Our Six-Month Anniversary

(Heads up that this will indeed be a mushy post. 😉 )

On Tuesday, January 10th, Joshua and I celebrated our six-month wedding anniversary.  It’s absolutely amazing to me that it has already been half a year since we said, “I do.”  These past six months have simply flown by.  With each month that passes, I’m reminded of the reality of the saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun.”  I know without doubt that I’m going to blink and we’ll both be decades down the line, amazed at the time that has sped by.

fav-182

I think back on what has happened these past months since our wedding ceremony, and it just blows my mind.  Various aspects of work (both Joshua’s and mine), family, friends, aspirations, hopes, plans, goals, projects, and routines…so much has happened, and so much has changed from the day before our wedding.  What an adventure we’ve had so far, both good and bad, and I wouldn’t want to spend this life with anyone else.

fav-201

This was the caption I posted on my social media for our anniversary post:

“How has it possibly already been half a year since we said our vows? These past six months have simply flown by. To think, when we had been dating for six months, you proposed, and now we have been married for six months! As I tell anyone who asks, marriage is the best thing ever. Always having my soulmate, best friend, and lover by my side each and every day, through thick and thin. Knowing that no matter what, he is there for me. Many things may happen during the day, but at the end of the day, we have each other. Since July, our lives have seen many changes. Ebb and flow with both the good and the bad, the exciting and the mundane, but the constant is the fact that we still have each other. I’m so grateful to share this life with you, Joshua, to always have you here to support and encourage me, and to give me the blessing of always being there for you, supporting, and encouraging you. And most importantly, I’m so grateful to the Lord for bringing us together, as well as for giving us the humbling opportunity to mirror Christ and the Church with our marriage. It’s such a blessing to settle in married life with you, Mister, to figure out how to be married together, to be your helper, and to go on this journey together, hand in hand. I’m so excited to see where God takes us. Happy six months! I love you to the moon and back! <3″

fav-551

We celebrated our anniversary starting with a meal of homemade biscuits and gravy.  This was my first time making both homemade biscuits and gravy and I have to say, I LOVED how they turned out!  Definitely will be repeating.

If this doesn't look appetizing, I apologize, but it really was DELICIOUS! :)

If this doesn’t look appetizing, I apologize, but it really was DELICIOUS! 🙂

After dinner, we headed to the movies to see Rogue One (thanks to my in-laws for a movie theater Christmas gift card!).  It was a wonderful time out together, especially since we can rarely afford to go to the theater these days.

img_2158

Happy halfway anniversary, my love!  I can’t wait to see what these next six months (and beyond) hold for us.

fav-662

-Tialla ❤

 

The Polar Express!

This past Saturday, my father-in-law’s company provided all of us with tickets to ride on the Polar Express train in Williams, AZ.  When we first heard about the opportunity earlier in the week, I must say I was overly excited.  Though I’ve lived in Flagstaff for going on seventeen years, I’ve never been on the Polar Express, and I’d heard many wonderful stories about it.  Not only are the book and the movie both classics, the story is timeless.  With Christmas cheer, we carpooled with my husband’s family down to Williams and boarded the Polar Express at dusk.  A friend offered to take a photo of all of us together:

img_2151

I loved how this train was modern, yet retained some old-time charm.  For example, the wooden frames around the windows, the pull shades, and the luggage racks strewn with Christmas lights.  The slightly rustic feel to the train helped bring me into the story with little difficulty!

After everyone boarded and a few instructions from the “Chef” in our train car, we were off!  The train ride is only about an hour round trip, so the fun started immediately with delicious cookies and hot chocolate.  My sister-in-law took a photo of Joshua and me when we were back in our own seats:

15826653_197635434040357_7859682058616621578_n

Before long, the ticket inspector came through, just like in the movie, and stopped by each seat to punch enough holes to form the letter “P” in each ticket.  He was hilarious and played the part quite well.

img_2153

From the start of the journey, Christmas music was played through the speakers.  We passed through the “magic tunnel” (honestly, that was a little disappointing…it was more like a bridge with flashing lights), and just after that, they began to read the book, “The Polar Express,” out loud.  To help us all keep up with the story, the “Chef” passed up and down the aisle to show the illustrations in the book to all the passengers.  Not long after the story was finished, we learned that we were coming up on the North Pole.

I think that they created a cute setup with the lit buildings on either side of the train, Mrs. Claus reading, Santa and an elf waiting out by the reindeer, as well as a beautifully illuminated Christmas tree.  However, I did expect at least some fake snow and more elves, so it was missing the “wow” factor of the magical North Pole.

When we came to the end of the North Pole, the train slowed, began to reverse (apparently there was “caribou” on the tracks), and when we passed by the reindeer again, Santa had disappeared.  Of course this had all the kids whirring with excitement.  The Chef soon informed us that Santa was on the train and we had to sing, “Here Comes Santa Claus” as he visited everyone on each car.  When he did reach our car, there was a cacophony of shouts, giggles, and laughter.  He gave each person a bell with a ribbon (which we may or may not have given as a toy to our kitten *cough, cough*), and the train ride was finished off with more Christmas carols and dancing in the aisle.

