Storybrooke Has Thawed: My Take On Once Upon a Time Season 4A

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I'm going to take a fangirl moment here.  If you're not interested or hate spoilers, then please avert your eyes, close the tab, what have you.

Sunday night was the Winter Finale of Once Upon a Time.  Season 4-A is now over, and the entire Storybrooke Has Frozen Over" arc has ended.  As with any show, this arc has had its fans and its critics.  Some people thought that they jumped the shark by bringing in cash cow Frozen, especially since at times it seemed more time was spent with the guest characters than the regulars.  Some people have even thought this half of the season was completely pointless.  I don't, and I'll tell you why.

Regina and Robin
Everyone knows that Emma mucked things up between the Evil Queen and Robin Hood with she brought back Marion from the past in the Season 3 finale, "There's No Place Like Home," saving her from a being put to death by Regina.  Robin, a man who lives by a code of honor, initially chose to stay with his wife.  Then the Snow Queen froze her.  Regina spared Marian's life by ripping out her heart until they could heal her.  In the mean time, Robin chose Regina, who believes villains never get happy endings.  Once the Snow Queen was gone, they returned Marian's heart to her body, but the curse came back.  Regina had to once again say goodbye to her true love, because Robin and Roland took Marian past the town line, to where magic could no longer harm her.

Regina had the chance to turn completely around once again and revert back to her evil ways, but she didn't.  That's not who she is anymore, and I have to say I like her as a good guy with a snarky mouth.  She is one of the good guys now, and I can't wait to see what happens when the "Queens of Darkness" descend upon Storybrooke with Gold in 4B.  I have loved her growth.

Gold and Belle
Well, they're married, but I don't know anyone who didn't see things not ending well.  For all the growth Gold had in Seasons 2 and 3A after finding Neal, once Neal died he went back to his old ways.  Seriously, their marriage could not have started off on a worse foot.  He had already given Belle a fake dagger, causing her to think that he has trusted her with his power.  In reality he has killed Zelena (though no one misses her), and stolen Hook's heart to make him do his bidding in a power-play to relieve himself of his dagger and conquer the non-magical world.

Belle, Belle, Belle, Belle, Belle, Belle.  I spent each and every episode of 4A upset with her.  She has been too trusting, too naive, and too unlike how Belle should ever be in believing Rumple would give up power for her.  He wouldn't give it up for Bae, and he won't for her.  He has no plans to, even if getting what he wants included killing his grandson's mother.  Then, (duh, duh DUH!) in "Heroes and Villains" she finally gets a clue.  She finds the real dagger, stops Gold's nefarious plans, and orders him outside Storybrooke, where he has no power.  FINALLY I could yell, "Right on, Belle!  You go, girl!"  Unfortunately, I'm afraid she has just incurred Rumple's wrath on all of Storybrooke when he brings the Supremes the Queens of Darkness (Ursula, Maleficent, and Cruella) into town with him.

Emma and Elsa
No, this isn't about a romantic pairing.  Like the movie Frozen was about sisterly love, Season 4A of Once Upon a Time was greatly about the love between friends.  You have Emma Swan, who hasn't exactly had a great many friends in her life.  There was Neal, but he was her baby-daddy, not just her friend.  She and Mary Margaret were besties all throughout Season 1, but then the curse was broken, and Mary Margaret is Snow White, aka Emma's mom.  They have done their share of bonding and bickering but in the end, Snow is her mom.  She's always trying to impart the motherly advice she didn't get to give Emma all of her life.  At one point during the entire Neverland arc, Emma even told Snow and David that they're the same age.  They don't have any more life experience than she has.  The dynamic of that relationship has changed.  It's still a great relationship, but it's a mother/daughter thing now rather than just friends.

Since the Season 2 episode "Queen of Hearts," it's been obvious that Emma also wields light magic, as the product of true love.  Other than the fairies (which seem to have been wiped out by a Gold-controlled Hook recently), everyone else in Storybrooke with magic has dark magic.  Emma's pretty much alone in this.  She and Regina have sort of bonded as Regina has tried to teach her how to control it, but that's always a tenuous relationship.  So the truth is, Emma doesn't really understand her magic, nor how to control it.  Enter Elsa.

When Emma and Hook traveled into the past, not only did they bring back Marion, but they also brought back an urn containing non other than Queen Elsa of Arendelle.  Elsa begins a search to find her beloved sister, Anna.  In the process, she creates an ice wall all around Storeybrooke and loses control of her powers somewhat because she is afraid, and Anna isn't there to help her control them.

Emma discovers Elsa, and they get trapped inside in icy cave.  They bond over having powers they can't really control, and being a totally unprepared Queen and savior as Emma almost freezes to death.  It turns out that Emma's dad, David, was aided by Anna back in the Enchanted Forest days, and they vow to help Elsa find her sister.  Meanwhile another Snow Queen has a weird plan to make Elsa and Emma her sisters, since they have light magic like her.

Throughout the whole arc, these two become really good friends.  I equate Elsa as the Ruby to Emma's Snow.  At one point, Emma's powers go out of control.  She asks Gold to help her get rid of them all together.  She almost goes through with it, until Elsa stops her, telling her that she has to love herself, and that her powers are a part of who she is.  What they don't realize is that Elsa actually saved Emma's life also, because Gold planned to kill her.

This friendship is, I think, the most important relationship development of the season.  Both Emma and Elsa needed a friend who isn't family, isn't a love interest, and doesn't have some other complicated relationship to them.  I don't think that Elsa ever had any friends other than Anna.  In flashbacks to Arendelle of the past, it's a BIG deal when Elsa calls Kristoff her friend, and I think it's a HUGE deal when Anna asks Elsa if she trusts Emma, and Elsa calls Emma her friend.  For either of these ladies to trust someone else like that is a huge milestone. Both Emma and Elsa are better, stronger people for having known each other.  THAT is why it was so sad when the Frozen family returned to Arendelle.  One can only hope that sometime around May Sweeps, Emma calls upon her friend Elsa to help in the fight against the "Queens of Darkness."

Anyway, this gif I found on a Tumblr page pretty much sums up the importance of this relationship.  It makes me think of the close friends I've made through the years and how important they've been in my life.  It truly is wonderful to have friends so wonderful that makes saying goodbye so hard.  The good news is that with such friendships, time and distance can't diminish them.

Courtesy of

I'll miss our friends from Arendelle, because I loved the friendship between the two E's.  Many people were upset because we didn't get to see a Kristoff-Anna wedding.  IT WAS NEVER ABOUT THE WEDDING, FOLKS!  Many were upset because we didn't see a lot of Snow and thought that many of the scenes between Emma and Elsa should have been between Emma and Snow.  Actress Ginnifer Goodwin has even admitted that being in the back burner during this half of the season was best, because she just had a baby in real life and needed the time with him.  Also again, Emma needed a friend, as did Elsa, not another relative or love interest.

In all, I loved the Frozen arc far more than the Neverland arc in Season 3A.  I was sick of that by the second episode of the season. The Winter Finale wasn't quite as intense as last year's, but it was still pretty great.  I'm ready for 4B and everything it offers.

