What’s Up Wednesday | Dec. 2017

Hello lovelies!  I meant to get this blog post up last week, but I just couldn’t find the time to write it.  Thus, here is this month’s edition of “What’s Up Wednesday,” one week late.

Though everyone else posts theirs on the last Wednesday of the month, I’m joining Shay at Mix & Match Mama.

I love “What’s Up Wednesdays,” don’t you?!  It’s always fun to read a recap of what fellow bloggers are up to lately.  Today, we’re talking about:


For months, I’ve been making these oatmeal energy bites into oatmeal bars for an easy on-the-go breakfast for my hubby.

Photo Credit: Hip2Save.com

Similarly, I’ve been enjoying overnight oats now that it’s super chilly in the morning and I don’t have time to make breakfast.  I just heat it in the microwave and I’m ready to go!

Photo Credit: EvolvingTable.com


Our anniversary vacation.  Though Joshua gets several long weekends off for working at a school, I’m always working late as well as on the weekend, so I’m definitely reminiscing about our vacation!  I don’t know when we’ll be able to afford another one, but I can’t wait!


Everything Christmas!  I have been in the Christmas mood since November 1st (well, if I’m honest, I’ve been excited for Christmas since like, September), and I am just soaking it all up!  Christmas carols and holiday decorations are everywhere, and it makes my heart happy.  If only it was colder here in Arizona!


Finishing our Tuesday night class last week, preparing for Christmas, and adjusting to my new work schedule.  I work from 7:30 AM-6:30 PM typically, which means I’m still working 2 1/2 hours after Joshua is off work since his hours are 7-4, so it’s been an adjustment.  I’m exhausted by then and our dinners are late, but to be honest, it’s all good and I am so thankful for the work.  I have such a blessed life. ❤  We just have to get used to the change, that’s all! 🙂


An upcoming doctor’s appointment.  I mentioned last month that I was having awful side effects from an antibiotic I was prescribed at the end of August.  I finally decided to go to the doctor because it just isn’t letting up, so now I’m thinking it’s not just side effects.  I’m pretty anxious about it and what tests/treatment I might need.  It’s also a little scary since I can’t afford health insurance.

I’m also dreading a dentist appointment I have on the 21st.  Back in June, I had some cavities filled and since then, my floss has been catching between two teeth and I think it almost dislodged my filling once because it’s hurt since then.  I am not looking forward to getting work on it again.


Getting into a consistent routine for my new job as well as preparing for school next month!  I’ve always loved coffee, but it’s my life saver these days.


Christmas, lol.  I know everything about this post is Christmas, but it’s the most wonderful time of the year!  I’m also excited to move in April, and I know that’s a while away, but I can’t wait and it’s something positive to look forward to!


Watching: “The Office”!  Joshua & I love it and even though he’s watched through the whole show a couple of times at least, I have never watched all the way through it.  It’s such a great show!

Reading: “All Rights Reserved” by Gregory Scott Katsoulis.  This is one of the books Joshua bought for me on my birthday and, you guys, it’s phenomenal.  I’m only halfway through, so I can’t attest to the ending, but so far it is one of the best books I’ve ever read!  It’s dystopian and the setting as well as the idea behind it is extremely intriguing.  It’s basically about a future world where citizens are charged for every word they speak and every communicative gesture.  In this restricted world,  a girl vows to stay silent in protest of the system.


Christmas music!  Also, hubby bought me an early Christmas present of Skullcandy Crusher headphones, so I’m loving listening to music with them!  They are so helpful for working at home since Joshua gets home before I’m done, and I’m sure they will come in handy for starting school too.


Basically the same as last month, lol.  Leggings, super-high waisted skinny jeans, hoodies, and now that it’s slightly colder, my leather jackets.  Also, I did happen to purchase a tunic and a sweater dress, so I’m loving those over my leggings!


Possibly going to the doctor, shipping Christmas presents, watching Christmas movies and there’s a high probability of a library trip as well.  Maybe hiking?  I still want to try a new hiking trail before the year is out.


