family, food, mass and resting (cross stitch*, reading and contemplating). Those are all important things, my most favorite things. I will be back in January, with fire in my belly (because people need to recognize! Wuuuuuuut?!) and ice in my hair. Why? Because I go out with my hair wet and it freezes. That’s why.

As promised, here is the Ugly Christmas Sweater picture I promised you on Friday.

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Merry Christmas, dear readers. I am so glad you were here this year. I’m glad I was here this year. I say, we do this all again in 2015, you know, but we’ll be wiser, and hopefully more willing to exercise. Who am I kidding?!?!

Peace out!

*I can’t go a day without writing the word cross stitch. I am officially addicted!

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All the Spasms

Hey Thursday, how are you?

That’s how I woke up today because I’m trying to snap out of a drug induced stupor. What? Yes. NaNoWriMo left me with neck spasms. I had no idea that the sharp pain in my neck that would turn into migraines like I’ve never felt was due to neck strain, most likely from writing.

I went to the doctor yesterday and he gave me muscle relaxers (extended release) and high octane ibuprofen mixed with Prilosec. If I am not better in two weeks, well it’s the chiropractor or physical therapy. The muscle relaxer was supposed to make me groggy after 6 hours, so I was instructed to take it at 6pm, so I could sleep most of it off. Well, let.me.tell.you! I don’t listen to instructions well. I took it at 5pm thinking I know myself and I’ll need more sleep-it-off time. I finished making dinner, and then snuggled on the couch to watch, what else, Ink Masters, and I was out cold after 45 mins. COLD. As in, I think Mike told me to go up to bed and I responded “Don’t play with matches”. That was at 8pm. I took the meds thinking I had time to cross stitch, which I am totally loving, by the way. See?

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Manicure, anyone?

I managed to get some stitching done, and then settled in for Ink Masters. And that was it. Good thing my husband told me to let the bossman (yes, I call my boss that) know that I would be working from home the next day. He had a feeling that I was going to be out like trout the next day, and I am.

My muscles were TOTALLY relaxed this morning. It took me 20 minutes to will myself out of bed. (Why is that any different from any other day, someone tell me?) As I am trying to get up, this is how my brain managed to help me. My brain, always playing these little games with me.

New Post: All the Spasms  #writing #blogging #serialpodcast http://wp.me/p3xcDn-1J9 by @fillpraycloset

But let’s talk about other stuffs, and by other stuffs we, as in me and all of my toes, mean Serial. Only the most awesomely awesomest podcast that ever lived. EVER. Because podcasts live? I digress. I started listening to it, there are 10 podcasts up and you MUST start from the beginning, or no toe wiggling for you (have I exhausted this gif yet?) and yours truly, finished it in 24 hours. Each podcast is 28-55 minutes long. The website says that:

Serial is a podcast where we unfold one nonfiction story, week by week, over the course of a season. We’ll stay with each story for as long as it takes to get to the bottom of it.

But holy pancakes Batman, it’s more than that. It’s about the murder of a teenaged girl, well, let’s get Wikipedia to tell you, I’m still all muscle relaxed.

Season 1 is an investigation into a 1999 Baltimore murder. Koenig has said, Serial is “about the basics: love and death and justice and truth. All these big, big things.” She also has noted, “this is not an original idea. Maybe in podcast form it is, and trying to do it as a documentary story is really, really hard. But trying to do it as a serial, this is as old as Dickens.” Episodes are released weekly on Thursday, and vary in length.

Hae Min Lee was an 18 year old student at Woodlawn High School. Lee was last seen at approximately 3pm on January 13, 1999. Her corpse was discovered on February 9 in Leakin Park and identified two days later, with the case immediately being treated as a homicide. Lee’s ex-boyfriend Adnan Musud Syed was arrested on February 28 at 6 a.m. and charged with first-degree murder, which led to “some closure and some peace” for Lee’s family. A memorial service for Lee was held on March 11 at Woodlawn High School. Syed was found guilty of Lee’s murder on February 25, 2000 after a six-week trial, and was given a life sentence despite pleading his innocence.