That Time Bart Used My Head As a Tripod At the Garth Brooks Concert

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Saturday was an incredibly busy day for us.  We woke up at 5 am so that we could make it to church by 7:45 and work a few hours at the annual Christmas Store.  Bart and I like to work in the back where the kids wait after picking out gifts for their parents.  I love working the store, because every year we worry so much about what to get each other for Christmas and what to get Ladybug.  We worry about what to get, not if our child will get anything or if she ever has enough food to eat.  These kids are sweet and wonderful and deserve to have a wonderful Christmas just as much as mine does.  I'm thankful I have to opportunity to do this every year.  We almost didn't sign up this year, because we had plans for later Saturday evening, but I'm glad we went ahead and did it.  It just required a stop at Starbucks in Russellville.

Our other plans included Bart's parents coming up to spend the night with Ladybug, Lucy, and Dory while Bart and I drove to Little Rock to watch Garth Brooks in concert.  Bart is probably one of the biggest Garth Brooks fans on the planet, and I promised him after we married that if Garth ever came anywhere near us in concert I would go with him.  So I did.

We made it to the Little Rock metro area in time to check into our hotel, freshen up a bit, then head down to Verizon Arena.  Bart and I hadn't been to a concert there since the Mercy Me / Steven Curtis Chapman Christmas tour of 2005.  Back then, it was still called Alltel Arena.  Thankfully we knew to stay off the Interstate and met little traffic as we found a place to park.  I guess having spent a year living there left us with a few advantages.

It was a good concert.  Bart said that it's the best he's ever been to.  It was probably one of my favorite two or three, but remember, I'm not the country fan in the family.  Thankfully Garth sang only one new song and then sang his classics the rest of the concert.  I feared it would be something akin to his TV special last year where he covered all his favorite songs.  That was awful, and I thought he had lost his showmanship.  Trust me, he hasn't.  I've never seen so much adrenaline in a concert before and was thankful for the little break where Trisha Yearwood sang a few of her songs.  I especially enjoyed Trisha.  I just wish she could have sang Georgia Rain.  That is a song that moves me so that I'm inspired to write chapters when listening to it.

It was nice to get out with Bart and do something just the two of us.  The arena was so packed that we  spent a great part of the concert with me in front of Bart with his arms around me.  It was nice, except for when he decided to use my head as a tripod to steady his phone.  I suppose that's one of the hazards of being a foot shorter than your husband.

Several encores and over $100 of merchandise later, we left the arena to collapse in our hotel room bed.  We finished our Christmas shopping in Bryant (where we stayed), drove by our old townhouse, then headed home.  We we got home around 4 in the afternoon, Ladybug was napping, and Grandma and Granddad were exhausted.  Later that night, L told us that she was "so very, very tired, because Grandma and Granddad played with her so much."  That's not a bad thing.

Yesterday the entire weekend sort of hit me like a wrecking ball.  I was pretty much worthless, but it was worth it.  Getting to be with Bart as he experienced something he has wanted to do since he was a little boy was worth it.  Being a part of bringing Christmas and Jesus to all those kids Saturday morning was worth the early wake up call.  Would I do all of it in one day again?  Yes, actually.

So Much To Be Thankful For

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

 I'm writing this post from a Hampton Inn in Maumelle, AR while Ladybug watches Sleeping Beauty on her iPad, and Bart is at a meeting at his firm's home office in North Little Rock.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and we're spending the day at Bart's grandmother's house in Little Rock.  This is the first Thanksgiving without Bart's Granddaddy, and his presence is already greatly missed.  Still yet, we have so much to be thankful for this year.

  • Our health.  All three Gilbreaths and the two Gilbreath dogs are all in good health.  That is something to never take for granted.
  • Bart's job.  Bart works at a stable company, and they have recognized Bart for his hard work and our family's sacrifices several times this year.
  • Bart's brother and sister-in-law are expecting Baby 2 on Ladybug's birthday.
  • Our friends Brandon and Erin, who are more like family, are expecting a baby in the spring.  They have also moved to NWA and are closer to us now.
  • I may complain that I have to buy her new clothes and shoes occasionally, but Ladybug is growing like a weed.  Her mind is growing even faster.
  • We belong to an awesome, Bible-believing church.
  • After the longest dry-spell EVER, I've started writing again.  You know, with original characters and plot lines.
  • Probably the biggest thing to be thankful for happened Sunday morning.  Bart has been struggling off and on this past year or so regarding the fact that he can't really remember anything about when he walked the aisle to accept Jesus as his savior when he was a child.  He wasn't sure if it was all his idea, or if he did it because a friend did, or whatever.  So often as children, we walk the aisle, say the prayer, and don't really understand what we're doing.  That can to doubts later on in life.  I went through that when I was fourteen (See "Let Me Tell You About...")He couldn't remember it at all really.  Sunday we went to church like it was any other Sunday.  There was an invitation then the offertory.  I went to the bathroom during the offertory, because is was my Sunday to help in L's Sunday School class after church.  When I got back, our pastor did something he never does, he opened up another invitation.  Bart grabbed my hand and said, "Let's go down."  I'm thrilled to say that he no longer has doubts about his salvation.  He has nailed it down, as did several other people that day.  This time when he walked the aisle and prayed the sinner's prayer, he knew that it was of his own volition.  I can't really explain the joy I have knowing that Bart has this settled once and for all.   
If this post seems disjointed and lacking, I apologize.  Being cooped up in a hotel room with an almost three-year-old is trying at best.

Weekly Randomosity

Thursday, November 13, 2014

  • I created a Tumblr blog for the Princess Party pictures and linked to it up at the top of this blog.  I'm still needing some ideas for future pictures.  Bart's only suggestions are things like "have them pick acorns."  Seriously.  He's not getting the whole pop culture reference part of it.
  • Bart got us tickets to see Garth Brooks in Little Rock on December 13.  This is absolutely his dream come true.  It is his equivalent of me going to Prince Edward Island.  He is the ultimate Garth Brooks fanboy.  Seriously, I woke up Monday night/ Tuesday morning to him listening to the new album on his phone, Tweeting with my friend from the station, Charles, about it.    I've always known that they were basically country music fan soulmates.
  • L was just fine all day yesterday then started running a 102.5° fever.  She has had one off an on all day today, but doesn't seem too sick otherwise.  I'm hoping it passes soon, but will take her to the doctor if it doesn't.  Right now, I don't see the point in exposing her to more germs in taking her.  Last time I did when she was like this, it was nothing.
  • It could snow here this weekend.  I'm not particularly looking forward to it.
  • While drying my hair this morning, my hair dryer stopped twice.  I think it's trying to go gentle into that good night.
  • Every time I see a trailer for Dumb and Dumber To, I cringe.  I can't believe that at some point twenty years ago, I thought the original was funny.  Thankfully my taste in movies has evolved.  I like smart, witty humor now, not stupid, gross, raunchy humor.
  • When I was writing the date while filling out my prayer journal this morning, I realized that today would have been my parents' FIFTIETH wedding anniversary.  They only got to celebrate twenty-five, but they would have been together.  I mentioned it on Facebook, not because I wanted pity because my Dad has been gone for twenty-four years, but because I just find it amazing.  I would also like to point out that my parents were married sixteen years before I was born.  So don't start thinking that I'm anywhere near being fifty years old yet.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.
  • I'm seriously missing the warmer weather.
  • A video posted by Adrienne (@addy_lane) on

Waiting For Anna

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Living in the DVR / Streaming Television Age, Ladybug hasn't had the chance to get interested in a serial TV series.  You know, "tune in tomorrow, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel for the shocking conclusion!"  When we were kids, cartoons always had cliffhangers, and the series had continuing stories.  That's not so much the way it is these days.  At least it's not with the shows Ladybug watches.  It never takes Doc McStuffins more than one episode to diagnose and cure a patient.  Mickey and pals always solve their problem using all four mouskatools in the span of one episode.  You're never left wondering what's going to happen on the next episode.  Heck, you're never really sure when there's going to be a new episode, and it's ok because they're all recorded on the DVR or available to stream on the Apple TV whenever.

