Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Day 5

This is part of my novel, "What Losing You Did to Me". To start at the beginning, click here. Right now a new section of my book posts every Tuesday and Thursday.

Cielen stands, stretching. He reaches for his breakfast and yawns. "It's a late morning." He says, smiling at me. I'm still pondering our last conversation. Maybe what Cielen says is true, perhaps I do blame everything on myself.

"I'm going to shower and get dressed. I'll let you get ready after that--and we can meet in the lobby." I nod, picking up a stray banana from my tray. I'm not that hungry, but for some reason my thoughts are racing. I feel like Cielen shattered my self-perception. And I don't know how to reorder my reality right now. It's to stressful to think about with all that's going on.

I put down the banana, not really hungry. Stress always makes me feel so out of control, so vulnerable. I hate it.

I close my eyes and drift into a lazy nap, not quite asleep but not awake. It's a peaceful state where I just let myself rest, pushing the past down and trying not to think of Aainn. It works. When Cielen emerges from the bathroom in clean but wrinkled clothes, I feel much refreshed.

"I'll be in the lobby." He says, giving me one of his half-smiles, his hands combing though his hair.

"Sure." I say. "I'll be down in a bit."

When I hear the soft click of the door lock behind him, I stretch and pull of my clothes. The hot water feels wonderful, and I take my time towel drying my hair and selecting my outfit. We are going to a party--my first real college party. I need to look the part, and I want to wear my own face, for Mai. Good thing all I really own are tee shirts and jeans right now. I hadn't exactly packed for a vacation when I'd left the North. I'd more like grabbed what I could and just came, anxious to see Aainn. I pull on a purple tee with long sleeves and a pair of skinny jeans. Standing before the mirror I stare into my eyes, my lashes still a bit damp from the shower. I do look sad. And hollow, somehow. Oh well.

I change myself into my blond counterpart, thinking that I look a lot like Mai's friend--what's her name? The one who took my place in my house that awful day. Perhaps I should wear her face. Mai had said she never wanted to see me again, anyway. I play around with my image until it's as close to Carri's face that I can remember. I hide Carri's face under my usual spell---a glimmer within a glimmer. I can shed my top layer at the party if Mai is proving difficult to talk to, or switch faces quickly if I need to disappear in a dangerous situation. 

Cielen's enjoying an ice tea in the hotel restaurant when I meet up with him.

"We have nine hours until the mall closes." He says. "Want to walk around campus again?"

I nod.

The hours pass quickly. Cielen takes me out to a Taco place and I eat two fish tacos with some kind of spicy sauce on them. They are good. Once our bellies are full, we walk around campus, scouring Aainn's building, making our plans for Wednesday. The nervous butterflies return, but Cielen's calm voice reassures me. There is a note on Aainn's door that Thursday will be his last office hours before his vacation. He has the exact times listed that he will be available, as well as a list of assignments that his students should make sure are turned in. A TA will be taking over his classes for the month he will be gone.

I smile. He'll spend that month with me.

Just before 9 we head out.

"I think we should attend this party separately." Cielen says, just as we are about to exist campus.

"You can arrive first, Merienge. We can pretend not to know each other. That way if you need help..." His eyes are looking right into mine.

"That is a great idea." I say. "You might be able to hear things I can't."

Cielen nods. "I'll glimmerspell myself. You head on out now. I'm going to hit the restroom and work some magie."

I gulp. The thought of being alone even for a few hours feels my heart with unease. Cielen winks at me, turning to walk back towards the campus buildings, his hands in his coat pocket. I turn away. The silence is a dull roar.

The walk to the mall is quick and before I know it I'm standing in front of the Hookah store wondering what I'm doing here. The clerk inside sees me, and his eyes light up. He says something to his friend, and they both laugh. I feel my face turning red, even through I have no idea what they are saying.

A few minutes pass. Two more girls appear, both wearing black. One has tattoos, the other has a nose piercing. They are furiously texting on their phones, there pale faces hovering inches from the bright screens.

A group of males show up. One of them seems to know the girls well. They smile at me.

"New here, huh?" One asks. He has blue hair.

"Yeah." I say. "He invited me." I point inside the store, where my "friend" appears to be counting the till while another guy sweeps.

"Cool." Says the blue-haired dude. He turns to his buddy. "This is Colin. I'm Nate." He looks at me expectantly.

"My name is Nora." I lie. Well, that's the name on my fake id, anyway.


A few more people show up. They are laughing and talking among themselves, swapping stories and jostling one another. I feel so out of place.

"I'm glad you came." It's the clerk. His black hair is swooped low and he's wearing another black band tee-shirt. This one says "The Screaming Turtles". He catches me looking.

"They are a great band. I'll loan you a copy later." He smiles at me. He's kinda cute, if I wasn't already, well, married. And if I had a thing for greasy goth boys, which I most certainly do not.

Oh, the things this trip is teaching me about myself. I sigh.

"My name is Logan." Clerk-boy says. He seems to have taken my sigh as a sign that I'm bored, and he needs to talk. "I already know your name. Nate told me."

"Nice to meet you." I say. Logan laughs at my formal language.

"Whatever." He says.

The lights in the mall are dimming. That must be everyone's cue to leave, because they all start rambling towards the back exist. As we turn I catch Mai's eyes, near the back. Her face is pale white and a boy--the one who was kissing her a few days ago, has his arm around her. She's still very pregnant. He's leaning into her, whispering something in her ear, and Mai is nodding, her eyes wide.

I look away when Logan taps my shoulder. He's to my right, his long legs matching my easy stride.

"There is so many people here!" I say, trying to think of something to say. I don't want him to realize I was once again watching Mai.

"Yeah. All the regulars. The Crux is going to be full tonight."

"The Crux?" I ask.

"It's a club down the street from here. My friend Nate bought out the basement for us a long time ago. He owns the tattoo parlor across from Campus."

"Oh." I say.

"You'll like it here." Logan says. "It's a good town---I mean, it has it's downsides, like that grumpy old man who tries to run the place."

My ears perk up.

"You mean...Mr. Durithean?" I say.

Logan nods. "You know him?"

"No, no." I say quickly. Perhaps to quickly. "But I know of him."

"Yeah, doesn't everybody?" Logan says. "That old prick has everything he could want yet he tries to run this town like his word is law. We would all be better off without him."

I don't know what to say to that, so I just make some kind of noncommittal noise. 

"He's sexist, for one. Doesn't let many women into the college. I don't know, he just gives me the creeps, you know? All the guys say the same. Actually, we thought you were following his granddaughter the other day--but I convinced the guys it was just a mistake."

"He has...he has a granddaughter?" I manage to keep my face straight.

"Yeah. I sort of know her. She's friends with my coworker Thayten."

Friends? I remember the sucking sound their lips made when I'd spied on them in the back of the shop.

"No, I don't know her." I say. And it's true. I really don't know her.

"Well, I feel for her."

"Huh?"" I ask, heart racing. "Is she sick?"

"No... not exactly." He says. His eyes roam back to find Mai and Theyten. "You'll have to ask her about it. It's some story. But don't say I didn't warn you."

There are even more people inside The Crux. I'm suddenly squished up against two redheads in the back of the club. Logan pulls me aside.

"It's crowded in here!" He yells, over the noise of what I presume passes for music in this place. More people are piling in behind me. I follow him to a wall.

"I'll be back later." Logan says. "Gotta make a beer run. Enjoy yourself. Thanks for coming!"

I'm surrounded by a sea of people in black, drinking and dancing, their voices overlapping each other, each person trying to be heard over the heavy metal band. I make some kind of face at Logan, and he takes it as affirmation to leave. I see his back disappear into a knot of people.