We had to commemorate the train ride with a selfie!

All in all, I loved it!  It was such a fun way to finish off the holidays, especially since after January 1st it feels rather like going cold-turkey, and it’s always a little sad to me.  This was a wonderful way to bid adieu to the holidays until later this year!  I’m sure the fun was in part to experiencing the train ride with my in-laws.  It was simply a wonderful time with all of us laughing, joking with each other, singing along, making fun of Santa (shh, don’t tell), making fun of each other, and more.  I am so blessed to have the amazing in-laws that I do!

If you ever have the chance to take a ride on the Polar Express at Christmastime, I’d say go for it!  It was a fun experience, and honestly, everyone got into it–adults and children alike!  There was just something about it that brought everyone together.

-Tialla ❤

Happy New Year!

happy-new-year-colorful-fireworks-over-city-animated-gif

I can hardly believe it’s January 1st already.  While 2016 had a lot of downs, it also had some major “ups” for me, such as marrying the love of my life.  However, I can’t say I’m sad to see 2016 go, and I’m hoping that 2017 is an even better year.  I guess we will see!  We never know what hand we will be dealt, but we can chose how we respond to it, and that’s my goal for this year!

Happy New Year, everyone!

-Tialla

Finished!

Merry Christmas, everyone!  Can you believe it’s already only four days until Christmas?  Where has December gone??

I just wanted to post an update on here that I FINISHED my novel!  I actually finished it back on December 14th, but I’ve been so busy with preparing for Christmas, job stuff, being a wife, dental issues, church, finances, keeping our kitten from destroying our apartment, shopping, and more, that I just haven’t gotten around to it until now.  It’s been quite the month!

exhausted

However, since finishing my book, despite everything else going on, I’ve still been able to step back for a moment and sigh with relief.  It truly is the best feeling ever to finish an entire first draft of a novel.  Though I still have lots of editing and revisions ahead of me I’m sure, just knowing that the story from start to finish is down on paper, not just swimming around in my head, is an incredible feeling.  The story is there; now I have to polish it.  Also, considering I was starting to become a little fearful that I wouldn’t finish, I’m pretty relieved.  In fact, I was so determined to finish my book that I wrote 7,000 words on December 14th.  Which, if you don’t know, is a LOT.  Especially for one day.

r2d2

I wrapped up “The Cursed Blessing” at a total of 77,400 words.  I was aiming for somewhere between 70k and 80k, so I’m quite pleased with the result.  I have hopes to reach 80k in the editing process, but I guess we will see.

This book has been completely different from my other two novels.  Not only is it the shortest novel I’ve written, but it was the easiest to write by FAR, and it had the most fleshed-out/developed outline.  While my outline for my second book was simply a page with a “timeline” of plot events, the outline for TCB sat at over 6500 words, with each notable scene jotted down from the beginning to the end.  While I had to revise the outline for my second book about three times while writing the book, the outline for TCB stayed true and worked for the entire book.

I can’t help but wonder if my latest novel is shorter due to the fact that I had a stronger outline and a more developed concept of the book before even starting it than I had for either of my other books.  Thus, I was able to be more concise in my writing.

Another difference between TCB and my other novels is point of view.  For my two published novels, I wrote from various points of view, the main character being in first person, and then other parts of the story from different character points of view while using third person.  For TCB, I stuck to the main character’s head, in first person point of view.  The reader only knows what she knows, and honestly, I really liked that.  It makes sense that not writing scenes from other character points of view would shorten the book as well.

Though there is this entire idea behind NaNoWriMo of “quantity, not quality” (which, for a time bothered me, though I learned this November that they just meant you can always edit later–you can’t edit a book that doesn’t even exist to begin with), I do believe this book is my best work of “quality, not quantity.”

But I guess I’ll see if that still seems true when I start editing sometime in January. 😉

indeed-harry-potter

Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know that I finished and after New Year’s I will start editing it, life permitting that is.  Work and being with my husband take priority.  For now, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

merry-christmas-greeting-gif-20

-Tialla ❤

*Phew* It’s December!

The last time I graced this blog, I was considering doing NaNoWriMo, and if you don’t remember that blog post, you can read all about it here.

The reason for my absence since then has been preparing for and participating in said NaNoWriMo.  And I am happy to say that I finished my 50,000 words on my story with one week to go in November!  It was incredibly fun to sit down and pound out those words, oftentimes more than I needed, and watched the progress bar increase as I updated my daily word count.  Also, watching my writing buddies update their word count was a large part of the fun.  Writing a novel is usually such a solitary project that it was so nice to feel that community and sense of camaraderie as we all worked toward the same goal of 50k in thirty days.