Now I've watched Once Upon a Time on ABC since the second half of the first season.  At first I scoffed at the idea of a show where all the characters from stories we loved as children are cursed to live in our world.  Then one weekend, when I was about eighty months pregnant with Ladybug, they aired all the episodes, and I got hooked.  I've been watching ever since, and L has often watched with me, because we would record them and watch on Mondays.  I know that there are scary parts, but she hasn't really been bothered by them.  She only half pays attention except for the the princess-y parts.

Well, this season they've introduced the Frozen characters into the fold, and Ladybug is hooked as well.  We've started watching it live, and Ladybug really enjoys it.  She even has the both of us wear crowns.  She has tried to get Bart to wear one too, but he has only worn one for a few, brief moments.

So the storyline partially is that Elsa is looking for Anna, and Ladybug really worries that Elsa can't find Anna.  I must give credit to the powers that be at OUAT for casting Georgina Haig and Elizabeth Lail and Elsa and Anna.  Their acting is spot-on, and the look very much the part.  Ladybug is positive that they are the real Elsa and Anna.  Every episode she asks, "Mama, when is  Elsa going to find Anna?"  My response is always, "Probably around Episode Eleven, because that's when this half of the season ends as well as the storyline."  Seriously, waiting on Elsa to find Anna has to be the toddler equivalent of Waiting For Godot.

Anyway, it's been a treat sharing this with her.  It's been fun watching her anticipate the next episode and actually have to wait for the conclusion of the storyline.  It's been helping battle her desire for instant gratification.  I have no doubt that Ladybug will be happy when Elsa inevitably finds Anna.  Heaven knows her dolls will be.  They're constantly having to experience whatever perils their television counterparts are going through.  Also, since it's two against one, we don't have our Sunday nights filled with Sunday Night Football!

I'll Admit When I'm Wrong

Sunday, November 2, 2014

So...  a year and a half ago I wrote this post about how I would never let Ladybug become all obsessed with princesses.  If any of you know me, you know that I have had to eat those words in a major way this past year.  The thing is, I'm okay with that.  I can admit that I was wrong - at least in some part.

Blame Frozen
It all started back in February, when I had had just about all that I could take of what was a long, snowy, frigid winter.  I needed something different to do with Ladybug on those long, cold days we were basically trapped inside the house.  So I purchased Frozen on iTunes.  I didn't expect to hate it, but I didn't realize that not only Ladybug would like it, but so would I (and Bart).  That little movie about two sisters, which was written better than many of the movies I watched growing up, was our gateway drug into the world of Disney Princesses.

After that, we bought Tangled and Brave.  I adore Tangled.  I'm serious.  The lantern scene is just...  well, it's the most romantic thing I've seen in a movie in a very long time.  It left me all verklempt.  Seriously.  I.LOVED.IT and so did Ladybug.  Bart liked it so much that he bought a Pascal to keep in his truck.  No, I'm not kidding.  The thing is, these princesses aren't like the old, boring ones who just waited on their prince to come.  They have personality.  They do things.  They're the heroes.

After that, we got The Little Mermaid.  I like The Little Mermaid, but I don't just love it.  It's just a little too much of that whole "You can't marry a man you just met" thing that Elsa tried to explain to Anna in Frozen.  It didn't matter that it wasn't my favorite though, because Ladybug loved it.  She also loves Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella.  She likes Beauty and the Beast, but it's a little scary for her at times.

I Still Don't Care For the Original Three
I have always had a soft spot for the book-loving Belle, but I only tolerate Cinderella and downright dislike Sleeping Beauty.  They and Snow White are the reasons I have spent most of my life disliking the princesses.  They have NO PERSONALITY!  Cinderella maybe has some, but Sleeping Beauty just annoys me.  When L watches it, I want to bang my head up against a wall.  I don't allow my dislike of it to keep Ladybug from enjoying it though, which she does wholeheartedly.  She is all about the princesses and playing make-believe to be one.

Change Of Heart
What caused my change of heart?  I guess it's because I love my daughter, and she loves all of this.   Do I plan on allowing her to behave like a spoiled princess ever?  No.  I do have to remember that when I was a kid I was obsessed with Strawberry Shortcake, Rainbow Brite, She-Ra, Jem and the Holograms, and Cabbage Patch Kids.  It's okay for her to like girly things.  She also likes Lego Friends, the Disney Fairies, and My Little Ponies though not quite as much as the princesses.  I prefer that to Bratz or those creepy Monster High dolls.

She doesn't want to be a princess when she grows up, she wants to go to OU and study weather.  She wants to do the weather like Gina on TV.  She told me so herself recently.  So, right now I'm letting her enjoy the things that allow her imagination to expand.  I'm not raising Adrienne 2.0 after all.  I'm raising Ladybug, and she's pretty awesome just who she is and wants to be.  I even have some princesses being cryogenically kept in my garage for Christmas and birthday.

A photo posted by Adrienne (@addy_lane) on

The Party Princesses

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Since probably the first week of September, Bart has been out of town for work a lot.  That means by the evenings, I'm often searching for something different and fun to do with L before her bath and bedtime.  I'm usually only too happy to let Bart play with her for a couple of hours in the evening so that I can catch my breath.  That doesn't happen when he's out of town.

Often, we would spend the evenings outside, but as the days have grown shorter and occasionally rainy, we had to think of something else.  Somehow our evening dance party evolved into a Princess Dance Party, with all of L's MagiClip Princess dolls.  From there, I thought it would be funny if they formed a conga line and danced to Harry Belafonte as L and I danced as well.  Then I took a picture and shared it online.  Apparently I'm not the only one who has thought it was funny.

That same night, I thought back to when L first started getting the dolls, and I positioned them to play Red Rover.  That led to me trying to get them to play Ring Around the Rosie, but that seemed lame.  Instead, they played "Light As A Feather."  Never having been a pre-teen girl, I had to explain that one to Bart.

Meanwhile, L has started to love this activity.  We have to take pictures every time we play with the "baby princesses."  If I don't take a picture, she'll either grab my phone and do it herself or any other toy to pretend to take her own pictures.  Every time I come up with a new idea, she gets all excited and can't wait for the pictures.

Coming up with ideas isn't always easy.  I try to incorporate whatever we're doing that night into the picture and gags.  If the princesses are doing the Thriller dance, well, L and I are at least dancing to Thriller.