I start to look for Mai. Where is Cielen, anyway? Goodness knows he'd have a hard time finding me in this place. I drop my first guise and assume the face of Carri, pushing through people, looking for Mai. I don't see Carri here--perhaps her face will help me find Mai.

Suddenly a hard hand grips my arm, yanking me almost off my feet.

"What the fuck." A voice says in my ear. "What kind of sick joke is this." I can't turn my head to see who is behind me.

"Let go!" I say, trying to twist around. The hand just pushes me towards the back of the club, through the dancing crowd. A door opens and I am shoved in. Whoever just grabbed me closes the door as I turn to face him.

I'm suddenly very afraid.

Click here for the next part.

Monday, September 29, 2014


I finally did it. I decided to chop of all my hair.

For awhile I've been tired of my very thick, mid-length hair. I feel like my hair only does one thing, because I can't put it up (too heavy) and I can't leave it down. My style lately has frustrated me to no end, seeming only good for a pulled back out of my face look or clipped up in a half-updo that makes me feel like I'm still in college.

I wanted something different. I've had long hair since I can remember: I want short hair.

But I wasn't going to go in blind. I've had three haircuts in the past four years, and only one of them I loved (this one) and that was in 2011. I merely liked my haircut in 2012, and the one in 2013 was done out of annoyance and in hair-desperation. (I seem to be having a haircut-a-year theme here...) and I have not liked my hair since the last time I cut it and thus was determined to grow it out--only, I still don't like it. It's so poofy, and everywhere in my face at once and I don't know how to manage it.

the picture I brought
After trying to deal with it for a long time I googled around for "thick wavy haircuts". In all my picture searches this one came up, and I liked it. I bought it along to my stylist at Fusion (a salon a friend in my knit group told me about) and just hoped for the best. My stylist at Fusion (Nicole, if you live local and want the same person) went above and beyond--she not only looked at my picture, she analyzed my face shape and asked about my lifestyle as she pondered over what to do with my hair.

And she did this.

Ohmygosh I love it. It's fun. It's short, and it is so me. Low maintenance, able to be dressed in a hippie way and a kawaii way. And it fits my face shape so well. I'm in love. I'm so in love I left her a huge tip and she deserved every penny of it.

Instead of making long back layers like the pictures, she left it long in the front to frame my face better. It works this way, my face shape needed this framing. And, she talked me out of the bang, saying it wouldn't suit me (and she was right). All in all--I love love love love love love love my new haircut and whenever I need another haircut I know where I will be going right back to.

Yes, I'm like super hyper about it. I think it will also grow out well. And, I liked what I saw of Fusion--only, the price was a little more expensive then what they told me on the phone (but I know that happens at places) anyway, the price of my happiness does not really have a number, so I'm stoked. Yay! 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

5th Street Art House

This concludes my first month of selling in the 5th street art house in downtown Lynchburg. I've enjoyed my time this month, and will be renewing for at least a second month. Last I checked I'd sold three things, but it may have gone up since then... at least, I hope so.

There are so many interesting handmade things in the shop--and I've met so many amazing local artists. It's been an honor to add my things to such a fun place. I can't wait to make more.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I did a Cleanse

About a month ago I did the Gaia herb full body cleanse. I was really excited and also highly skeptical...but since I've been having on and off health issues for the past two years I decided to try it.

If you are interested in seeing how it was, I vloged about it every day. You can click here for the playlist of all 12 days.

If your asking yourself why you should watch these, well, I made up with a bullet point list to help you figure it out.
  1. If you are interested in doing an organic herb only cleanse.
  2. If you have issues of bloating and/or constipation and are wondering if this cleanse can help.
  3. If you have ever been interested in seeing what I look like right in the morning after I wake up.
  4. If you creepily want to know what I ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.
There you have it. Let me know if you have any questions and please tell me what you think!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Day Five: Party

This is part of my novel, "What Losing You Did to Me". To start at the beginning, click here. Right now a new section of my book posts every Tuesday and Thursday.

I open my eyes to view the sleeping form of Cielen next to me. We'd spent most of the last year sleeping together in smaller spaces then this hotel room, so when I'd offered him half of the bed last night he hadn't declined.

I think back to all the times Cielen had quite literally saved my life. There was that insect that had stung me during our hike north and almost instantly my leg had swelled up and the poison had started making me delirious. Cielen had cut my pants and my boots off with his hunting knife and rushed me to a nearby stream that he'd located with magie, lowering me in the cold water to stave off the swelling. He'd practically seen me naked. And then there was that time when I'd had a fever and to lower the temperature he'd had to basically give me a bath.

And not once had he even batted an eye or made a pass at me sexually. Different then what I'd been taught in school, where I was told the sight of too much flesh could cause a man to forget himself.

I suddenly realize that Cielen has his eyes open and he's smiling at me. I blink at him, turning red, not knowing what to say about the fact that he'd just caught me staring at him.

He yawns, stretches, and picks up the hotel phone from beside his bed. I listen as he orders both of us breakfast.

I sit up slowly, letting my thoughts, like my sleepiness, fall to the floor. 

"Cielen." I say, turning towards him in the bed. He's done with his order and is reclined on the pillows, his head resting on his hands.

"Yeah?" He says, arching an eyebrow at me.

I clear my throat, suddenly nervous. "Do you remember what you said yesterday when we were outside the engineering building?" I ask.

He purses his lips. "Yeah."

"Well," I say, not quite sure how to put what I'm thinking into words--"I know you say you don't want anything from me, but I'm afraid. I'm afraid in the back of my head that you really do want something."

I swallow, and continue. "I'm not sure how to say it. But I feel like I owe you something."

I'm afraid I've said something wrong, because Cielen looks so serious, laying there with his dark skin against the white sheets, his brown eyes staring at me.

"That makes me sad." He says at last. "I mean, I like it that you want to be my friend, Merienge. But I don't deserve your friendship. And you don't owe me anything, except perhaps common courtesy, as a fellow human being."

He sits up, his eyes roaming my face.

"Let's try something." He says. "You know that my major was psychology, right?"

I nod. At most schools a magie user picks a non-magie degree as a backup plan. Cielens was psychology. Mine had been Literature.

"Well, I want you to tell me about all the interactions you've had with men. Okay? Start with the orphanage."

I want to ask what this has to do with anything, but Cielen waves my questions away.

"I'll explain the why after this is over." He says. "Lets start with elementary school. Tell me about your first memories there."

I take a deep breath.

"Well, I was brought to the orphanage at three...they tested me for magic and found I was positive, so I was mostly kept away from the others. I remember when I was five wondering why I couldn't play with anyone. My teacher said it was because I had magie and my magie could hurt them. I didn't know what was wrong with me, but now I know that they thought my magie could have a will of it's own and hurt the others." In rural, non-magie places this is common misconception.

"My first interaction with a kid near my age was the only other magie user at the school. He was several years older then me, but he didn't want to play with me. I would watch him work spells and wonder if one day I'd be able to do that."

I lapse in to silence. I'd not spoken of Benji in a long time, or even thought of him.

"Why didn't he want to play with you?" Asks Cielen.

"He said...he said it's because I was a girl." I say at last, closing my eyes. "When they told him they'd found another magie user and he would have a classmate, he was so excited. Only to find out I was a girl."

"And what did your teachers do about this?" Cielen says, his voice light.

"They didn't do anything. Even when he refused to talk to me. And he'd push and pinch me....but eventually he left. He was 12 when I met him, and he went off to college when I was 9. I never saw him again." I say, softly.