Getting back into shape!  We bought a rowing machine the last week of October and I got to use it for a solid week before I caught a stubborn virus that gave me a painful sore throat for three weeks, thus deterring me from working out.  When I was finally better, I got about another solid week in, and I pulled a muscle in my leg, which is still healing.  Whenever I think it’s better and happen to run or skip, the next day I’ll be limping.  Meanwhile, holiday calories are beginning to show.  Ugh, you guys, the struggle!

Also, I’m looking forward to starting school!  A little nervous, but I always loved school, so I’m excited.


We sent out our first family Christmas card this year!  It was so much fun to get a picture of Joshua, Zelda, and I, pick our Christmas card, and get them all sent out.  We haven’t done one as a married couple/family before this year (#newlywedbudgetprobs), so it was wonderfully fun!

In other news, we attended the APS Light Parade here in Flagstaff and it was a blast!  It gets better and more creative every year with all the vehicles decked out in lights.

Also, Joshua’s 26th birthday was on Monday!  We both took the day off work to just enjoy time together celebrating his birthday, sleeping in, going out for brunch, getting coffee, going to Bookmans, getting sushi, spending the evening with his parents for presents & cake, and then ending the night with him playing Super Mario Sunshine (a game he got as a birthday present).  It was wonderful!

Love him so much. ❤

That’s it for this month’s “What’s Up Wednesday”!  I hope you all are having a fabulous week.  🙂

Until next time,

-Tialla ❤


Christmas Decorations!

In the past couple of months, I’ve been in the habit of posting a blog every Friday, and I’ve loved it!  It’s been nice posting consistently and getting feedback on my posts, which I didn’t have for a long time (honestly because I wasn’t involved in the blogging community, so you know, I wasn’t helping my own blog).  Of course, feedback encourages me to keep blogging, so it’s a cycle of positivity! 🙂

I missed posting last week because of all the Thanksgiving and Black Friday wonderfulness, and I feel pretty okay about it.  As much as I love blogging, spending time with my husband when he has extra days off work is more important. ❤ Also, I was just far too busy and exhausted to blog!  Additionally, I missed this week, because as you’ll read, I was completely overwhelmed with work.  Here’s a rundown on what we’ve been up to lately:

–Wednesday: I was cooking/baking all day until my feet were hurting from standing so long.  Note to self: wear sneakers next year while cooking.

–Thursday: Thanksgiving was a full day with more baking and then just enjoying time with family.

–Friday: A packed day of Black Friday shopping with my husband & in-laws (literally from morning ’til dark).

–Saturday: Finally relaxing with Christmas decorating (yay!!).  You better believe we had the works with Christmas music, cozy pajamas, and hot cocoa. ❤

–Sunday: Helping get up my in-laws’ Christmas tree, work, & shopping

–Monday: Meeting with my college advisor and registering for school (also yay!)

–Tuesday: Joshua & I dove headfirst into the work week.  I basically tried to hit the ground running.  My entire week was SLAMMED with work.  It’s wonderful that work is picking up with my new job, but it’s also a slightly overwhelming adjustment.  I may or may not have ended up with a few tears of stress on Friday evening, had to finish up work on Saturday, and had an acne breakout from the stress.  On top of it all, I pulled at least one muscle, if not two or three, while rowing this week, which not only prevented me from working out the rest of the week, and also from walking on Wednesday and Thursday.

It’s been busy, lol. 😉 I haven’t had a chance to read anyone’s blogs–I’m so far behind!  My email inbox is filled to the brim with blog posts that I’m itching to read.

Oooh and I know this is random, but can we just talk about how it’s finally time for the WordPress snowflakes again?!  I love when my blog starts snowing!  It’s admittedly my favorite WordPress feature. 😉

Even with how busy it’s been, I still wanted to post about our Christmas decorations.  I didn’t get to celebrate Christmas much as a teenager, so I am absolutely loving everything Christmas!  The Christmas music station became my go-to channel on November 1st, and I could hardly wait to put the tree up right after Thanksgiving.  We like decorating on Black Friday, but this year was just too packed, so we waited until the next day.

As we have a tiny apartment, a pencil-tree was a must.  We love our little tree, though, and I’m sure even when we have room for a bigger tree, we will always have fond memories of this one as our first Christmas tree together.