When we watched "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" we had some of the princesses reenact a scene from that.  I always try to fit the right princess to her part.  Last night, for the last game of the World Series, we did a tribute to "A League of Their Own," complete with Flynn Ryder as Jimmy Dugan and Cinderella as Evelyn.  I had Sleeping Beauty play All the Way May, but I realize it should have been Snow White.  She did live alone with seven men for a while, after all.  Elsa and Anna were Dottie and Kit, of course.

Tonight's princess pic came from something I've had rattling in my brain.  It was Queen Elsa's seminar on things to avoid on Halloween (and any day).  I even included on the Instagram caption, "Next slide:  Octopi With Binding Contracts."  It was only when the picture was posted that I realized that Snow White was MIA.  Perhaps she already ate that poisonous apple?  

I don't know how long we're going to keep it up.  There are only so many things you can do with dolls that have to have their dresses on to stand and can't really pose very much.  Also, they don't make Jasmine, Mulan, or Pocahontas dolls in this.  I'm guessing it's because they don't wear traditional dresses.  We do enjoy it though.  It's my way of being creative with L.  I'm not a traditionally crafty person, so this has been fun.  My question is, do you have any ideas for future parties?

'ello, October!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sometimes I wish that I spoke with a cockney accent rather than a twangy one from Southeastern Oklahoma.  Anyway...

Y'all, October  Each and every single night, we have watched baseball.  It's not just normal baseball, it's baseball with extra innings that lasts all night long.  Now, I love baseball.  Let's not ever think that's not the case, and this October has been stupendous in terms of awesome baseball games.  I'm a St. Louis Cardinals girl, I was raised that way, just as I was raised Baptist, but I have to admit that I like the way the Royals have been playing.   Bart and I are hoping for a Royals / Cardinals World Series.  If that happens, I think I'll need to stock up on Red Bull and No Doz.  These late games are killing me.  At least there's baseball.  OU lost Saturday to TCU.  I think I had a few small strokes watching the game.

I think that we're finally settling into a good routine, now that the summer is over.  It was a busy summer.  (Maybe I'll fill you in on it some time, but I'll just tell you that it included two weddings and a funeral.)  We hit a little hump when we took a trip to St. Louis to watch the Cardinals, and Bart and Ladybug both came home sick.  Ladybug got over it quickly, but Bart almost always develops bronchitis these days, and it took him a couple of weeks to be himself again.  It's difficult to get into step when you have a sick husband.  Things started to look up last week when all of his medicine started working.

The best thing is, it's October.  I have always loved October.  I think it's my favorite month.  Last week beautiful yellow leaves rained down on the car as L and I were driving home from Bible study.  Autumn and spring both bring a peace about my soul, because I never cease to be in awe of the beautiful artistry God has painted on this canvas where we eat, breathe, and live.  I'm thankful for the changing seasons, because they're always a reminder to me that God is always here and He's remains constant though the world does not.

Ladybug is constantly changing, but the God who created her is the same  yesterday, today, and forever.

Music Monday: The Country I Don't Hate

Monday, August 25, 2014

This week's playlist is rather short, because I decided to share with you the Country songs that I like the best.  I'm not a fan of country music.  I don't care for the twang nor most of the subject matter.  These days most songs seem to be about the glorification of trashiness or getting wasted at a party on the beach.  Of course, I've never cared for most of the music.  I tolerate it mostly because Bart loves it.  I have been to more country concerts than I care to think about with him.  When I am with him though, we do have some ground rules.
  1. I don't want to hear anything with Jennifer Nettles' voice.  Edward Scissorhands scratching a chalkboard is more appealing to me.
  2. I don't care for Miranda Lambert's music.  She sounds like an angry, white trash munchkin.
  3. Taylor Swift isn't allowed to be played in my presence.  The girl cannot carry a tune!  I actually love it that Dory Gale goes ballistic when TS songs start to play.
  4. I haven't liked Tim McGraw since I saw him in Friday Night Lights.
  5. I don't get why people like George Strait, or Alan Jackson, or Luke Bryan.  You get the picture.
  6. Country Rap shouldn't be a thing.  It just shouldn't.  It's like breeding a chihuahua and a great dane.  Just don't.
I adore Trisha Yearwood and Alison Krauss.  I love Carrie Underwood.  Hey, we attended the same university.  I like Garth Brooks, but not nearly as much as Bart does.  He's a huge Garth fanboy.  My favorite Garth song is actually his only real Rock song, "Hard Luck Woman."  That's just how I roll.

Again, Country isn't my thing.  I think part of the reason is because having grown up in a small, rural town I was expected to like it.  I didn't.  I also didn't like it in Junior High School when some girls would sit around and sing every song on the Country Top 40.  It got old very fast.  That was probably the extent of how I rebelled against my surroundings.  

This isn't the longest post, but I do like what I actually like.

Weekly Randomosity

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I haven't completed one of these in a while, but my mind is just full of all sorts of I don't know, word vomit?  So of course I thought I would share.

  • I discussed this on Twitter this morning with some friends - many of whom will remain nameless, but we seem to think the whole Plexus Pink Drink thing is a cult of some sort.  It reminds me of a mixture of when Robert joined a cult on Everybody Loves Raymond, and when Charlene sold Lady June Bell on Designing Women, but with social media.  I sort of feel like some day we'll not be saying "drinking the Kool Aid," but "drinking the pink drink."  I don't want to offend anyone, but the words "cult" and "pyramid scheme" just keep flashing before my eyes like the neon sign of a trashy triple-X store.
  • We have officially entered into another time of the year when Bart is going to be at work and working out of town probably more than he is home.  I think he's home until the week and weekend after Labor Day, though often working horrible hours.  Yes, this is why I don't commit to weekends away from home and such.   
  • I started DVR'ing The Musketeers on BBC America.  I swear it seems more like the Old West than Reformation Era France.  The only difference is instead of fighting indians, they're fighting Protestants and the English, who of course at that time are also Protestant.
  • When Bart has been home, he has been having fun researching my family tree.  He has also learned that I am actually a veritable wealth of information regarding just about any point in British history from pretty much Roman times.
  • L and I are going to start going to Tuesday Morning Bible Study at church.  I'm really excited to start, just not excited about the traffic getting there.
  • The Tomato Bandits keep striking our garden.  I think it's so late in the season that they can have the tomatoes, they're starting to get that bitter, late-season taste to them.
  • We have started asking L what she wants to be for Halloween.  Bart isn't too impressed, but she wants to be Merida from Brave.  Brave is her current obsession, and I'm thrilled.  It should be easier to find a Merida costume than an Elsa one.
  • *Sigh* If I was even half as fertile as Duggar.  No wait, maybe not even that much, but still...
  • I stumbled upon a series of Regency Era book by Julia Quinn about a family of eight siblings and their pursuit of love.  Okay, it's historical romance.  To those who have called me a literary snob before, I'll admit I'm reading this.  There's a bit of smut in the books, and well they're all rather formulaic, but I truly enjoy the dialogue.  I'm a sucker for good dialogue and fun characters.  So, I'm hooked.  I've read six out of eight books in the past week.
  • I took L in today for a hair trim.  Every time Bart or I mention it to people, they're like, "No!  Her hair is too pretty!"  Relax, y'all!  We just had her bangs and dead ends trimmed.  She was getting very shaggy and was getting horrible tangles.  Trust me, we're not cutting her beautiful hair short - just keeping it neat.
  • I read a spoiler for the first episode of Downton Abbey Season 5, which begins airing in the UK soon.  All I'm going to say is, "Edith, Edith, Edith!"  Oh, and I think the boys playing little George are adorable and look like Dan Stevens (The Late Matthew Crawley)!
  • L and I were on our grocery run Monday morning and happened upon the toy dept. at Walmart starting to stock all the new stuff for Christmas.  I scored these plush Elsa and Anna dolls, that are now my daughter's best friends.  I sort of hate giving them to her now, but whenever she doesn't want to mind me, I threaten to take them away.  It works.
  • I may have opened the door to L's room just as she was trying to open it from the other side and smacked her in the head with it.  After some initial tears, she happily accepted an ice pack.  Then she decided Elsa needed the ice pack, as well as all her other dolls and animals.  Couldn't Elsa just stick her own hand to her forehead? 