Silence fills the room. I am suddenly aware of myself breathing, so I hold my breath, not wanting to disturb the air around me.

"And then you were alone?" Cielen asks, his voice loud against my frozen thoughts.

"Well, I had my teachers...and the library. So I wasn't that alone."

More silence. I stare at my hands, unsure of how to go on. Tentatively, I look up. Cielen...is...crying?

"Whats wrong!" I say, reaching out to grab his hand. "Are you okay?"

He blinks at me. "Yes, I'm fine. I just am wondering how your fine, Merienge. I hurt for you."

"What do you mean?" I ask, confused.

"I just want to go back in time and have a stern talking to with that boy and your teachers." He says.

"I just wanted them to notice me." I say. "I don't know what I did wrong, but..."

"You did nothing wrong!"  Cielen explodes suddenly, flinging back the covers and jumping out of bed to pace around our little hotel room. "That boy should have been disciplined. You should have been allowed to play with the other children."

I never thought of it that way. The rules were the rules. I remember feeling so sad that I hadn't been a boy, wondering what was wrong with me, wondering why the other boy didn't want to play with me. And for a long time I'd hated my magie too--the one thing that kept me from being normal like the others.

"I bet the other orphans were none to kind to you as well." Cielen's voice drifts back into my hearing, and I realize I'd missed a few sentences.

"No, they weren't. But I didn't really expect them to be. I mean, I had my very own room and my very own tutors..." I trail off, suddenly tired again. I'd really wanted to be friends with them. But they, on the rare occasion when we did happen to cross paths, would only call me names and push me around demanding that I do tricks for them.

"Okay." Says Cielen, sitting down again, "Lets keep going. After the older boy left, were any of your instructors male?"

"Yes." I say. "Besides the librarian they were all male."

"And...?" Cielen asks, his question prodding my subconscious.

"They were okay. I was with one of them most of the time."

"What were there names?" Asks Cielen from the bed, next to me.

"Dr. Applegate, Mr. Rostyn...and Dr. Mattyx." I say. "They commuted from two different colleges to teach me, rotating days. Dr. Applegate was Mondays and Wednesdays, Mr. Rost was Tuesdays and Thursdays and Dr. Mattyx was Fridays."

"This may be a hard question for you, Merienge, but did they ever expect anything of you? I'm not talking about homework or assignments. I'm talking about your body."

I am silent. I don't know what to say. I'd never thought about it that way.

"You don't have an answer if you don't want to." Cielen says.

"I...don't know." I say at last. "Dr. Applegate would always talk about my legs. We had uniforms at the orphanage and he started tutoring me more often after Benji left. He'd keep remarking about how shapely my legs were getting and what a fine women I'd be one day. His comments made me feel really uncomfortable, but I didn't know what do about it."

I realize I'm shaking. I edge closer to Cielen.

"Is it okay if I put my arm around you?" Cielen asks, and I nod. He pulls me close to him.

Just then there is a knock on the door, and a female voice calls out "room service." I jump. Cielen answers the door and brings us both breakfast. He sets the trays on the bed and resumes his seat next to me.

"Just to let you know, if at any time you feel unconformable, we can stop talking." He says, "But I think this is good. I think we are finding out why you feel the way you do."

"Okay." I say. I feel suddenly small, an oyster lost in an ocean of barnacles. 

"So, from the time you were 9 until you left at 16 for college, did Dr. Applegate do anything else?"

I think back. "He made me sit facing him after I turned 13. He said his eyesight was failing and and needed me to sit closer to him. And..."

I stop, the feelings in my heart getting all confused with the memories of the orphanage.

I take a deep breath. "And, one day he used his pointing stick to lift up my skirt..."

I'm glad the covers are over my legs right now so Cielen can't see.

"...And I didn't know what to do. I was afraid. He put his hand on my leg and I screamed and ran away to the nurse."

I stop and take a deep breath.

"And did the nurse do anything?" Cielen says. He sounds strangely level headed.

I look down at my hands in shame. "She made me go back and apologize to Mr. Applegate." I say. "I shouldn't have been wearing such a short skirt..."

"What?!" Cielen explodes beside me.

"Well, I was wearing an uniform that was too small. The nurse gave me a larger size so that the hem fell over my knees." I explain.

Cielen is silent besides me. "They said I was getting older so they stuck an aid worker in the back of my classes to make sure nothing else happened, after that." I say. "So it all did turn out all right, I suppose."

"They said you were getting old?" Cielen says. He turns to me, his eyes meeting mine all in a rush. "This is awful."

"Well, the nurse said he didn't rape me. And she said I hadn't said no..." I remember when she's asked me if I'd said no. Well, no I hadn't...it had been so confusing, it had happened so fast, all I had thought of doing was running away...

"You do know none of this was your fault, right?" Cielen says besides me. "Dr. Applegate was wrong! Your skirt wasn't too short, you getting old had nothing to do with it, and there is nothing right about what your teacher said or did to you."

I bite my lip. "But I didn't say no." I say, "So I must have done something wrong to make him think..."

"Merienge, not saying no does not mean you said yes." Cielen says, cutting me off mid sentence.

He takes both my hands in his. "I understand now, why you think you owe me something. It seems many of the males in your life have misused and abused you--and the other adults seem to have let them take the blame for it. This is totally wrong. And if there is one thing I want you to understand from today it's that it's not your fault."

I meet Cielen's eyes slowly. "But it feels like my fault." I say.

"I know." Says Cielen, shaking more tears out of his eyes. "I know."

Click here for the next part

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sign Design

I created this fancy sign to highlight my items in the new shop I am participating in! I can't wait to show you guys what it all looks like. I am hoping that selling local will generate a bit more revenue and provide the means to jump start this knitting career of mine!

When I originally created this (and I'm not a print or web designer, by any means) I saved it as a PDF file and then attempted to go to Walmart and print it off. They can't print PDFs. So then I went to CVS. They also don't print PDFs, and the clerk didn't even know what they were! Finally I texted my boss (the owner of this store where I am displaying my items, he really isn't my boss, but I don't know what else to call him) that I was going to be late to set up. I ended up in desperation going to a UPS store and they printed it right off. I hereafter shall do all my printing there. And I wasn't late after all!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Easy Fold Over Crochet Boot Socks

I created these fun little boot socks the other week to wear for fall! They are crochet with worsted weight yarn and a 4mm hook. If you want to create these yourself, you can download the PDF pattern here or check it out on youtube.

I'm so excited about the cooler weather and I have a lot of projects in the works!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Knockout Knits (Book Review)

The other week I saw another blogger posted about a book she received for free from blogging for books. I was like--that can't be real--a whole book for freeeeeee? Mailed right to your house? SIGN ME UP.

It's not a scam. You sign up, add a book (you can only review one at a time) and post a review to your blog and also to the website. Another thing--they have both e-books and print books. As I abhor e-books with the burning passion of a thousand sunsets, I was very surprised to see they offer both digital and print editions of books to review. In short, I'm hooked. 

The first thing that caught my eye was this knitting pattern book. Knitting books are relatively expensive (usually 20-30$) so I, as you can imagine, was beyond excited to receive this for free. I looked up what patterns come in it on Ravelry to see if there was anything I wanted to make. Several of the patterns appealed to me (I so want this hat and this necklace) so I requested to review Knockout Knits

The book came very fast, only taking 4 days to reach my house from wherever it shipped from. The pictures are beyond gorgeous, and each pattern is charted and written: a plus for me since I like to gravitate from one to the other when working.