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_winner

My book is not finished, but I only have about one-fourth left to write.  I’m currently at 56,000 words and I’m still trying to keep up the momentum of writing each day so I can finish this novel.  That fear of not finishing is starting to get to me, and I will do nearly anything to keep that from happening. So I keep telling myself, “I will finish, I will finish, and I will finish soon.”

I’d like to think that motivating self-talk is helping.

I may not be writing as much daily as I was during NaNoWriMo, but each word written is still more than I had the day before, and as my husband would say, that’s what matters.

Also, speaking of my husband, he rocks.  He spent all of November being my biggest encouragement, motivation, and simply put, my biggest fan.  I had my own personal cheerleader of sorts.  He spent each and every day telling me how much I could totally do this, and how he knew it would be amazing.  Yep, he’s amazing, and ladies, he’s mine. ❤

Now my goal is to simply finish this book before Christmas, preferably by the first half of December.  I’m planning on letting it sit until after New Year’s, at which point I will return to it with my red pen and edit the crap out of it.  I’ve promised my husband the very first read, and then my sister-in-law, a good friend of mine, and possibly an author friend.  I still don’t know if I will publish this book; I guess I will have to see how I feel about it once I’ve completed at least one round of editing.

For those of you who don’t know (that is, those of you who don’t follow me on my other social media), my book is titled, “The Cursed Blessing.”  Here is the synopsis:

“Crossing the ocean didn’t turn out quite how she expected.  Actually, not at all how she expected.  As she’s dragged through the icy water and she gulped her last breath of air, she knew this was the end.  But was it?”

Vague, but purposeful.  Also, book summaries are the bane of my writing existence.  (I know nearly every writer can attest to this as well.)  I wanted to spend more time writing the book itself than crafting the perfect summary, for now.

My designer for “Where Shadows Lie” created a cover for my NaNoWriMo book, which I simply love!

tiallarising

And yes, there are mermaids.  You can get excited.  I know I am. *throws confetti*  I’m pretty sure I’ve always wanted to be a mermaid, so this book has been so much fun for me.  As a side note, this has been my first time writing fantasy and I am really loving it!  I’m sure I’ll be returning to fantasy again.

If you don’t hear from me again before the New Year, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours!

merry-christmas-gif-3

-Tialla

Thoughts on NaNoWriMo?

I’ve decided on doing NaNoWriMo this year!  For those of you who don’t know, November is National Novel Writing Month.  I haven’t done it before, and I’ve had hesitations due to the fact that I usually like to focus on quality, not quantity.  However, since I’m having a hard time getting back into writing, maybe just getting those words down on paper is exactly what I need.  After all, I can always focus on quality in the editing phase, after NaNoWriMo.  I may not succeed in finishing the novel during November, or maybe I will, who knows.  Also, even if I do succeed, this book might not end up published simply because I’m not doing NaNoWriMo to publish another book; I’m doing it for the joy of writing.  And because of that very fact, I’m very excited.  No pressure to perfect a book for readers; just writing to write.  Maybe that’s what I truly need to get into writing again, because it might be the whole process of publishing that is intimidating in the back of my mind somewhere, keeping me from pouring myself into it again.  Next month starts the serious planning stages, and I can’t wait!

I explain a lot more about my thoughts on NaNoWriMo in my latest vlog:

The Coconino County Fair

The county fair rolled into town this past weekend!  My family and I have gone to the fair every year for as long as I can remember.  It’s been a first-weekend-of-September tradition.  However, this year, Joshua and I were able to experience it together as a married couple!  Joshua has lived here in Flagstaff for a couple of years, but he hadn’t gone to the fair until now, so I felt rather honored to be the one to show him around.

The fair lasts four days and though my family and I would typically go on the first day (also known as “School’s Day”–when all the schools took field trips to the fair, including homeschoolers), Joshua and I didn’t end up going until the last day.  We also didn’t go until the afternoon, which unfortunately was fairly close to the end of the fair, so a lot of booths were already packing up.  However, it was still lots of fun.

(I forgot to take pictures other than on Snapchat, so you’ll have to forgive me.) 😉

img_1957

Upon entering the fair, we immediately headed for the food, because let’s be honest–that’s the best part of the fair.  We both LOVE funnel cakes, which was actually one of the first things we talked about when we initially began dating, haha!  We requested this funnel cake with powdered sugar, hot fudge, and caramel, which was fantastic! (As a side note, it was a bit of a breezy day, which meant I ended up with powdered sugar all over my shirt, pants, skin, and purse!  Haha!  Ah, the joys of powdered sugar.)

img_1959

And of course, what is a county fair without cotton candy and kettle corn?  Cotton candy was really just for the nostalgia, but the caramel kettle corn was delicious!  Sweet and salty!

img_1960

All in all, it was a wonderful time!  We walked through the food vendors, then continued onto the booths and exhibits as I pointed out various places I had entered items when I was younger.  We didn’t have a chance to go on rides as they are very expensive, but it was still fun showing them to Joshua!

Do you enjoy attending county fairs?  What is your favorite part of the fair?

-Tialla