Music Monday: Late 90's, Early 00's

Monday, August 18, 2014

As I sit writing this, "Call Me Al" by Paul Simon is stuck in my head (thank you, Bart), and the sounds of Disney's Brave surround me.  One could say that such conditions make it difficult to write anything, much less a blog post about music.  That is probably true.  Of course, it can't be worse than trying to write one after hearing that Robin William's died, as I did last week.  By the way, I apologize if that post seemed flat.

I wasn't entirely sure what the next Music Monday should be about until Bart and I watched I Love The 00's or something like that on TV.  I was then reminded of all of the music I listened to in college and when Bart and I were first married.  I graduated high school back in the olden days of the late nineties, so my tastes in music were maturing just as the boy band craze was really taking off.  In other words, I started to hate a lot of pop music.

I didn't go crazy for N'Sync, The Backstreet Boys, or even choose between Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera.  I didn't care.  That was the time that I started listening to a lot of The Goo Goo Dolls, Matchbox Twenty, and such.  I remember listening to Sixpence None the Richer's "Kiss Me" in the truck of a friend I wanted to be more than a friend (and hopefully never became so), and singing with the Armageddon soundtrack on late-night runs to Denny's with my friends.  I have vivid memories of a guy in my Educational Psychology class singing a Lifehouse song.  I can't remember much from that class, and only remember that the guy looked a bit like Glenn Babble from Gilmore Girls, but I digress.   I remember planning an entire series of books based on Matchbox Twenty's "If You're Gone."  The horns in that song still stir something within me.  I'll never forget driving around with my oldest niece when she was about Ladybug's age, singing "Drops Of Jupiter" with her.  When Bart and I married, I learned that despite his mostly appalling taste in music, he liked Green Day.  I like them too, though not quite as much as Bart,  I think.

Anyway, I still enjoy listening to all of this at times.  They're a nice reminder of a time before I was Ladybug's  or even Lucy and Dory's mom, some of it before I was Bart's wife.  I drove a lot back then, in my cute little purple Cavalier, and the radio was always playing loudly.  I actually busted out the speakers in it.  Yeah, I like music, and I like it loud.  Do you have any memories of these songs?

What Do I Want Out Of This?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

I think about quitting blogging at least ten times a day lately, I think.  I've certainly taken a significant break from it, and to be honest I didn't miss is as much as I thought that I would.  I did miss it, and I imagine that after ten years of blogging, I'm always going to have some post or another rolling around in my head.  That said, I still think about quitting... often.

Why?  I'm not particularly in love with talking about myself all the time anymore.  As she grows older, I'm not comfortable sharing as much of Ladybug's life.  I respect her too much to invade her privacy so much, even if she is only two and a half years old.  Also, I just don't want to follow the cattle drive of evolving my blog into something that I don't necessarily want it to be to please faceless people who have made themselves experts on what a blog should or should not be.  My twitter feed is cluttered daily with posts by "experts" who tell you what they think a blog should be.  I'm kind of sick of those posts and wonder if those who do that have anything of actual substance to write about.

Yet, I still blog.  I still read blogs that actually have something to say.  I still belong to some blogging communities, even though I can tell you now that I don't want to make this blog my business.  It's just my blog.  It's where I talk about my thoughts, my life, my experiences, and most importantly my faith.

I think there's still a place for blogs where honest people talk honestly about their lives, their faith, and their struggles in life.   I'm a fan of little anecdotes about people who aren't really all that different from me.  Sometimes we lose that in contests, fame, and analytics.  Don't even get me started on SEO, lol.

Am I looking to grow my blog?  Eh, it's appealing at times, but that kind of goes along the line of the whole "With great power comes great responsibility" thing.  There's more pressure to post perfect posts and portray my life as perfect, which it is anything but.

I'm not trying to dog anyone else's blog, but I'm being honest about what I want for mine.  It can be a real time-suck, you know?  Lately I would rather read a good book or write fiction.  I have stories in my head, friends I've known since I was in high school, who still long for me to share them with the rest of the world.  Most of the time, I would rather write about them than me.

Yet, I will still blog.  The posts may be few and far between.  I may never market my blog or grow my audience beyond the few people who have always read it, but I'll still do it.  It has always been a tool for sharing my faith and myself.  It's my blog, and I'll darn well write about what I want to!

Music Monday: Joyful Noises

Monday, August 11, 2014

Last Monday I share with you the soundtracks to my life and my joy of movie scores.  This week, I want to share with you another type of music that uplifts me, Contemporary Christian Music, or CCM.  I have been listening to CCM off and on since at least the early nineties, though I've listened to hymns all of my life.  There are times when I need to hear this music, just as much as I need to open my Bible and read God's Word to lift me.  There are times when I just want to listen to it, because I'm so filled with joy.  Like being thankful in all circumstances, I've found that listening to Christian music is also something for all circumstances.

My favorite artists are Steven Curtis Chapman, Mercy Me, Laura Story, Casting Crowns, Third Day, Chris Tomlin, and anything Christy Nockels.  I have been a fan of Steven Curtis Chapman almost as long as I can remember.  I have loved Mercy since before  "I Can Only Imagine" and saw them the first time in college at a Fall Retreat a weekend or two before 9-11.  I have been a huge fan of Christy Nockels since the days when she and her husband were Watermark, and I saw them also perform at a retreat at Falls Creek in college.  At that time, I never knew how their song "Glory Baby" would mean so much in my life, but it has been a comfort to me these past four years.

I love this music.  It's something that is uplifting and I also don't have to worry about the message it is sending Ladybug.  Quite the contrary, it warms my heart to hear her little voice sing "God Of Every Story,"  "The Glorious Unfolding," or "Greater."  I want these songs to be a part of her life and just like the Word of God, a comfort to her in times of trial and sorrow.  I know Bart has especially been listening to Laura Story since his grandfather passed.  They certainly are a part of mine. So, we listen to these songs probably more than just than anything else.  I hope you give them a listen.