In the first few chapters Laura explains some new knitting terms that she will be using in her patterns. I think of myself as an experienced knitter, but there were are few techniques she went over that I had never heard of before. Also, all of her projects incorporate these "new" techniques in varying ways, so this book would still be good for a beginner knitter. Some projects use all of them (like the shawl) where others use only one (like the hat).

The only downside that I could find is that there is no picture table of contents. In most knitting books I own, there is a page at the front where all the patterns are shown so you can just turn to the one you want to make without having to leaf through the whole book. But that is a minor setback. I still love the book and am planning on making both the necklace and the hat, as well as a few other things.

I was given this book for free, all opinions are my own.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Day Four: Dinner

This is part of my novel, "What Losing You Did to Me". To start at the beginning, click here. Right now a new section of my book posts every Tuesday and Saturday.

"So." Cielen says, leaning over his plate of cheese fries, "Tell me about Aainn."

I feel myself smile. Thoughts of Aainn suddenly drown out the strum of old-fashioned music in the little diner where Cielen and I are stitting. I'm flooded with memories of... Aainn's smile. And the way his eyes crinkle when he looks at me. His arms, so skinny and long, the way his hair would always flop over his eyes until he'd finally remember to cut it... Those memories meld to images of our first year together, when I'd realized Aainn wouldn't let me leave my clothes everywhere. He'd always come behind me and neatly lay everything on our bed, like an unspoken reminder for me to hang my own stuff up. Or...(and my mouth waters at the thought) Aainn's breakfasts. He'd always insisted on making me breakfast. And he was good at it, too.

"Start with how you met." Cielen says, breaking my train of thought, half a fry hanging out of his mouth. "I don't think you ever told me."

I smile again. That was so long ago.

"We met in college." I say. What next? How do I explain?

"Was it love at first sight?" Cielen says, and I try not to laugh.

"No, not at all..." I say. "Aainn is a year younger then me, but we had some of the same classes together. He asked me to tutor him. I turned him down, but he kept asking. I thought it was because I had the highest grades at the time...and maybe it started out that way..."

"I was already tutoring a few other students to earn money. I did need more money, but on top of all the others I was helping, I didn't know if I had time. But Aainn kept asking, so finally I said yes."

"My first thoughts were that, boy, Aainn was stupid. I guess he had a lot of teachers give him special treatment back home because of his grandfather. I think they'd just passed him because of who he was. That first six months I taught him a lot of basics. And I found out he was smart."

He also outgrew his little spoiled streak, I think to myself. Being out West really taught Aainn a lot about himself. It was good for him. I mean, for the first time in his life he had to actually get a job and shop for his own toilet paper.  I laugh, remembering Aainn during the first few months I'd known him. Cielen raises his eyebrows at me, reminding me to continue the story. 

"I think I was the first person to treat him, well, like a normal person, and not like an extension of his grandfather. Most the people out West knew of his grandfather, but because of my sheltered upbringing, I had no clue. He really was just another guy to me."

I stop for a second to take a bite of my soup that's arrived. It's warm, and smooth, and reminds me of cozy winter nights when I would make the same soup for Aainn and myself. Perhaps that's why I'd ordered it. 

"Well, when did you fall in love with him, then?" Cielen asks, his eyes twinkling.

I put down my spoon, remembering. "It was the next year," I say. "I was junior and Aainn a sophomore by that point. I was still tutoring him but things had changed. The sessions became more about just hanging out and discovering things together. One day I just woke up and realized that Aainn has a deep heart, and a kind one. I knew then I liked him. We started meeting at coffee shops and dinner places and finally at each others houses--something I'd never done with any of my other students."

Aainn had such a cozy apartment, full of blue tones and very functional furniture. I had enjoyed my time there, back when we were just student, and teacher.

"I guess the point where things escalated was when we kissed on the beach." Warmth floods me as I remember that kiss. I'd wanted to kiss him. I'd wanted him to kiss me. But I'd never been able to put it into words, shyly hiding behind lessons and friendship. Aainn has seen all the nonverbal signs and, well, let his lips do the talking. It had been amazing.

"And then, just like that, you were in love?" Prompts Cielen, his fingers smeared with cheese. I hand him a napkin across the table, my mind still on Aainn's lips.

"Well, no--then we both knew we liked each other. I stopped tutoring Aainn and started dating Aainn." And I learned more about him. I learned he was actually pretty shy. The cocky tough boy act was just that--and act

It turned out that everyone expected the grandson of the famous Rien Durithean to be a certain person and act an certain way. He'd had all that pressure on him for years. And that, he told me one day, late at night, why he'd come here. To find out what he wanted. 

"I never did ask him why he thanked me" I say, my mind still on that day by the sea.

"Hmm?" Asks Cielen.

"He thanked me. Right before he kissed me." I say, realizing I'd skipped that part.

"Wow, that's weird." Says Cielen.

I smirk. "Yeah. But it's something Aainn would do."

Cielen takes that as his cue to launch off into a story of his own. It's about a girl he kissed in high-school and how her breath had tasted just like strawberry ice cream. I laugh. Cielen knows just how to be funny.

Before I know it I've finished my soup and we're leaving. Cielen pays the waiter and we head back to the hotel.

"That was fun." I say.

"You seem much more relaxed." Cielen says.

I stop walking, and Cielen almost runs into me. "Hey!" He says. "Give a guy a warning."

I am less stressed, I realize suddenly. I feel more like myself then I've felt in ages.

"I do feel a lot better." I say. "But I do wish it was Wednesday."

"I know." Cielen says. He takes my arm and I start walking again. "It will be Wednesday before we know it...and we will rescue your Aainn." His eyes narrow as he says Aainn's name. I can tell he really wants to see me happy.

"But tomorrow we'll see about Mai." Cielen finishes, and I can tell he's thinking about Rien Durithean and what he did to Aainn and I. And what he might have done to Mai.

I'd forgotten about Mai. As the hotel looms closer, towering over most of the other buildings in this downtown section, I find myself wondering what happened to her. Maybe tomorrow I'll find out.

Click here for the next part.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


I was beyond excited when I found this little velvet number at goodwill. It's very vintage, and although it reads that it is a size 14, it just fits me. (I'm a size 12, so I thought it would be looser, but whatever--vintage sizes run small I've found) Anyway, I love it. The colors are bright and the fabric is really soft. And did I mention that it's lined and has pockets? Well, it does.

I could totally wear this to a very dressy event with heals, but I added a...cardigan without sleeves (what do you call that thing I'm wearing, I really have no clue) to tone done the class a bit. Perfect for a laid back church service and brunch with the husband.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Day Four: Evening

This is part of my novel, "What Losing You Did to Me". To start at the beginning, click here. Right now a new section of my book posts every week.

It's getting late and we are sitting on the bench outside Aainn's office again. Cielen has bought me a cupcake and I'm savoring the sugary frosting.

"So, next Wednesday, huh?" He says, tapping his feet into the dirt.

"Yeah." I say.

"And if he isn't here for some reason?"

I almost drop the last piece of my cupcake. "Oh, he'll be here." I say. "Aainn is a creature of habit. He takes his job very seriously."

"And you are sure next week is is last week of his classes?"

"Yes." I watch as the doors open and a few laughing students emerge from the building, books in tow. "If for some reason he isn't here I'll camp out at his office door Thursday and Friday."  I say, watching as the lights from the door wink at me. The whole campus looks so picturesque I can't help but smile.

"This is a pretty place." Cielen remarks, taking my cupcake wrapper and tossing it into the trash besides me.

