Curtain Close. Take a Bow. Spring Semester’s over now!

Done. And considering my sweet little complication this semester, I think I did a pretty good job.

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Not that I’m taking sole credit for that. My husband ran me back and forth to every class, my mother-in-law encouraged me and proofread my writing, most of my professors were sweet and sympathetic to the challenges I had this year, and God held me up and gave me just enough strength to get through it.

But it’s over! *sighs long relieved sigh of relief* Next is the part where I chill, read, and write while I prepare for…THE ORDEAL! *DUN DUN DUUUUUUUNNNNN*

In all honesty, I try not to think too much about labor. That doesn’t stop me from occasionally laying awake at night, thinking to myself that, one way or another, this little person has to come out of me. I have a few girlfriends with children who have been super encouraging, but they are the few. Can anyone tell me the rationale behind the many and the bold negativity freaks who sneak attack you with horror stories about childbirth?

They lurk behind soup cans in the supermarket: *cans clatter to the floor as they shove their red faces forward* OHMYGWALLYMOSES! I just read about this woman who gave birth in her car! IN HER CAR! Can you believe it? Never even MADE it to the hospital.

They hover beside you in the library: *in a stage whisper* Oh! I thought you were due in June. Well, August is nice too. *snorts prematurely at the hilarity of their next comment* Only you’ll have to go through the heat of the summer. The WHOLE THING.

They spontaneously pop into being, uncaused, from nothing while you’re clipping your toenails: You’re due when? How can you BE so YUUUUUGE? *sees husband working at computer* Is THAT the father? Oooooooh! *nods knowingly with a wry smile* That’s why you’re so big. That baby is going to be a 12 pounder. *pats my belly* Good luck pushing that monstrosity out of your…

Don’t they think about the fact that I might already be concerned about some of these things? I mean, am I the only pregnant woman who wonders what she’ll do if she wakes up to find out she’s one of those wacko’s that sleeps through labor only to meet her baby, blinking up at her between the sheets. Or that labor will be the excruciating horror that all these lurkers warn me about, and my heart will just give out entirely during it. And yes, I also worry that my husband’s hearty viking ancestry has placed the heir of Thor into my womb, complete with pink Mjölnir. It’s my first. It’s all unknown. That’s freaky on it’s own. And most lurkers appear to be women with children. If they’ve already been there, don’t they know to shut up?

Lurkers aside, I’m just trying to enjoy this for what it is. Labor is inevitable now, but in a way, I’m looking forward to it too. I mean, after THE ORDEAL I get to kiss my little girl’s face. I also get to watch my husband kiss her face. I’m pretty sure both those things will make it worth it.

*lurker pokes head in through bedroom window, waggling a finger* Not if you’re… *sound of flamethrower and terrified screams drown out the rest of their sentence*

So, if you need me for the next few months, I intend to be curled up with my growing baby belly. We will be reading lots of books, drinking gallons of water, and trying to do a complete rewrite of Immortal Bond  before tiny persons and William Paterson eat up all my leisure time.

*weak voice floats from garden below broken window* Yeah, and you’ll never sleep again either.

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NOTE TO READERS: This blog has a zero tolerance policy on pregnancy lurkers and their snarky negativity. Any and all pregnancy lurker comments found in the comment section will be moderated by the delete button and a flamethrower. You have been thusly warned.

Perfect Timing

While my pregnancy was a planned pregnancy, it was still a shock to me. I just figured it wouldn’t happen when it did, and while it’s still overwhelming at times, it’s become just another one of those times in my life where I can see how perfect God’s plans are when we submit to his will.

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17 weeks

First: My Crazy First Trimester

I mean, I was sick for my first pregnancy, but all these people kept saying to me that what I was feeling “wasn’t normal.” Since they never specified what part of it was so abnormal, I guess I just assumed that a heathy baby would be less horrible to carry. As wrong as I was, the miracle of it all was the impeccable timing of my bedridden stage. My morning sickness began the week of finals, but most of my finals were papers I’d already drafted and merely needed to hand in. After that I had the entirety of winter break to do nothing but rest and vomit.

Second: Returning to school

The oncoming spring semester was looming in the background like the malevolent flaming eye of Sauron. Every day that I spent laying in bed, incapable of anything more than watching Shawn the Sheep, the soft voice of anxiety whispered, “And how do you think you’re going to manage that?”

My early religious education emphasized the idea that once you’re a wife or mother the Bible allows for you to be nothing else. I’ve come to believe this as not accurate Biblical teaching, but I wrestled with what I was supposed to do next. Was God trying to tell me through illness that being a wife and mother was all he wanted from me?