Music Monday: The Soundtracks Of My Life

Monday, August 4, 2014

Music is a huge part of my life.  Certain songs often have a way of triggering memories and also inspiring me when I write.  I have a very eclectic taste in music.  I listen to a little bit of everything from Pop to movie scores.  The things I don't listen to much are Rap and Country.  I get my fill of Country whenever I'm with Bart.  Don't even get me started on Country Rap (Seriously, it should be illegal to mashup two of the most annoying things on the planet).  I've decided to share some of my favorites on Mondays.

As I said I like to listen to the original scores from movies.  If I need to just relax and chill, I'll listen to my movie score playlists.  It seems in the six months since Ladybug turned two, I've been listening to my those playlists more than any others.  I don't think it's a coincidence.  I usually love to listen to them when I'm writing also, because lyrics tend to get in the way when I'm writing.  I blame my English teacher three out of four years of high school and fried, Belinda Westfall, for always playing movie soundtracks in class.  Now, they tend set my mood, and since I'm a very methodical writer who has to step into the shoes of my characters somewhat, mood matters.

Over the past twenty years, I have found that I have favorite composers.  Believe it or not, I don't normally flock to probably the most well-known movie composer, John Williams.   I much more prefer the works of Thomas Newman, Patrick Doyle, Rachel Portman, and Dario Marianelli.  Also, I love good old, Elmer Bernstein.  The below albums are just a few from my collection that I've listened to the most lately.

In the last piece I wrote, I spend a great deal of time listening to the soundtracks from the 2005 Pride and Prejudice, "That Next Place" from Meet Joe Black, and The Young Victoria on repeat while occasionally allowing these others to creep in from time to time also.  Near the last few chapters, I listened to the song, "Victoria and Albert" from The Young Victoria over and over again, as it sort of became the coda to my piece.

I also like to listen to this music with Ladybug.  I want her to enjoy instrumental music that is deeper than almost all of what she'll hear on the radio.  I want her to appreciate the beauty of cellos, pianos, violins, and more.   So, sometimes we'll listen to her soundtracks, a playlist of just the instrumental music from Frozen, Tangled, Brave, and The Little Mermaid.  Do you know that she can hear the instrumental pieces from the scores and tell you exactly what part of the movie they play?  Seriously. the song "Whiteout" will come on, and she's yelling for Elsa and Anna to be careful in the blizzard near the end of the movie.

I've told Bart that when I die, I want the funeral home to just play my soundtracks and CCM playlists instead of that dreadful music they normally play.  If I had my way, my life would have this stuff playing in the background all the time.

Where We Needed To Be

Friday, July 25, 2014

A week and a half ago, Bart's grandfather passed away.  A week before that, he had been admitted.  In the week he was a patient in the hospital we learned that he had bladder cancer that had metastasized into both of his lungs.  It was a whirlwind week that started with Bart working out of town in Oklahoma the first half of the week, and it ended with his brother flying in to XNA that Friday night so the boys could drive to Little Rock and see their Granddaddy one last time.  His brother's plane had just taken off last Sunday to head back to Virginia when we got the call that their granddaddy passed away.

It was a difficult week for everyone.  It was a blessing that he didn't have to endure a prolonged period of suffering.  Still, it has been difficult.  Everyone loved Bart's Granddaddy, and his absence is noticeable, especially for Bart's grandmother, who had been married to him for sixty-four years.

Since it had been such a long, difficult week Bart and I debated over whether or not we wanted to get up Sunday to go to church or just stay at home.  It was very tempting to just stay at home and relax.  We had spent part of the week in Little Rock, then we hosted Bart's brother, sister-in-law, nephew, and their dog.  Let me tell you, two two-year-olds who adore each other and three dogs who believe they're sisters can be very tiring.  Yet something pushed me to tell Bart that we needed to go.

The more I thought about it, the more I knew that we needed to go to church rather than stay home to rest.  Yes, we were tired physically, but we also were exhausted spiritually.  Even when you're sure of a loved one's salvation, losing them can take a lot out of you.  We needed that time dedicated to worship and fellowship with our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

When sad things happen, we can often feel a spiritual disconnect.  I'm a firm believer that it is times such as this that we need our church families the most.  I know many people believe that they don't need a church home - that they can worship God anywhere.  However, going to church is about so much more than singing a few songs and hearing a sermon that makes you feel good.  Church is about family and community.  It's about accountability.  It's about being surrounded in prayer when you need it most.  It's about being served and more importantly, serving others in God's love.

Sleeping in would have been nice, but it was no coincidence that our sermon Sunday was over death and more importantly, life after death (2 Corinthians 5:1-10).  We needed that reassurance, I believe, and I'm thankful I listened when led to go.  Never discount the importance of attending church.  We all need fellowship.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken


Saturday, June 28, 2014

  • I'm not going to call this "Weekly Randomosity," because I haven't posted one in a long time and may not again for who knows how long.  I'm really enjoying writing fiction right now, and all of my free time has devoted to that lately.  I forgot how much fun it was to really get into characters and have others love your characters as well!
  • We've had a lot of storms and rain lately.  If I haven't mentioned it before, my head acts very much like a barometer, and I have horrible headaches when storms are coming.  I think it's safe to say that Advil has been my friend lately.
  • Bart and Ladybug picked the first zucchini from their garden this week.  If only I liked vegetables.  I'm counting the days until the tomatoes are ripe.  I live for homegrown tomatoes.
  • Last week while Bart was in Nashville with work, I started watching Chasing Life.  I think I may have once vowed to never watch any original programming on ABC Family ever again after they canceled the wonderfully quirky and Gilmore-esque Bunheads but kept an insipid show like The Secret Life of the American Teenager (which I tried to watch once because Molly Ringwald) or shows like Pretty LittleLiars on the air. However, there's not a lot on in the summer that tempts me, and this actually looks interesting and promising.  I have to say that I'm interested so far.  It has promise.  It has so much promise that I will probably fall in love with it, then they will cancel it.
  • Monday night was supposed to be Bart's first softball game of the season, but all of the games were canceled due to rain.  That could be considered a win for Bart's team.  Let's just say that they have fun out there.
  • My eclectic music tastes have hit new highs.  Within a week I went from listening the Louis Armstrong to The Avett Brothers, a little Marvin Gaye, old-school church camp songs like "Jesus Is Just Alright" and "Never Gonna Be As Big As Jesus," and of course my favorite chill-out music, motion picture scores.  By the way, Ladybug is totally in awe of my ability to rap "Jesus Is Just Alright" word for word.  
  • Ladybug has had a pretty rough cold most of this week.  Bart seems to be catching it as well.  I'm trying diligently not to catch it.
  • So, on the fan fiction writing side of things, if you create the perfect original character as the love interest for the lead character then kill him off, you're email is going to go nuts.  I'm serious.  My email was constantly pinging last weekend with comments and direct messages.  I had to actually assure someone that I only write (mostly) happy endings, because he/she was so upset.  I also had to make sure the sound was off on my phone during church.  I'm a little surprised that I have not received quite so many comments once Mr. Perfect was found not to be dead after all.  The story is quickly coming to an end, which always makes me sad.  You come love these characters and hate to say goodbye to them.  I have ideas for a sequel, though I may take a break from it for a while until I  formulate it in my head.  There's also a few other things floating around in there.  Also, I would like to write/ post an edited and expanded version.  Overall, it's been a delightfully fun adventure.