"I was just thinking the same thing." I say, leaning back and stretching out my legs across the bench. My feet drape over Cielen's lap. We'd been walking around all day and right now everything hurt.

"So, where do you want to go to dinner?" Cielen asks, setting his hands on top of my shins.

I frown at him. "I can't keep letting you treat me like this." I say. "We can have cup noodles back at the hotel."

Now it's Cielen's turn to frown. "No way." He says. "Let me take you somewhere nice...."

I sit up suddenly. "I can't let you spend your hard earned money on me, Cielen. Your family..."

"My sister is dead." He says. He's looking towards the door again and his eyes are full of tears. "The least I can do is something nice for you. With her gone my mom will be able to pay her own bills. She won't have to stay home and take care of my sister 24/7 anymore. I've been wanting to help you out ever since you told me about Aaiinn." Cielen blinks rapidly, his eyes clear again. "For the last four years I've worked with one goal in mind, sending all my money to my mom in hopes that it would help. But that's over now."

"I just don't want to be a burden to you." I say, my voice only a little louder in the birds above us.

"Merienge..." Cielen says my name all at once. He's still staring at the double doors ahead. I pull my legs off him, suddenly self-conscious. "You could never be a burden to me. I want to help you. I want someone, at least, to have an happy ending."

I want to cry with those words. I wonder if in the great scheme of things his sister had died in order that I might live.

"Are you falling in love with me?" I ask.

Cielen turns towards me suddenly, his eyes wide.

"What kind of question is that?!" He exclaims, crossing his arms.

"Are you. Falling. In love. With me." I ask again. "Is that why you came here when you should probably be home with your mom at your sister's funeral?"

Cielen's eyes go black. I realize I've just insulted him.

"You asked me that a long time ago." He says.

"Well, you took care of me. In the wilderness."

"I just did what I would want any man to do for my sister. I thought of you like a sister."

"Thought?" I say, raising one eyebrow.

"Think." He says. "I think of you like a sister. And I want to help because I can. You are my friend, Merienge. Not every man who tries to be nice to you is falling in love with you. I know your heart rests with Aainn, and I would never try to come between that."

"Plus," he says, winking at me, "I'm not the one that tried to start something between us."

I freeze. "You promised you'd never mention that again." I say.

He looks thoughtful. "I know." He says, "But I've always wondered. All this time you accuse me of falling in love with you, or being inappropriate--but you are the one who tried to kiss me. I've wanted to ask you why for awhile."

I can feel my skin heating up, my face turning red. I turn away and fidget with my bag, unsure of what to say.

"It was dark...we were both in the tent..."

"Yes, yes, you don't have to remind me." Says Cielen.

"And I was so grateful to you. I mean, you'd practically saved my life, getting me to eat again...I couldn't think of anything I could do to repay you."

Cielen's playful demeanor changes suddenly. His lips are pressed in a thin line, his eyes piercing, searching. He grabs my arms. 

"Merienge. No matter what someone does for you--no one, and I mean no one has rights to your body. Your body is not repayment." 

I stare at him, feeling my heart throbbing in my chest, hearing his words over and over again. "Just because I helped you does not mean I deserve anything. I helped you because you were broken, Merienge. Because you needed someone. Not to get in your pants."

He releases me suddenly, and I fall back against the handrest.

"Part of me just wanted to feel something again." I whisper.

"I know," Says Cielen. "And that's why I stopped you. You weren't ready. You needed a friend. And to be completely honest I wasn't the least bit attracted to you. First of all you were always moody and cross. I could tell there was something in your past that had deeply affected you, and you were letting it rule you. But most of all I could see that you were just looking for someone to tell you what to do, where to go. Someone to cover up the pain in your heart. What you clearly didn't need was something else to complicate the situation. You needed to find some confidence--and you did find some. The forest has changed you. And your friendship has changed me."

I open my mouth, searching for words.

"And we are friends, Merienge. That's all I want to be. So stop reading between the lines and just let me take you out to dinner."

I nod. "Okay." I say, and Cielen smiles.

"And next week we'll rescue that love of yours, and we can all go exploring in the far reaches of the north..."

Click here for the next part.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Easy Tote Sewing Tutorial

As soon as I saw this fabric I knew it had to become a tote. I love the beautiful Japanese style blossoms and the burgundy color. (This fabric I found at Goodwill for $3). Thus, I turned it into a beautiful cross body bag one afternoon and of course I filmed a fun tutorial in case you ever want to make your own!

This tutorial is beginner level and all steps are shown. You will need two types of fabric, a heavy outside fabric, and a lighter liner fabric, as well as access to a sewing machine! Don't worry about how much fabric--in the video I show the shapes I make so you can literally make this any size you want. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Q & A #1

Hey guys! Here are my rather roundabout answers to all your questions! This was fun and I will most assuredly be doing another one.

You can click here to watch the video on my YouTube channel or press the play button below. 

Thank you to everyone who asked questions! The three I know who have blogs are Kelly, Kristin, and Heidi (link goes to her book). Have a great day!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Gender Roles and Christianity

I'm a fairly new christian who was raised in a very fundamentalist Christan church. The concept of gender roles in regards to myself is a subject I've just began to grasp on a 101 level.

Last year I wrote a blog post about the things I learned in my first year of marriage. It wasn't rocket science, I mean--I'd only been married for one year. However, in the comments one of my friends said my list made her laugh because of the stereotypical gender roles/expectations included in my post. And yes, I have been stewing over that comment for over a year. It made me think. In a good and bad ways.

Today I set down to begin brainstorming for my second year post. I want to do one every year, so in 50 years I can go back see how my marriage has (hopefully) grown. My second year of marriage is coming to a close soon. And rereading my old post got me thinking about gender roles.

I first thought about her comment. Does my marriage fall under the umbrella of stereotypical gender roles? Sometimes. Do my husband and I run our marriage because we believe these rules are rigid and we must conform? Not at all. We operate our marriage because it works for us. From the beginning my husband and I have been really open with what we both want. We are both very happy with how our marriage is working "behind the scenes" in terms of finances and chores. I am lucky to marry a man who has, more or less, the same idea of what I should be doing in our marriage that I do.

That brings me to my next thought. Is having a stereotypical marriage a bad thing? Not for me. Not for my husband. But I think the idea is more because we choose these things and less about social norms or fundamentalist pressures. And the things I learned in marriage were simply that-- things I learned. They were not meant to preach to anyone else, they are just simply a list of revelations I had about marriage after one year. Maybe they spoke to you, maybe they didn't.

But wait, I'm not done. This further got me thinking about gender roles in a broad sense. You see, I did grow up being told "men are this way" and "women are this way". And this kind of thinking has caused some problems in my marriage.

I've learned that I didn't marry a man. I married Brian. Brian is male, but he is not his maleness. I realized that when I treat Brian like my idea of what a male thinks/ does, we have problems. Instead of looking at my husband as a person, sometimes I look at him though my "male-perception" glasses.

Let me explain. Think of every stereotype you've heard about a male: that they have a higher sex drive, that they like sports, that they stare at women, that they struggle with lust, that they hate "girl" talk, that they like bacon and rugged things (just to name a few). These things are preached from many pulpits as truth and as marriage "medicine": if you only gave him more sex, if only his secretary wasn't wearing that short skirt, if only you could cook, if only you didn't talk so much...

When I start to treat my husband like a "man" is when we have trouble. For example, one time I made a date with a friend to see what I considered a "girl" movie, only to find out that my husband was a little peeved because he had actually wanted to see that movie with me. For a deeper example, I am always fearful my husband is starting at other women. Much to the point of where I often question him about where his gaze is wandering when there happens to be a particularly attractive young lady in our vicinity. It took me awhile to realize that it was wrong to question my husband in this manner--(he is quick to notice cars, but not females he tells me) but it took me even longer to realize I was treating my husband as if he would be a very specific type of person because he was a man.