We bought a cozy Christmas sign from Michaels for 50% off (#BlackFriday), and wrapped it with round-wire fairy lights.

Also at Michael’s, we were planning on getting a wreath, but we ended up with this super cute snowflake instead!  We fell in love with it since both of us love snow.  It’s perfect for us and is a fun reminder that it’s the most magical time of the year!

Before I continue…I have a confession.  It will be revealed in two ways in this post, so I might as well share it now!  (I’ve been considering sharing for a while anyway, and I think it will make things easier in the long run.)

Tialla is my middle name, and Rising is my maiden name.  I published my first book when I was still a minor, and my parents insisted I use a pen name.  Now that I’ve already published with that name, I feel like it makes since to just keep it up as a pen name for consistency.  However, I don’t mind people knowing my “actual” name, as it’s bound to come out eventually.  So, my name is…

Courtney Tialla Newman

I’ve never mentioned it on my blog before, but I feel like it’s about time.  Letting you guys know that my first name is Courtney doesn’t make Tialla Rising any less of a pen name, it just makes it easier for me to share my lifestyle posts!  I still plan on using Tialla Rising in my published works for the sake of consistency, but now I can also feel free to share a few more lifestyle things that happen to say “Courtney.”

Oh, and as a side note, lots of people still call me Tialla or Tia–including my own brothers–so it’s not like it’s never used in “real” association with me.  🙂

Anyway, our stockings have our initials, so I didn’t want it to cause confusion.  😉  Of course, our darling Princess Zelda must also have her own stocking, because we are totally those people.  #PetParents

I mentioned about registering for school earlier, but I wanted to revisit it (now that I’ve talked about my name).  I’m registered with payment in full, which means I got my student ID!  Not only does it make me feel official, lol, but I’m super excited about getting student discounts with it! 😉

One last thing before I sign off.  I was completely planning on participating in #BLOGMAS this year, but I’ve realized I just can’t with working full-time.  This week alone proved that with me working from 7:30 AM-6:30 PM every day and still having extra work to finish on Saturday.  Even today, I barely found time to get this blog up after work.  If you don’t know, BLOGMAS is where bloggers post every day of December up to Christmas.  I was planning on using a Pinterest photo challenge as my template for BLOGMAS, but it’s just not going to happen this year.  That’s okay, extra work is good, and I’m trying to remind myself of that.

My husband and I have yet to find an advent calendar in town and it’s already December 3rd!  We’re a little behind, lol.

That’s it for now!  I’m hoping I’ll have time to throw together a “What’s Up Wednesday” post this week for the first of December!  Fingers crossed, haha. 😉

Until next time,

-Tialla ❤

What’s Up Wednesday | Nov. 2017

I’ve seen several bloggers participating in “What’s Up Wednesday” posts and I love them, so I figured, why not make it part of my blog too?!  The only difference is almost everyone else posts theirs the last Wednesday of the month to link up with Shay at Mix & Match Mama, and while it makes total sense to link up, my OCD is begging me to do it on the first week of the month.  So here I am, and happy November 1st!

If you don’t know, “What’s Up Wednesday” is basically just a fun recap on what’s going on this month in my life!  I hope you enjoy it! 🙂


I try to mix up our food as much as possible, and I rarely repeat a recipe.  Our staples are definitely ground beef and chicken, but I like throwing shrimp, meatballs, ribs, drumsticks, or kielbasa in when I can.  This week is a variation of Italian (homemade pizza), Asian (shrimp fried rice), Mexican (fajitas and huevos rancheros), and classic American (biscuits & gravy).  Regarding desserts, I made these pumpkin snickerdoodles on Saturday, and they are phenomenal cookies.  They stay soft and are mouth-wateringly delicious with white chocolate chips.

Photo Credit: Sally’s Baking Addiction


This is probably weird, but to be honest, I’m reminiscing about before August, when I had to take a ridiculously strong antibiotic–to which, it turns out, I’m slightly allergic.  I’m upset the doctor prescribed it to me because there was no reason I needed that strong of an antibiotic.  My body still hasn’t recovered from the damage it incurred.  I’ve been sick in various ways since then as it wiped out all the good bacteria and is still preventing them from creating new strains.  I experienced a range of awful side effects, and some still continue, and may continue for months according to the fine print.  I was on the antibiotic back in August and I’m still taking like 4 billion probiotic cultures a day to fix the damage it wreaked on my system.  So, beware of Clindamycin, my friends.  It’s not friendly.