No longer wishing to blindly follow the teaching from my youth, I prayed that God would make it clear what he wanted from me: finish my degree or quit for the baby. Maybe he’d let me finish my degree later, who knew? Only Him, and I just needed to know clearly what step to take next, one semester at a time.

There were so many times when I was leaning over the toilet bowl with Tim rubbing my back when I’d gasp out the words, “I think I should drop all my classes.” Tim, ever patient, ever wise, always said, “Just wait and see. There’s still time. Just wait.”

I waited. I saw. God provided me just the right amount of miraculous strength I needed to get to every class. Even the week before my first day I was too sick to go, but despite the fact I was still throwing up to and from school, and napping on a foam mattress between my classes, I have remained on my 15 credit class schedule.

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And Tim? Well, who could expect him to be anything but my guardian angel. He walked me to all my classes, carried my books, and for several weeks sat right outside the door to my class in case I needed any help, even though it made his butt fall asleep. Speaking of blessings from God, let’s not forget the man I wake up next to every morning. Him. Always. ❤

Third: The Due Date

The baby is due August 18, 2017. Even if I go late, I will still give birth this summer, before classes can start for next semester.

Fourth: Online Classes

One night, just out of curiosity, I looked over my degree evaluation at WPU to see what else I needed to graduate on time. The idea of returning to school with a two week old infant in tow is daunting, even if your husband doesn’t mind looking after him while you’re in class. I worried if it would even be healthy for the little one.

As I looked through what I needed to graduate, I saw a lot of online courses being offered. I grabbed a notepad and began to jot down courses. Soon, I had over 7 online course options I could take in the fall, all of which were perfect for keeping me on track to graduate Spring of 2018. I now fully believe that God will allow me to take most if not all of my courses online for my first semester after giving birth. My heart nearly burst with thanksgiving for this.

Fifth: Our Living Situation

I’ve never really been in close contact to infants before, except for bits of exposure during my time working the nursery at church. Basically, I’m terrified, and given my penchant for panic attacks and overreacting due to my struggle with anxiety disorder, I know that I’ll be as neurotic as any three new mothers locked in a dark tight space for 48 hours.

First on the emergency contact list will (of course) be my dear husband, eldest of 7 and widely recognized “baby hog.” His relatives know that when they bring their little one into the room, my husband will make puppy eyes at whomever is holding the baby until somebody lets him settle down with the little one so he can snuggle and play with it.

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Timmy with our nephew Emmett

But if even he should fail to calm me and the infant (both of us probably screaming), we will still be living with his mother, grandmother of my child and veteran parent of 7 children. Honestly, watching my husband’s parents raise the two little ones at home (6yrs and 10yrs) has grown me tremendously. Their grace and patience is something I pray I’ll have in my parenting, and it is truly a privilege to watch. If I could be half the mother Mrs. Svendsen is, my children will never suffer for love and acceptance, the two things I found most lacking in my own childhood.

I will have one full year under her roof, blessed by her wisdom and tutelage before my husband and I pack up and move across the country for him to complete his seminary training.

There is too much perfection in all the timing of this baby for me not to step back, look up and say, “Thank you Lord. Thank you so much.” ❤

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Breakthrough

Since starting school, I’ve had little time to work on my personal writing (or breathe either, when it comes down to it), but my characters and novels are never far from my thoughts. I miss them. I’ve spent the last three years pouring my life into them and it feels like someone viciously stripped me of half myself.

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So it was no surprise when, on the way home from school the other day, I began to talk to my husband about a problem I’ve had with “Through This Darkness” for over a year.

I know the first chapter sucks. I’ve KNOWN the first chapter sucks. I was just hoping that someone would tell me how or give me some suggestions on it.

I’ve given a lot of people opportunity. I’ve handed out over 10 copies of my manuscript to friends and family. All the people who read it had something insightful to say, but most of them have said nothing. I waited for a while, but at this point some of them have had their copy for over a year. Now I just assume they hate it so much they’re afraid telling me will permanently damage our relationship.

This assumption has led me to pick, prod, cut, and cull my manuscript in a desperate search for flaws. Good news is I’ve found many. Good news is I’ve solved many. (Bad news is there is all these crappy copies of my manuscript floating around out there. I lose sleep over that…if you read this and you have one, please, just burn it.) The most glaring problem in my mind was still the first chapter, the hook, the thing that will make or break potential agents, publishers, and readers. With nothing else to go on, I figure the majority of the people I’ve given it too can’t even get past the crappiness of those first five pages to finish my story.

I’ve been whining and groaning about it to my husband for a while, just wishing someone who knew would help me see what I can’t. Last Monday, my husband turned to me during one of my rants.