And that is what I mean about gender roles. I married Brian as Carolynn. We are a man and a women, yes, but our wants-needs-desires are our own. It would be to simple to compartmentalize us and view only a male and a female. I need to learn what Brian wants, not simply give him what I think (or was told) a man needs.

And I suppose that is also the biggest thing I've learned this year about marriage.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Day Four: Day

This is part of my novel, "What Losing You Did to Me". To start at the beginning, click here. Right now a new section of my book posts every week.

The sunlight is streaming through my window and I can smell bacon. I crack open my eyes and throw my covers back to find Cielen standing over me with a tray of traditional breakfast items.

"Ugh." I say, and close my eyes again.

"I'm sorry for waking you up last night in the middle of your sleep cycle." Cielen says, lowering the tray. The bacon smell intensifies.

"That's okay." I mumble. I should be used to waking up early. Sleeping in a bed has really changed me. Next month when I return north...if I return north...camping is going to take some getting used to. All over again.

I slowly open my eyes again to find a tray of bacon, eggs, pancakes, yogurt and juice perched next to me on my bed. My mouth waters. I am hungry.

"So, whats the plan for today?" Cielen asks as I eat.

"Today I plan on doing some more scouting on campus." I say. "Tomorrow there is a party I want to go to."

"A party?" Cielen asks. I look at him and notice an empty tray next to the couch. "I already ate. And I disabled your door spell, sorry."

I smirk. "It was probably easy for you since it's the same trip magie I was using in the woods." I say. He nods.

I start to chew on my last piece of bacon. "The party is one I think Aainn's sister will be at. I want to talk to her, if possible." 

"Mmmmm." Cielen says. "You know, I really am sorry for showing up unannounced."

I roll my eyes at him. "Get over yourself." I say. "I mean, it's not like there as any way you could have let me know."

I want to tell him that having someone to talk to is already making me feel less alone, but I don't have the words. He probably knows anyway.

"I am glad you are here." I say, finally. "We work well together." Now it's his turn to smile. "And I really am sorry about your sister. I really wanted to meet her one day."

His eyes meet mine and I see his smile waver.  

Cielen looks down at his hands.  "I'll let you get ready." He says, standing. "I'll be in the lobby."

And with that he exists the room, closing the door behind him.


After a good shower and a change of clothes I find Cielen in the lobby speaking to a hotel official. I catch the word "wedding".

"There you are!" Cielen says. He gives me a weird look.

The hotel official smiles at me. "Thanks for the information." Cielen says, nodding to him. He takes my arm. "Off we go!"

Once the hotel doors swish behind us I start to turn towards campus, but Cielen pulls me towards the mall.

"You aren't wearing your guise." He hisses at me. "And I just described my fiance as having blond hair...."

I stiffen. I'd forgotten to glimmer-spell myself! What was wrong with me?

I hurriedly duck behind a tree, muttering my enchantments. Seconds later, I'm blond and wearing a tea dress. Cielen doesn't recognize me until I almost walk into him.

"Very pretty." He says. "Blond suits you. So does that pale skin." I pinch him. Aainn always liked my olive skin and my brown hair, and I know Cielen does too.

"You are such a tease." I say, wanting to point out his dark skin.

"I know. You actually look like a girl I went to school with." He says. "She was so stuck up. One time I asked her on a date and do you know what she said?"

"No, I don't think you've told me this story before." I say.

"Well, she was very fair skinned and blond. But her parents were rich, and you know mine weren't--she actually said I had to date someone of my own class."

"That's sad. She missed out on dating an amazing guy like you." I say.

Cielen laughs. "I know."

"Besides Aainn's family, I've had very little dealing with rich people." I say, thinking. "At the orphanage everyone was the same, unless you had magie, of course." Growing up all the adults had treated me very special because of my magic abilities. I'd had to live alone in a separate building and I had received outside tutoring. The other girls had avoided me. I always wondered if it was because they envied me or if they thought I was stuck up. Going to college at 16 had literally put the whole world at my fingertips.

"I thought you said you went to a private religious school?" I ask Cielen as we walk towards campus.

"I did," he says. "My IQ was so high I got a special scholarship. But I had to sign a contract that said after my schooling was completed I would work five years for KI."

I remember the rest of this story. Cielen had been all to happy to sign up for that, as his sister had just been diagnosed and he knew he could make good money working there. It was later he found out they were one of two companies researching Panloinis.

"So, what are we doing today." We are standing on the edge of campus and I don't feel the least amount of fear. We are going to rescue Aainn.

"I thought I would start out by showing you some of my favorite places around campus." I say. For the first time I can think about this campus and not want to run away. I'm almost fond of it.

"Do we need to be looking for a certain person?" Cielen asks.

"No," I say. "I know where he will be next Wednesday, and that's when I plan on springing my trap."

Cielen nods. "Lets just get me familiar with this place, then."

My heart feels full as I step across the sidewalk, my feet aimed towards the library. Cielen takes my hand and I give him a good squeeze.

Not all hope is lost after all.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014


I am an unstoppable storm of creative ingenuity. I love to walk along the confines of my mind and pull pieces of myself out to show to the world.

I am alive. Sometimes I forget that. I forget to dig deep and keep becoming. I get lost in repetition and tradition, hours after hours of folding laundry and making small noises in the wake of a passing storm, like my little voice does not matter.

It's not like anyone reminds me that it does matter. Every day the news keeps on screaming and scheming and Hollywood's lost in diets and fashion, to money hungry to be still and listen. Thus, in many ways I'm alone, in a bubble buffeted by thin images dreaming my own dreams where maybe I'll eventually like myself. For myself.

Usually I fall back on what I do know. I'm me and nobody else, and although others impact my story I'm the only one writing it. Even if I've never felt that fascinating fear of the "one that grew too old" like a cold warrior done with play locked forever behind expectations and distrust; I'm still here and kicking, moving, and sometimes focusing on this is enough. But when it's not the world crumbles and leaves me just old and gone, like a thing once amused but now used up.

I want to be free in a way I've never been before.

With Christ I'm more alive then I ever was, knowing myself and dreaming of creating all the plans He has for me. I'm learning more and more every day that a moment without Him is a moment I don't want. Ever. But still the lies breed on in this world we've created with first world problems where everyone has learned to put themselves first and promote their own agenda. If you don't agree you might be hated, but to change would be to compromise your own reflections.

And I still wonder why all the hurt and pain. Why all the lies and self-preservation? What is it all worth in the end, this drive to be better, stronger and higher? It's all empty. Better to be still and listen. Sure at the top you can see the farthest, but at what cost?

The best life is one that has loved others, I think. But those are just my small words in all the noise. Not to be remembered, because you've got Gucci shoes on your mind and perhaps a shopping spree to buy more pieces of fabric to clothe your aging body. Perhaps a different print will disguise you enough, take away your humanity and replace it with lust. Because everyone needs more things.

The need for more cripples me, it leave me thirsty and hungry--always reaching beyond my grasp to take from others like a dragon with his horde of plunder. I need it, it's mine, to add to my box I call a home that is empty of life but full of all these plastic things that for a time bring me small comfort if only I give in. They say "you won't suffer here; among your electronic pleasures all your troubles will disappear" So I listen and exchange money for a lie and friendship for a black box that shines.