Again, I know this is weird to “reminisce” about, but I feel like this is just life sometimes and I truly do miss how I felt before the antibiotic caused so much damage.


Everything autumn.  Halloween, leggings, sweaters, boots, hot drinks, colorful leaves, the brisk air, fall baking….  I could go on and on.  The beginning of October felt wonderfully like fall with a huge temperature drop and trees bursting with color.  The sudden transformation felt as if we turned the page to a new chapter.  Unfortunately, around the second week, summer decided it wasn’t done yet and the temperatures soared again.  They haven’t quite gone back down yet, but I’m still choosing to love everything about the “season” of fall anyway.  It’ll be winter before we know it!


Going on as many adventures as we can! This past month we had fun with the Snowbowl Sky Ride, got our very first tattoos, put up Halloween decorations, made Pumpkin Juice, explored the decorations around our complex, watched Halloween movies, got over (rather, we’re getting over) a flu bug from my husband’s work, continued to enjoy our weekly Tuesday night class, and more.  We also just invested in a rowing machine, so it’s been awesome working out at home.


I’m currently studying to take a placement test at our community college.  I have always had a really hard time with tests, so I’m very nervous.  Math and I don’t get along well.  The worst part about it is I can learn the math and understand it, but I always forget the formulas and draw a blank when I need them.


Other than getting settled at college to take classes in January, I’m working on my novel!  This has slightly been put on hold right now when I realized I needed to study math for the placement test to refresh my memory, but I’m biting at the bit to get back at it.  I love the story and I can’t wait to polish the first draft!  Unfortunately, the writing juices in my brain feel painfully sluggish, so I’m at a loss for how good this will truly turn out.

My husband snagged this picture of me while I was editing one night. 😉


The holidays!  I absolutely cannot wait for Thanksgiving and Christmastime!  It’s literally the best time of the year, and I’m giddy just thinking about how close it is.  I am ecstatic for Christmas and everything that comes with it!

I’m also very excited because I just got another job!  For those who haven’t been following my blog very long, I had two jobs at the beginning of the year and had to quit one in June.  I’ve been looking for another since then, and I finally found one.  I will be a content writer for a company called Textbroker.  I’m both very excited and nervous about starting!


Watching: “Glee.”  I started the show in 2015 and still haven’t finished it, so hubby and I decided to crack down on it within the last month and finally finish it.  Not only do I want to finish the show to see the ending, but I’m also nervous Netflix will take it off since it’s been on there a while.

Reading: “The Invisible Library,” by Genevieve Cogman.  It’s different than my typical style, but I’m a bibliophile, so anything about books and librarians is perfect for me!  It’s intriguing, and if you love books, you’ll enjoy it.  I haven’t had much time to read lately with studying for the placement test, but I’m trying to get through it as fast as possible to make my Goodreads reading goal this year.  I’m a slow reader, so I pledged twenty books this year and I’m currently three behind.  I don’t mind being a slow reader since I feel like I absorb more that way, but I’d really like to finish this challenge!


The pop hits station on our cable, lol.  I put that on everyday during work, so I typically just listen to whatever they play.  However, my get-ready music has been unashamedly my Disney Pandora station for several weeks, and I’m also loving whatever I can catch of Taylor Swift’s new album, “Reputation”!  It’s so good, you guys.


Mostly leggings.  I really can’t resist them when they are on sale, and the sales are everywhere right now!  I especially love the ones with cute prints, though not necessarily seasonal because I’d like to wear them whenever.  I recently found a suede pair and a plush pair and they are amazingly comfortable.  Ooh, also, on the first of October I like to do a little shopping annually, and this year I bought two pairs of 50% off “super high-waisted skinny jeans” at Kohl’s.  I have been wanting high-waisted skinny jeans for a while, so these were a steal.  You guys.  I never knew how much more comfortable they were!  I am completely sold on them now.