If you ask me, and you are, I think Mr. S had more to do with this than we all know because, Ep. 3. A small tidbit that even Tiff didn’t remember, that stuck with me like, how did Ericka Clay say it in Chapter 1 of her new serialized novel on Wattpad (see what I did there?) like flypaper. It stuck to me like flypaper. Here’s the transcript

– – – SPOILER ALERT – – –
(thank you Reddit for the transcript)

The closest I got was, bear with me, I found out that Mr. S’s sister-in-law was a math teacher at Woodlawn back in 1999 when all this happened. So I called her. Hae was her student, she said. An excellent student. Top of the line. But she didn’t think Mr. S knew anything about the crime before he found the body. She put her husband on the phone, Mr. S’s younger half-brother. And he said, “you know what’s crazy? I used to live next door to the kid that did it!” That was back when Adnan was nine or ten.

I know enough to know, that this coincidence, is no coincidence. That’s too much, boo-boo (complete with hand claps over each syllable). I can’t overlook it.

So that, and cross stitching are like a delicious, mouthwatering cocktail for me. There was something else I wanted to gab about, what is it? Oh yes, my last post, where I mentioned that things would be changing around here. I was asked by my tribey peeps what that meant, and if I would be moving, etc. We all chatted a bit, and I shared some feelings about it. We decided that all it meant was a re-branding. Or at least that’s what I took from the conversation, I was hopped up on goofballs last night. But now, in the light of this here Christmas tree in my living room, I don’t know if I am a brand that needs re-ing. Know what I mean? Here’s the pickle, when I write about Catholicky-goodness, that fits here, right? When I don’t, and people who expect Catholicky-goodness come to read, they must be all “how the heck does NaNoWrimo have anything to do with faith” and they are, for the most part, right. How does it fit? It don’t fit, and I must acquit! Sorry, serving up too much Serial-realness.

I did say this in the secret-private-group-on-Facebook-that-I-absolutely-adore, “I feel like I finished FMPC” yeah man, that’s an acronym that Mary dropped like a mic last night. I kind of loved it too.

While I can’t say why (and Tiffany knows how much I e-hat cryptic messages like this, but alas I have been sworn to secrecy) I feel in my heart that it is. I want to have a space where I can write whateva’s clevah and not feel like I have plaid and paisley on. It doesn’t match.

New Post: All the Spasms  #writing #blogging #serialpodcast http://wp.me/p3xcDn-1J9 by @fillpraycloset

This doesn’t mean that I am still not a writer of faith, or suddenly don’t want to share reflections about my faith, it just means that there’s more to me than that. More to this here writer than that, and I don’t fit into one box. Especially not after I chowed down last night on fried porkchops and a radioactive sized baked potato (it probably was too), they were gooooood. But where do I fit? What do I call the new place? What new place is that? I have a domain with my full name saved, but I don’t even know if I like that, because I like to be private sometimes.

So, that’s where I am with that, and I thought I should flesh out my sentiments from yesterday a bit more for you, because you know, we’re besties and what not.

In a way, my neck is reflecting what my innards already know. It’s screaming out for release. Who makes innard relaxers? If you know, tell them I prefer bubble gum flavored medicine.

Next time, on FMPC.

*cue Serial theme music*

*mic drop*

NaNoWriMo Wrap Up: Now I’m writing novels? What?!

It’s over. November is over and that means NaNoWriMo is over. Does that mean the writing stops? No. Of course not peeps! I did meet the 50,000 word goal, but I didn’t finish the story. I’m not even that much of an expert to say how many words I need to write to finish it. I don’t feel like I won. I feel like I’m halfway done eating a Vermonster. Which in case you didn’t know, is a lot of ice cream, toppings, and oh man look at that loveliness.

#NaNoWriMo Wrap Up: Now I'm writing novels? What?! What I've learned, GIF stylie by @fillpraycloset #writing

But, getting mostly through writing a novel leaves you with the same feeling as I would imagine eating most of this mammoth creamy treat would: with a tummy ache. But, I’m full. I’m so full. I know the next word will taste as delicious as a spoon full of banana, cookies and cream ice cream with whipped cream, but I know I could lose said cookies if I did just now. I felt the same way after the AtoZChallenge. Remember that? After a month of whizzing my way through the alphabet I felt like I was walking around in Oz. Now it’s ice cream – someone. please tell me what’s wrong with me. Oh yeah, I was writing at least 2,000 words a day (always more when you think of texting, emails, Words with Friends, you get the picture!)