If you're reaching for the top at the envy of all, think about your motives. You might want to stop. It matters not one jot or tittle how the world perceives you--that can turn on a dime. It matters most what you do. So breathe and relax, find your cornerstone and build your foundations. But not for yourself. And not with height in mind.

Instead build with curiosity. Build with love towards the clay in your hands and let your feet wander without regard to falling--be safe, but don't live in terror of breaking a few expectations. Know that you are free to dream and build. Even if naught can be seen of your toil with the naked eye.

After all maybe one day at 25 you'll stop and learn that sometimes the building can change the world. But often, it's the process that has changed the builder. And that is more important.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Day 4: Dreams

This is part of my novel, "What Losing You Did to Me". To start at the beginning, click here. Right now a new section of my book posts every week.

Cielen is snoring from the couch, one of my cast-off blankets wrapped around him.

I'm awake and can't sleep. It feels like everything is moving inside me. I'm too unsettled to lay down.

I'm remembering a time when I first met Cielen. It was about a month into our partnership, and we were on our second outing, way up north where snow peppered the ground each night and melted by noon the next day only to return as son as we would stop to make camp.

It's hard to think about who I was then. I was living for the job. I couldn't see the beauty in it, and I hated myself for leaving Aainn. I barely talked to Cielen.

Over the course of that year there were several times where Cielen saved our lives in the wilderness. There were many times I myself had saved our lives. But in those first two months I was more reckless than I should have been. I was angry and short tempered and upset.

And Cielen just kept right on going. It's not like I gave him much choice. The first week we met he had tried to talk to me, but he'd learned really quickly that my noncommittal noises were best translated as not interested, go away. Until one night. I'd guess he'd had enough of my sour attitude.

I had barely picked at my food (again) and was busy staring into the campfire, my knees held to my chest, hating myself. The intensity to which I hated myself scared me. I didn't know what to do. I was drowning, but I couldn't voice this. I just remember trying to kill myself from the inside out. Trying so hard to remove the feeling parts of me because I couldn't function with a bleeding heart.

Cielen sat beside me, something he hadn't tried to do in awhile. He'd left me alone for about two weeks, issuing commands and keeping our relationship strictly business. I knew somewhere behind all my walls that he wanted to be friends. I just didn't know how. I felt those doors, once opened, would let something loose inside me that I'd never be able to recover.

"Merienge." He said, briefly touching my shoulder. "We need to talk."

I ignored him.

"If you don't talk to me I am taking you back to KI tomorrow." He said to my back. I ripped my eyes from the fire in front of me and slowly turned to face him.


He regarded me for several seconds.

"Listen, I know we haven't gotten off on the best start. And I don't care about your past, I'm not interested in hearing your secrets. But you have to stop punishing yourself for whatever happened."

If I had been capable of anything more then frozen emotion at that point, I think my mouth would have fallen open. I just stared at him.

"I've noticed in these past few weeks how little you eat, Merienge. You've lost a lot of weight. I don't know what you are dealing with...but you are starting to be more of a liability to me here then a help. Yesterday you almost walked right into a fire ant tree. This could have killed both of us."

I don't want to think he's right. I look down at my toes.

"We need to work together. We need to be a team."

I know he's right about that one. But have I really lost a lot of weight? Have I really not been eating? I'd known for a long time that stress affects my ability to function normally-- first at the orphanage where I'd retreated to books and second due to the miscarriage Aainn and I suffered. Both those times I'd been very depressed. But not like this. I knew this was worse. But I didn't know how to reach out.

Cielen cleared his throat. "If you want to keep traveling with me you need to eat three meals a day. I'm going to help make sure you are receiving proper nutrition. This should help stabilize your hormones and help clear your head. Then perhaps you can work through whatever is bothering you."

Cielen told me later he thought I was trying to starve myself. Maybe subconsciously I was.

That day was a turning point. I started eating, first to keep my job and then to live. Cielen taught me to laugh again, to see beauty in the forest around me. I opened up slowly, carefully, finally sharing what had happened to me and Aainn one night when the snow was cold and Cielen and I were snuggled close for warmth and survival. It was then I began to trust him.

And I really do think he saved my life, because by the time we got back to KI two weeks later with our specimens, I only weighed 102 pounds.

Click here for the next part.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Except Me

Everyone seems to know what they are doing except me.

Did I miss a memo? An E-mail? A large florescent sign with an arrow?

Okay, okay, I'm sure there are others who are lost. No one has it all together all the time.

But I feel so strange. I wonder a lot if my life would look any different if I were more sold out to Christ. I wonder if I'm playing to much in the world or if I'm doing His will. I wonder why I have such drives and dreams and excitement over...knitting hats. How can I use knitting to show how much I love God? Does God care that a ball of rainbow colored yarn makes me swoon?

I don't know. But I still dream.

I mean, I know there is nothing new under the sun. But I make commitments.  I live to please. I Get It Done. I plan the next thing. My calender is full and then I forget to meditate on Him.

But He is all there is. He is all there should be on my horizon. There is nothing more important than giving my life to Him every day without fail.

I don't think I'll ever have all the answers but I know who I want to be my compass. And my boat. And the oarsman. And the sun, sea and sky.

Dear Lord, I really pray You will make me more like Yourself. I want to know You. I just lack motivation sometimes. And I am learning that I'm not that good at compartmentalizing my time.

*This post was brought to you by I Might Be Doing To Much and has been extensively edited by Mr. Anxiety. If you need me I'll be trying to get all my ducks in a row while probably writing really weird stream of consciousness blog posts. Bye!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Q & A

Hey guys! I wanted to do a little Q&A. Leave me a question in the comment box below and next Saturday I will answer it in a Q&A video. You can leave anonymous questions as well. This should be fun-- is there anything you want to know about me?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Fall Fashion

I attempted to make a fashion video! It was kinda hard to film myself and find different places around my house to pose at without getting repetitive. Also, I had so many ideas but seemed to run out somewhere near the end of the video, hah. But here are my four fall outfits I plan on wearing this season.

Outfit number two is my favorite. I just love lace tights and slouchy hats! And I certainly learned a ton about filming. For example, whenever I do my next fashion video I definitely need to move slower. And hold a pose a lot longer!

What's your favorite thing you are looking forward to this fall?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Day 4: Cielen

This is part of my novel, "What Losing You Did to Me". To start at the beginning, click here. Right now a new section of my book posts every week.

Wow, I'm sore. I feel like I've run a mile and done a bunch of crunches. Then my eyes open, and I blink in the midnight darkness, my ears ringing and my limbs hopelessly tangled in the bedsheets. I've always been a rough sleeper but the last few nights have been particularly taxing.

Someone is banging on my door. That must be what woke me. I hear the muffled sound of my name through the metal. What is going on?

Slowly I ease out of bed, a lone blanket refusing to give up its claim on my foot. It drags across the floor as I make my way to the door. Though the peephole I glimpse Cielen's dark face bent low in the bright hallway light. He bangs again. I groggily pick at my eye, trying to get some of the gunk out, rubbing my hands over my face in hopes of waking myself up more. Blinking with wide-awake-sleepiness, I remove the door stopper and then briefly pause to unravel the magie alarm I'd set up a few days ago.

I crack the door.

"What. Are. You doing here." I mutter, staring at him. I'm surprised to hear my voice come out so slow. Sleep affects the body in weird ways, I guess.

He pauses, like trying to remember his reason.

"Merienge." He says, and is voice breaks. My heart starts pounding faster for some reason, and I realize something is very, very, wrong.

"My sister died yesterday." He finally says. His eyes meet mine and I can see some of my pain mirrored in his face.