Sleeping, lol.  Truly, I’m not quite certain yet.  For several weeks, Joshua & I have wanted to try a new hiking trail, so we might do that.  I’ll also still be studying arithmetic and algebra to keep my memory fresh for my placement test.  (I cannot wait for this test to be over.)  We have church on Sunday as usual and we always do the music, so we’ll be preparing for that on Saturday.  Also, I will be working on Sunday afternoon like always, and we will go grocery shopping Sunday evening like always.  We are creatures of habit, lol.


Basically everything I’ve already mentioned, haha.  Thanksgiving, getting my placement test out of the way, meeting with a college advisor to create a game plan, starting with Textbroker, and enjoying fall!  Also, hopefully getting a lot more editing accomplished on my novel.

Oh, and it’s Zelda’s adoption month!  The 26th will make a full year since she became part of our family! ❤


I’ve been getting a lot of books and movies from the library.  On my last trip to the library, I checked out a book for my husband, but when I looked at my account online, the book isn’t listed.  This has never happened before, so I’m not really sure what to do, other than call them and explain what is going on.  The detectors didn’t even beep when I walked out, so I have no idea how this happened, haha.

That’s it for “What’s Up Wednesday”!  I hope you enjoyed it and that I didn’t drag on too much.  Until next time!

-Tialla ❤

A Second Job

I feel like it’s been quite a while since my last post, though in reality it hasn’t been overly long.  I suppose it just feels like a long time because every moment of every day for me has been SO dang busy.

Nearly every day of January, other than working, was spent looking for a second job.  Just after New Year’s, Joshua and I decided that it would be a helpful idea for me to find a second job, if possible.  I won’t go into details, but we have about six big expenses coming up this year, two of them medical, and we realized with our current income, it would be quite difficult to find the necessary funds.  Thus, the job search.


Lord willing, after submitting six applications and multiple inquiries, I heard back from a company and within two weeks (filled with studying, passing a qualification assessment, and all the legal stuff), I started work!  Technically, my first day was February 1st.  As of now, I’ve completed four full work days and I’m enjoying the job!  I’m just grateful for the extra income and something else to put on my resume. 🙂

Same. ;)

Same. 😉

For those of you wondering, my second job involves me being a Social Media Evaluator for Appen.  I’m extremely grateful for another work-from-home job, which enables me to still take care of dinner and some quick things around the house on breaks.  Combining this job with my original job, I honestly can’t express how grateful I am for the opportunity to work an eight-hour day completely from the flexibility of my computer!  It is such an incredible blessing. ❤  I know it won’t last forever, so I am certainly wanting to enjoy it and be grateful for it while this is my situation. ❤


Anyway, that’s been my life lately!  I also barely started editing my NaNoWriMo novel, but that was the day before I started work for Appen, so since then I haven’t had a chance to get back to it.  I’ll have to figure out a time to do so!

Until next time,

-Tialla ❤


I bought new glasses!


For those of you who don’t know, in order to see clearly, I need glasses.  I started wearing my first pair of glasses at age twelve.  However, when I was sixteen, I was tired of dealing with my glasses (there are numerous cons to wearing glasses for those of you who don’t know), and I figured, my vision wasn’t that bad, so I stopped wearing them.  I didn’t get contacts (I’m still freaked out by all the risks involved with contacts), I just quit wearing glasses.  I also did some research about whether or not this would damage my eyes in the long-run, but the resounding answer was no.  Satisfied, I placed my glasses in my dresser.  That is, other than when I drove. 😉

Five years passed.  Skip forward to a few months ago.

My husband knows that I need glasses to see properly, and he’s always encouraged me to wear them, but I’ve still chosen not to.  However, recently, I started to notice some actual problems with not wearing my glasses.  For example, say my husband would be pointing to something he noticed in the distance, and when I looked to see it, I literally wouldn’t even know something existed there.  It wasn’t just that the shape was blurry, it was that it completely blended in with everything else because of the blurriness.  More and more I noticed not being able to read menus at fast food places, or not knowing if someone across the room was talking to me or my husband if they didn’t ask a direct question and I couldn’t tell who they were looking at.

So yes, problems.