Him: “What would happen if you just deleted the first chapter and started at chapter two.”

The space after he said these words was not as long as it felt. It felt like I had time to watch my entire universe explode and realign in perfect order. I said, very softly, “…sh*t…”

As the conversation developed, my husband and I came to the conclusion that this might be one of my hiccups as a writer, and why I struggle so much writing short stories; I just take too much time to set up a scene, instead of getting right into the action.

I’ve begun to comb through the chapter, searching for anything important I might need to squeak in later on. The rest of it *snaps fingers carelessly* gone! I’ve had to kill several chapters worth of darlings in this novel, but this? Nope, nuh-uh, sorry punk, ain’t gonna miss ya.

I’m hoping this change will not only be a huge leap forward for my novel, but my writing in general. And it’s all thanks to my brilliant, wise, patient, dearly beloved husband. I love you Buppy! ❤

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Crazy Summer 2016

This summer is going to be madness. I’m writing this post on the second day of June, and already I’m about to tear out my hair by the roots. Between doctor’s appointments, my brother’s wedding, and various other items under the vague category of “things,” Timothy and I have been running around like a horde of ants whose home was just squarshed by a massive foot.

Honestly, half of the madness might just be charged by emotion. These past three years have been hard. I’m still fighting through a lot in the depths of me, and what I really need is time with just Timothy and nobody else. I need time with MY family. OUR family. Just us.

I grab at that whenever I can. He referees soccer during the summer and fall, and I’ve been following him around toIMG_4129 all his games, just for the alone time in the car. Another plus is I’ve seen a lot of lovely New Jersey parks. One of them had one of the sweetest war memorial’s I’ve ever seen. It was understated, simplistic, and therefore twice as moving to walk through. And the sunsets! I’ve seen some of the most breathtaking sunsets from the passenger seat. Full palettes of color dropping over hills and mountains, and falling down along the highway as we drive home with his hand resting on my knee.

I’m looking forward to fall for multiple reasons. First being that the madness will be over. Second, I’ll be starting classes at William Paterson.

Being a the nerd that I am, I have already purchased two of my textbooks for fall. They both have bookmarks in them as I have also already begun to read them. I am hopeless.

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So, until fall, if I’m not around here or twitter or anywhere else but everywhere else, I’m going to be focusing my time on writing the needed edits for Through This Darkness and the rewrite of Immortal Bond. I don’t know how much time I’ll have for them come the beginning of classes, so I’m pushing hard to get as far as I can.

Lots to do in the next three months. Here’s hoping come September that I don’t find myself one fry short of a happy meal. *crosses fingers*

Guess What? I’m #WPAccepted!

I am going back to school in the fall.

Typing those words made my brain explode. So while I use one hand to clean up the viscera and such, I’ll tell you how it all went down.

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My schooling was random, perhaps a bit ill guided, so I now currently have a cosmetology license, an associate degree in music, and a certification in medical assisting. To one extent or another, all have been useful, the last two especially, as they allowed me to meet and marry my husband. The problem was that none of them suited my personality. Over the past three years, I learned so much about myself, what I love, what I hate, what I want to do for the rest of my life.

I want to write. I need to write. I love to write.

Now, I have been writing for the past three years. I have completed three novels, one of them I’m sending query letters for, so it isn’t as though I’m not writing, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that if I had actually pursued a degree in English, I could solidify literature and writing as my career even if my novels should never be published. Without a degree, the doors to any career path I would choose in this arena are locked tightly closed. Add to this, I’ve always regretted stopping my education at an associates. I found my feet turning once again in the direction of higher education.

The trees of campus were all blossoming.
The institution of choice is William Paterson University. I got accepted in April, and am now working hard to find scholarships and other cost saving measures for my classes starting in the fall. Right now, the plan is for me to go full-time with a heavy course load, since I have the time and space to do it.

My husband and I took a guided tour of campus. He’ll be riding with me as the drive is currently beyond my abilities. As soon as we stepped into their library and I smelled the bookish smell, I could see us both in there, him doing his online seminary classes, me pouring over books, looking up articles and writing essay after essay after essay. I laced my fingers through his and whispered, “Chewie, we’re home.”

I wish I could capture for you in a word or analogy, all this means for me. To be able to make my own choice of school and degree path, and to know with absolute certainty that this will be education I will want to use, not just something I’ll use out of necessity. I’m going to meet professors who will tear apart my writing and show me how to make it better. I’m going to be sitting in classes with other people who are just as madly in love with books and the written word as I am.

I am going to learn. I am going to grow. I am going to William Paterson.FullSizeRender