I’ve had a lot happen in the month of November (good bad and who cares), and lots more to look forward to in December. Like Advent, my birthday, Christmas, New Year’s, you know, the season of holidays. I also don’t know what direction this blog will take. I feel like things are different, don’t you? I feel like we’re bustin’ out of this here prayer closet. Think about it, we’ve been filling it for a hot minute with all kinds of feelings, prayers and musings. I would like my space to reflect the change we’re going through together, and I think you would like that too. All in the name of transparency, folks. I was talking about it with Tiff-tastic this morning and I hate being quiet and cagey about things. Not my estilo. So that’s what I’m thinking about, and maybe that’s why I’ve also been so quiet, aside from the NaNoHapPenIngs. I hope you’ll stick around, but if you don’t that’s ok. I would never put baby in the corner, and I know you feel the same way about me. Change is always good, it’s consistent and we like that about it, at least. SO, onward.

What have I learned from NaNoWriMo, you ask? Or any writing blitz blender? Neatly summed up? I pay for it later.

When the blitzing blender is done, I am exhausted.
There are no more words. I have reaped all that I’ve sewn over the past 30 days, and now I have to till the soil, and add more seed. There are more words, of course there are, but they’re just like alphabet soup in my head. I need some time to get the letters to play nice and make words.

#NaNoWriMo Wrap Up: Now I'm writing novels? What?! What I've learned, GIF stylie by @fillpraycloset #writing

When the blitzing blender is done, I am a lethargic mess.
All that writing means, all that NOT walking, or exercising, or taking regular bathroom breaks as an excuse to shake my legs awake. Thank goodness for Lycra and all things stretch. I don’t know what to do with myself because it’s a snowy mess outside, and it’s cold. I could walk up and down my stairs, but I won’t. I’ll just wait for my husband to get me an elliptical in January. That’s just how I roll.

#NaNoWriMo Wrap Up: Now I'm writing novels? What?! What I've learned, GIF stylie by @fillpraycloset #writing
Preach it, Elijah.

When the blitzing blender is done, I’m still sort of hesitant about sharing it with people IRL.
At mass I’ve been asked when I am cantoring next, or where I’ve been this past month. I change the subject, bless myself with Holy Water for the third time in a row, chase after children that aren’t mine, all as a rouse. I won’t say, “Oh, I was writing a novel and I’ll be back in January”. Why? Because I get the “When can I read it?!” or, chuckles and “Really?! No. Really?!!!”. Because that’s awesome. In their defense, who answers with “I’m writing a novel!”? Stephen King does, and I’m not Stephen King. I probably should come with a warning:

“Ask at your own risk, I may say something like ‘I can’t, I’m writing’ or ‘I spent an entire month writing a fantasy novel that included a dead monk, watchers of war, faith, love and silence, among other things, and I don’t know how it will end…’ and you will inevitably respond this way. You don’t want that, do you?”

#NaNoWriMo Wrap Up: Now I'm writing novels? What?! What I've learned, GIF stylie by @fillpraycloset #writing

When the blitzing blender is done, even if it isn’t finished, yet and won’t be for a while…I’m still a novelist.

#NaNoWriMo Wrap Up: Now I'm writing novels? What?! What I've learned, GIF stylie by @fillpraycloset #writing

Wait a minute. I thought I was stuck in a blender. Now I’m writing novels? What?!” It’s not so much getting out of the blender, it’s what happens next. That’s the question. (Love The Internship)

So, let’s see what happens next. I gotta climb the heck outta this blender.

So This Happened

I won #NaNoWriMo 2014! @fillpraycloset #amwriting #fantasy #novel

And this wouldn’t be an update, if I didn’t leave you with the final inspiration image…

Shuxing_Li_05

BUT, I’m not finished. I knew I wouldn’t be. I am not at this inspiration image part yet, but this is where I am going. What’s on the other side though, all of those details are yet to be seen. I will know them when my fingers, possessed as they have been all month, type them out. I knew that this novel would be more than the 50K required for NaNo. So I will still be writing, but I get to cross this off my list.

Thanks for the support, crazy peeps. Happy TURKEY day! And now, I will celebrate, with cross stitch and lots of bacon.