The shock of seeing Cielen hurt leaves me speechless. He's always been the one to hold us together in the wilderness. He was a pivotal point in my healing process. Without him I don't think I would ever have had the courage to return and find Aainn. I'd probably be dead. Or worse.

I open the door wider, and he steps in soundlessly. Yet from his words both of us are breaking, breaking, breaking. I relock the door and reset my magie trap with half a thought.

He sits on the bed.

"I should have come with you from the beginning." He starts out, but I stop him.

"No." I say. "I know you had to keep working to provide for your family. Your sisters' medical care is...was...very expensive."

"This is a nice hotel." He says. He glances around, his eyes lingering on my half-eaten cup of ramen noodles from yesterday, old and dry. He looks at me, and I know what he is thinking. I look away.

"Yes, it's nice." I say, trying to change the subject.

"Merienge..." He says.

"Don't start. I have it under control." My words sound more bitter then I thought they would.

Cielen sighs, and lays back on the bed, his arms spread wide. He looks no different then he had 5 days ago when I'd left him at KI Pharmaceuticals to head down here. His black hair and dark skin contrasts the white of my tangled bedsheets even in the dim night light.

"I came to help, you know." He says.

"I know." For a second I pause, trying to reconfigure plans, to work Cielen into the picture. "And part of me is glad you are here. Aainn's family does not know you. You'll be a great help to me."

My response sounds wooden, but actually he will be a great help. He is as skilled with magie as I am. But more then that he knows me. He's only been here a few minutes and he already noticed I was starting to fall apart. I'm surprised to find I missed him. Right now he truly is the only friend I have.

He sits up suddenly at the mention of Aainn. "Did you find him?'

"Yes." I say, and I know he can hear the pain in my voice that I'm trying to hide. Suddenly I want to be alone.

"I'm glad. So whats next?" Cielen's eyes meet mine with determination.

"Capturing him. Next week." 

"I'll help." He says. I smile. I know my smile does not meet my eyes, but it's the best I can offer.

"Okay." I say.

His worried face meets mine again. "You've changed." He says. "Your like the Merienge I met 11 months ago."

I don't know what to say to that. It's true. I'm letting everything in and I'm controlling nothing. But I don't know how to stop. After I rescue Aainn I'll have time to fix myself again.

I shiver.

"It's not your fault, you know."

My face is suddenly hot. Not my fault? I'd left Aainn chained to his grandfather like a coward and run in fear from him. Then I'd enjoyed myself for a whole year trying to forget about him.

The guilt is a pulsing, pounding reality across my whole body.

I know that the circumstances were not my fault. But I should have been more wary. I should have known.

"You said that last time." I say.

"Yeah, and it's still true."

I'm not sure I believe him anymore.

Click here for the next part. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Gypsy Scarf Crochet Tutorial

I crochet this amazing gypsy scarf as a consignment piece for a local shop I am putting my items in (totally nervous about this, by the way). I love it!

If you know how to crochet and are interested in a tutorial; here is how I made this. It takes 340 yards of bulky thick-thin yarn and a size 6.5 mm crochet hook. I modified a stitch pattern to create it.

I used 120 yards of dark brown and 220 yards of light tan to create this scarf by running the colors up the side. You most certainly can make this scarf in one, two, or even more colors. I'm working on a purple one as we speak. Also, please leave me a picture if you happen to create it and/or link up with the Ravelry pattern so I can see your work!

  • Tr: Triple Crochet
  • Dc: Double Crochet
  • Sc: Single Crochet
  • Ch: Chain
  • Sk: Skip

The Pattern
  • Chain 122 stitches. Pattern is done in multiples of 4 sts plus 2 if you want a different size.

Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook *ch 3, sk next 3 ch, sc in next ch (4th); repeat from * across, turn

Row 2: Ch 4. (Tr, 2 dc in center of this last Tr, ch 1) in each ch-3 loop across to within last ch-3 loop.  Tr in last ch-3 loop, 2 dc in center of this last Tr, tr in last sc, turn.

Row 3: Ch 1, sc in first tr, (ch 3, sc) in each ch-1 space across, ending with last sc in 4th ch of turning ch, turn.

  • Repeat rows 2-3 11 times ending on a row 2 before working the finishing three rows below

Finishing Row 1: Ch 1, sc in first tr, (ch 2, sc) in each ch-1 space across, ending with last sc in 4th ch of turning ch, turn.

Finishing Row 2: Ch 4. (Tr, 2 dc in center of this last Tr) in each ch-2 loop across to within last ch-2 loop.  Tr in last ch-2 loop, 2 dc in center of this last Tr, tr in last sc, turn.

Finishing Row 3: Ch 1, sc in first tr, (ch 1, sc) in each space between the tr and two dc across, ending with last sc in 4th ch of turning ch, turn.

  • Now, seam up scarf and weave in all ends. 

Style and wear and don't forget to make one for a friend! I would love to see pictures if you happen to make this. Also, please feel free to sell or gift any item made using this tutorial.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Writing Process

I was tagged by Brita to blog about my writing process. Thank you Brita, I love your blog and reading about Columbus really makes me want to come back for a second visit.

  • What Am I Working On?

Right now I am working on To Many Things (hence why nothing really is getting done right now besides my anxiety...) I blog and am currently writing a novel on my blog as well called What Losing You Did To Me. I try to post a chapter or two of that every week. Writing a book is perhaps one of the most stressful things I've ever attempted to do. I will finish this book and I honestly don't think I'll do it again.

I also write knitting and crochet patterns for a living right now. Every month I try and publish one free pattern and one paid pattern to my shop. If you knit or crochet, you can find my patterns on Ravelry.

  • How does my work differ from others of its type/genre?

This question is kind of hard. I just love to create things. I don't know what is different about my work. I suppose it's because these things are created by me, not someone else. As for blogging, I love telling my story--and I'm not afraid to talk about my faults and shortcomings as well. I want people who read my blog to see the full picture of who I am. I have an interesting background, a good mind, poor spelling, and I love to meet and interact with people. My work is different because I am a unique person--in a pool of others, yes, but with my own eyes and my own voice.

  • Why do I write what I do?

I write stories because they keep me up at night with their tales and I feel I would do them a great disservice to keep it all bottled up where no one else can experience the world within my world. I write knitting patterns because I hope to one day operate a successful pattern company and help people make neat things. And also because these ideas come to me. I will dream of new things to knit the night before and I have a list a mile long to complete. I wish my hands were faster.

And I blog now because my story is important. As a women, whose voice can be lost in a world that has long been man-dominated. As a Christian woman who lives in a world where people understand less and less of what we believe and stand for, causing a lot of misplaced hatred to arise. There is so much out there about Christians that is so false. It is very sad when those who are ill informed bare grudges against Christians. I want to change that, at least a little bit. (And truth, many do horrid acts in the name of "Christianity"--this is even sadder...)

But mostly I just write because I am driven to. This is my 800th post.

  • How does my writing process work?

Well, if you can ever figure out how this thing operates please let me know, because I have no clue. It just works sometimes but other times I have to think really hard and each word takes a lot of effort. And many days the words won't come at all and I get scared they will never come again.

Thank you Britta for tagging me! This was an soothing and introspective blog post to write. If anyone else wants to answer the questions please do so. You are supposed to 3 tag people who then are to answer the above questions and link back to whoever tagged them. If I could I would tag Breenah (lifestyle blogger whose curly short hair I adore) ModaMama (fashion blogger and silly storyteller) and Sew Technicolor (vintage film lover and fellow yarn enthusiast). But you guys don't have to do this, just if you want too...or are in the mood!

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