Girls Need Their Dads

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Just two days ago, we celebrated Father's Day.  Anyone who knows me knows that we're not particularly big on celebrating the holidays that were basically invented by greeting card companies in order to sell cards.  That said, I do think that fathers do deserve some special attention.  Actually, rather than fathers, per se, daddies, dads, papas, or whatever they're called deserve attention and praise.  Sperm donors and deadbeats aren't included.  They are a very vital part of the family unit.  While we often hear of how boys need their dads, girls also need them in their lives very much - sometimes even more so, I think.

I lost my dad when I was ten years old.  I didn't have a dad around to teach me to drive or the dad who scared any boys I brought home by cleaning his shotgun.  Still yet, I knew that he loved me, and in those ten short years he was still able to instill in me the knowledge of what I did and didn't want in a potential husband some day, and how I should be treated.  My dad was one of those guys who gave his place in lines to women.  He played card games with me that I made up in my head, and I always felt safe when I was with him, I knew that what I said was important, and I never doubted that I was loved.

It isn't always easy to be a girl dad, I understand that.  It's especially more difficult for the guys who didn't grow up around girls, like Bart.  I have to say that Bart has taken most everything in stride.  He's learning that even a toddler cares if her accessories match her outfit, that Frozen and Tangled are "better" than Planes and Cars, and that dance parties are often a required pastime.  The cool thing is that girls often like doing supposedly "boy" things like playing sports and fishing.

The thing is, it's important that dads spend time with their daughters doing whatever and also talking about whatever.  They can't just be left to the mom to raise.  Girls need their dads not to play princess with them, but not treat them like princesses.  They need to learn from their dads that they should be treated with love and respect.  Also, when, as a teenager, the time might appear when they may need Dad to step in and stop a relationship if they aren't being treated properly - no matter how they may hate him for the moment.  When she's older she'll thank him.

I spend every day with Ladybug, but I really encourage Bart and Ladybug to not only do things with me but also just the two of them.  In the evenings, they'll go outside and play together, if I step outside to talk to them, Ladybug will often tell me, "Mama, go back inside the house!"  That's because her time alone with her Daddy is very important.  I get that and actually love it.  I love that they have such a great relationship and am not threatened by it.  I think it's awesome.  Last Thursday night, they went on their first Daddy-daughter date to Chic-Fil-A ( It was Daddy-Daughter Date Night.  Thanks, CFA!).  After, they went to Toys R Us then Barnes and Noble.  Ladybug opted on her own for books rather than toys.  They both had a blast, and Bart hopes to make it at least a monthly thing between them.

I want Ladybug to know her Dad.  When it's time for her to start dating and looking for the person she's to marry, I want her to look for someone like her Dad.  I'm not saying that he has to be some sort of engineer who is obsessed with country music.  Rather, I hope that she looks for a man who loves his God and his family, who is willing to work hard to provide for his family, and will treat his wife and children with the utmost love and respect.

Living With a 2.25 Year Old Ladybug

Sunday, May 18, 2014

I've come to the realization over the past few months that living with a two year old is nothing less than adventure.  We have our good days, our bad days, our very bad days, and our awesome days.  Unless she's teething or has a cold, we vary between good and awesome.  Then, well its the other way around.  Thankfully we have one out of four of her two-year molars, so teething should be a thing of the past soon.

Since she has turned two, she has become a fan of movies.  We watched a lot more tv than I'm proud of over the long, awful winter.  Her favorite movies are Frozen, The Little Mermaid, Tangled, and Despicable Me 1 and 2.  I know I seem to have been eating my words when it comes to Disney Princesses.  Well, you do that a lot as a parent.  That said, we're still not raising Ladybug to be a princess, nor are they allowed to be her soul focus in life.

She is a picky eater.  That said, she does eat.  Our biggest problem is that she doesn't like to eat when she's nervous.  When she goes to her grandparents' house she's been known to go on full hunger-strike.  That in itself, is one of the main reasons we have decided put off our week-long vacation alone to Canada until she is older.  We're okay with this too.  Sometimes you have to do what is best for you and your kids rather than do the more selfish thing.  No one would have fun then, so we're waiting.

She still loves music.  She loves to sing and has started making up her own songs.  They often go something along the line of "My baby!  My baby!"  She especially loves power ballads and songs from her movies.  When she's singing "Let It Go" or "A Part of Your World," she has to act out the songs just like Elsa and Ariel.  Actually, she likes to act out the entire movies while she watches them.  It's fun to watch with her, because she can do this word for word and action for action.

 She can be a very handy, helpful little person. She loves to help. Just yesterday I needed to find my keys. I looked all over the house and couldn't find them. I asked Ladybug to find them. It took her fifteen seconds. I'm not kidding. She's very helpful in brining phones and remotes.

Yeah, she has the best memory imaginable.  She gets it from me.  No, seriously.  All my childhood, my parents would ask me when important things happened for taxed and other things like that.  I had once dubbed myself "The Remember Girl."  Ladybug has usurped my title.  Okay, maybe she inherited it.  It's not like she killed me to get it.  As to her memory, if you go to Sonic, you better be prepared to give her a peppermint.  She won't forget.

She can be a very handy, helpful little person.  She loves to help.  Just yesterday I needed to find my keys.  I looked all over the house and couldn't find them.  I asked Ladybug to find them.  It took her fifteen seconds.  I'm not kidding.  She's very helpful in bringing phones and remotes.  She recognizes words, and sometimes I'm fairly certain she can read some words.

She has recently started the "Why" phase.  Actually. it's the "What's that?" phase also.  She's always asking one or the other.  If she doesn't like my answer to "what's that?" she'll correct me.  I'm trying not to discourage this, because I always want her to ask me questions, and I always want to answer to the best of my abilities as honestly as possible.

The best part of this age has to be the funny things that she says.  First of all, she has a habit of transposing consonants in words.  Like cupcakes are "puccakes."  Crayons are "cayrons."  She says her name, but leaves off the "L."  One of my favorite things that she says is "Lookie that!"  It's not "lookie there" or "look at that!"  She still says fork without much of an "r" in it, but most of the time she calls them "dinglehoppers" after watching The Little Mermaid.  I'll take "dinglehopper" over the alternative.

There are some days I want to pull out my hair.  Most of them, I'm just impressed with the awesome little girl God has blessed us with.

Adrienne's Thoughts On Fan Fiction

Friday, May 9, 2014

Have you missed me lately?  All is well in Adrienne-land.  I've been rather preoccupied of late writing fiction rather than blog posts.  It's been a nice change of pace.  I love blogging, but sometimes it's nice to escape to somewhere else, you know?  I mean really, how many blog posts can we all post about being better anything all the time?  How many times can I read how to do this or that better in in blogging, mothering, being a wife, or being a person in general without it all becoming monotonous and somewhat tedious.

I've thought about stopping blogging all together lately, but have chosen not to.  I have stepped back a great deal, as have I stepped away from a lot of social media.  It's been a nice break to focus on some other things that I haven't done in a long while.

I am still recharging my writing batteries, so to speak, but I am loving getting lost in a story of my own creation, getting lost in the characters, and having other people waiting to see how everything unfolds.  Personally, I'm enjoying seeing how everything unfolds, because every writer knows that a good story often starts writing itself, taking it to places you never initially dreamed.