I’m not sure how I went this long without it becoming an issue because my eye doctor didn’t see a change in my eyes this year.  Perhaps it’s because I now have someone actually pointing things out to me, and previously I just assumed nothing was there since I couldn’t see it.

Because, you know, my sight wasn’t that bad.

Well, that phase of reluctance and denial has ended.  My hubby began to encourage me more and more to wear my glasses, but I just didn’t like my current pair.  They worked for driving, but they were frameless, so they had a lot of glare, as well as they slid down all the time.  Thus, I decided that in order to start wearing my glasses again daily, I would need the necessary motivation of a new pair of glasses.

Thankfully, I heard of Zenni Optical, which pretty much revolutionized the whole getting glasses ordeal.  Their glasses are inexpensive, high quality, and custom made.  You can upload a photo of yourself to “try them on” and browse hundreds of frames.  I ended up spending $30 for a pair of glasses, and that included shipping!  They did not sponsor me at all for this, by the way, I just happen to love them!

My glasses came in the mail yesterday, marking the beginning to my journey in adjusting to daily life with glasses again.  Can I just say, though, that I LOVE my glasses?  The size, the shape….  Also, the lenses look like they are almost nonexistent.  I can’t get over it–my glasses look like they are just frames unless a glare is on my lenses.  I’m sure that this will probably go away as the lenses get exposed to different elements, but I still think it’s just so neat.

Another great thing is that these glasses hardly ever slide down.  I’m so happy with them, and they definitely help me feel more comfortable with wearing glasses again!

I thought it would be fun to post photos of my glasses through the years, from starting at twelve-sixteen and then today.

My first pair of glasses at age 12!

My first pair of glasses at age 12!

Second pair at age 14

Third pair at 16! (These are the frameless ones I mentioned.)


And then today’s at age 21. 😉


Anyway, I just thought it would be fun to write an update about my new glasses and the start to this more “clear” phase of my life. 😉

Until next time,


The Dry Well | A Writing Update

The Dry Well {A Writing Update}

Some, or perhaps all, of you may have noticed my lack of blogging for quite a while.  A large part of this absence from blogging in the past 11 1/2 months (wow, almost a year!) has been due to God bringing a very special man into my life–the man I now call my husband.  However, it’s been longer than that since my consistent blogging, probably since I published my second novel, “Where Shadows Lie” in June of 2015.  Ever since I decided to take a break from writing at that point, I haven’t blogged very much.  It’s been one post here or there, every month, or couple of months truly.  My blog has become a place for general updates–how I spent my summer, haircuts, big news, dating, engagement, and marriage.

I would like to take back my blog to the place I consistently updated, but I’m not even sure how to now.  It’s been so long, and my life has changed so drastically since that was a priority for me.  I started this blog when I was fourteen and in school and now I’m nearly twenty-one, married, and working.  Life is 100% different in every way.  I feel like I have grown up with this blog, but I don’t quite know where to go with it now.  I don’t even read blogs like I used to–I have severely cut back on my blog subscriptions and I only follow at most five blogs now.  I am more particular about what I put energy into reading, and I hardly update my blog because I just don’t know what to write.  I love my life, but it simply isn’t fascinating enough to share about all the time.  Honestly, I feel like that has a large part in all this: what to write.  And that actually brings me to the topic I wanted to share.

I am a writer and a published author.  Writing is my passion and nothing else quite compares to the thrill of seeing a book go from an idea to a published novel in the hands of readers.

It kills me that I have absolutely zero passionate story ideas to follow right now.  I am dying to start writing a new book and begin that process all over again; to experience the joy of a story unfolding before my eyes as I type away.  The truth is, my imagination feels like a dry well right now.  Perhaps I need to just wait for things to settle down with my marriage and then I’ll have an idea to run with.  People ask me when my next book will be out, they wonder what I’m working on…because surely, as an author, I always have a ready spring of ideas to pull from.  I watch my favorite authors as they release book after book, year after year, and I can’t help but marvel how they have all these great ideas–they never run out!

So, to be completely honest, I’m a bit at a loss right now in my writing.  But I refuse to give up and I am keeping my imagination wide open for an idea that I can latch onto and mold into a story.  I have high hopes that I just need to wait for life to settle a bit, and then it will come to me.  We will see, I suppose!