So, what have I been writing?  Fan fiction.  Truthfully Frozen fan fiction.  You can only watch the movie a few thousand times before you want to start peeling away at the onion that is Elsa's personality.  I used to be somewhat ashamed that I wrote fan fiction, but not anymore.  I love it, well a great deal of it.  You have to find the diamonds in all the coal though, to really enjoy it.  The thing is, if you've ever loved a book, a movie, or a television series so much that you didm't want it to end, fan fiction is a way to go beyond.

In my opinion, the best written fan fictions are those based on books.  That is because you have to actually know how to read and possibly form sentences in order know your stories and characters.  I met two of my favorite people in the world, Cathy and Louise, through our shared loved of fan fiction based on the Anne of Green Gables series.  Seriously, these ladies know their stuff.  You should read it.  I've linked to their writings on their names.  I'll even link to my writings based on the world of Anne.

Anyway, as said, the best ones are based on books.  You'll know immediately if someone hasn't read the books of something and instead has based a fiction on the movie version.  You'll immediately get angry if you know your fandom.  The worst ones are song fics, the ones based on a song.  For heaven's sake, those are just awful.   Also remarkably horrible are those that are not aligned properly. There are very good fan fictions out there though.  Several have gone on to be published and become popular in their own right.  Masterpiece is going to air Death Comes To Pemberley, and that is fan fiction.  Actually so is Bridget Jones' Diary, Clueless, and a slew of other books and movies.  Heck, Once Upon a Time on ABC is basically crossover fan fiction of every Disney cartoon we've ever loved.  By the way, I'm a fan of that too.

Fan fiction is a wonderful, creative outlet.  The things you love provide inspiration for the things you write.  You get better at creating OC's (original characters), researching time periods and history, and setting up stories in general.  They're wonderful practice for writing your own original works.  It's also a place where you learn how little many people don't know these days.  Last night someone PM'd me asking what consumption was and if it was a real thing.  I wanted to put my head in an oven.

Maybe, by the time Ladybug is in school, I'll have honed my skills enough to finally pound out the stories of some characters that have been with me since high school.  They're very interesting people and have grown with me through the years.  I want to do them justice and have the time to write about them properly though.  I've learned that's not possible right now, and hasn't been for a while.   I'm what I like to refer to as a "Method Writer."  I have to crawl into the skin of my characters, feel what they're feeling, say what they need to say to properly write.  I have to do that when I'm alone, because it wouldn't do to let everybody see the crazy.

To 17-Year-Old Me

Thursday, May 1, 2014

I had a wonderful, insightful piece originally written, but it was quickly destroyed within seconds by an accidental cut and paste and Blogger's often handy but sometimes harmful autosave features.  Nonetheless I hope to bring back at least part of the spirit of the original.

Today I am thirty-four years old.  For a while I thought that I was going to be thirty-five, because around November I usually start considering myself the age I am going to be rather than the age that I am.  That gets very confusing when my actual birthday rolls around.  Once I realized that I am actually still just thirty-four it occurred to me that I am now twice the age I was that I once considered the happiest time of my life.

I loved being seventeen.  It's one of those ages you either love or hate, and I will always be thankful for that wonderful time in the latter years of my high school career.  A great deal of who I am was forged then and refined in the fires of early adulthood.  Still, I often wonder what life would have been like if the me of today could write a letter to the me of then.  It would go something like this:

Dear Adrienne,
So, you are seventeen years old.  You have the world ahead of you, and you know it.  You have a lot of the answers to life, but you're going to be amazed at what you don't know.  In fact, one of the most important lessons you'll learn in college is just how much you don't know.  That's okay though.  You're not supposed to know everything.  There are things that can only be learned through experience, and usually those are the most important lessons in life. There's only so much one can learn where you are now. Here's a list of some of those things:

  • Enjoy this time.  There will never be another like it.  You have so much freedom now that you'll never again know.  Appreciate the days when the biggest thing on your mind is what you're going to do next with your friends.  Soon enough the worries of the world will start to weigh on your shoulders.  Appreciate the freedom of just being able to get in your purple car and enjoy being young with your friends.
  • Love your friends.  You have an amazing group of friends.  Right now you can't imagine life without them, but it won't be long before you're all scattered about, living your own lives.  You'll keep in touch, but those weekends of endless girls' nights, summer nights at the drive-in, or just hanging out have an expiration date.
  • Scavenger hunts that require you to find deer poop at the deer pens aren't a good idea.
  • Know right here and now that the guy you just know is the one, isn't.  You two never get together.  You remain friends, but that is all.  Both of you end up in very happy marriages.  You will get married and have a family.  None of it will come easily.  You'll meet your husband in the most unexpected place, and quite honestly it won't happen until you've spent a great deal of time learning exactly what it is to be lonely.
  • Hug your Granny as often as possible.  Your going to spend most of your adulthood missing her and also the special times with your family at her house.
  • Don't let Melissa fix you up with a guy from college.  You two aren't a great fit.  It doesn't matter if you're both funny.  You'll find him annoying, full of himself, and in the end he's going to end up being a Democratic politician.  That's just about the worst thing imaginable.  Also, it's just not cool to be taken to Burger King for your first date, then end up having to pay.  You can and will do better, Adrienne!
  • Enjoy waiting on the trains to get from one side of town to the next.  It's just preparation for waiting in honest to goodness traffic.  You'll actually miss is some day.
  • Keep reading books and keep writing.  It's a part of you.  It doesn't matter what you're reading, or what you're writing, just never let that part of you die.
  • Enjoy your remaining time in that little town you call home.  You may visit it occasionally, but you'll never really be able to go back there again.  Things will both change and remain achingly the same when all the rest of the world has changed.  Even the Rooster Tree will eventually disappear.
  • Give your Junior Prom date a huge hug.  He won't see the age of thirty.
  • Don't listen to idle gossip, and especially don't repeat it.  The only thing it accomplishes is to leave a path of hurt in its wake.  Seriously, just because someone says something doesn't make it true or right for you to repeat it.
  • Remember that comparison is the thief of joy.  If you spend your time comparing your life to others, you'll never be happy.  Appreciate the blessing God has given you.
  • Remember that you are surrounded by so many good, godly women.  They will continue to be an influence in your life long after they're no longer a regular part of your life and even after some are gone.
  • Behind every smile is another person's hurt, pain, and whatever battles they are going through.  Think of that before you pass judgement.
  • There is being witty, and there is being mean and hurtful.  Be one and not the other.
  • Don't let Stephanie talk you into returning her homecoming dress to Dillard's for her.  It's just not a good idea at all.
  • This is going to sound horrible, but trust me.  Don't listen to your mother... just don't.  
  • Don't let anyone diminish who you are in order to make themselves feel better.  Don't let them tell you hurtful things in order to get their way with guilt.  People who love you shouldn't do that.
  • Life isn't going to go exactly the way you planned.  The thing is, the journey is amazing and a blessing.  Even during the most difficult of times, God has plans for your life and is right there with you.  He's teaching you with every step forward and every mistake.  Know that.  Know that it's all about the journey, and appreciate each and every day for the blessing that it is.

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