The same concept applies to blogging.  I still don’t know how to start consistently blogging again because I simply don’t know what to write about.  Perhaps I will post more book reviews here, but even as much as I love books, those reviews don’t feel personal enough for my blog.  Perhaps I will post more vlogs, but I have a hard time filming those because I’m such an introvert.  Or perhaps, through trial and error, I will find something that suits me, and discover my blogging niche.

Until then, thanks for sticking with me, friends!


Wrapping up 2015

Happy 2016!  It has been quite a while since I’ve shared a personal post here on the blog, hasn’t it?  Well, no fear, I’m here to change that today! 😉  Since it is the beginning on 2016, I thought it would be nice to wrap up 2015 with sharing the biggest and most positive moments for me that occurred.  2015 wasn’t my favorite year, but it still had some huge blessings and I’m so thankful for God taking me through it and being by side for every moment…even in the darkest hours.

Participated in my first cover reveal and blog tour.  I have been part of other authors’ cover reveals and blog tours and I always thought they were fantastic ideas, but I hadn’t had one for myself yet.  In May, Shane over at Itching For Books hosted my very first cover reveal for the upcoming release of my book “Where Shadows Lie.”  In August, she also hosted the blog tour, and I had quite a bit of fun with both!  I definitely love the cover reveal idea, but I’m not so sure I’m partial to blog tours for myself.  I don’t know if I will be doing another for upcoming books, but it was great to have the experience!

Published my second novel.  This point pretty much goes along with the last one, but publishing my second book was certainly a huge highlight of 2015!  Some days I thought it would never be finished! Haha!

Manned a booth at the AFHE Convention.  As most of you know, I manned my own booth once again in 2015 at the two-day homeschool convention in the book fair section.  I have done this three times total and they have all been a blast, so it was definitely a highlight of my year!

Disney Costume Party.  I dressed as the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland for a Disney costume party in July and it was so much fun!  I loved stepping into his shoes for a night. 🙂

Attended a Lindsey Stirling concert.  I adore Lindsey Stirling.  I think she is incredibly talented and what she can do with a violin is unparalleled in my opinion.  Therefore, when I had the opportunity to see her in concert for the second time, I jumped on the opportunity.  It was absolutely amazing, and you can watch my video all about it here.  ’Twas a definite positive moment in 2015!

—Chopped off my hair.  In August, I made a scary decision and had my hair cut much shorter than I had had it in YEARS.  Even though it was a huge change, this was the first haircut I’ve ever walked away from that I’ve felt completely confident with.  The response to my haircut was quite varied—some people loved it, some people wanted my longer hair back and said the short hair didn’t suit me.  However, I still loved it!  I’m currently growing it out just because I get bored very easily with my hair at any length. 😉

Changed churches.  I’m not going into details, but the week after I cut my hair, I decided to leave the church I had been at for the past seven years or so, maybe longer, I don’t quite remember.  My whole family decided to change as well and we have migrated to a wonderful new church, and it has definitely been one of the best decisions made ever!

Celebrated my 20th birthday.  In September, I turned twenty.  We celebrated by spending an entire weekend with some amazing friends, all of whom I am so VERY thankful for.  It was the best birthday I have ever had, no one has ever gone out of their way to make my birthday as special as they did.  It was absolutely mind-blowing!

Pierced my upper ear cartilage.  I’ve always thought that upper ear cartilage piercings look cute, but I never had the bravery to do it until a couple weeks after I turned twenty.  I went ahead and had it pierced and I LOVE it!  It was way less painful than my ear lobe piercings and far more fun!  One of my best decisions ever!

Met the love of my life.  I don’t know if any of you have guessed this from when I said that 2015 completely turned around in September, but meeting this amazing guy is definitely the reason why.  Even with all the other highlights, there was a whole bunch of negativity infiltrating 2015, making it out to be a pretty hard year in my opinion, until I met the man who is now my best friend of all time in the history of ever.  I am so thankful for my absolutely incredible boyfriend, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us!  I feel extraordinarily blessed, and I can’t thank God enough for bringing my love into my life!


Until next time,