June: All-Nighter

For this month’s #YearOfHappy, the challenge was to do something you always wanted to do as a kid.

Well, like every other month, I’m tweaking the rules. I decided to do something I used to do as a kid that I stopped doing when I became an adult.

I used to stay up all night with my friends during sleepovers just like any other kid. Of course, when I got older I couldn’t do that because I would have school the next day or work or church. There was always something.

Now that it’s summer vacation for me and I have no more school and work is done for a few months, I decided to stay up all night.

I love staying up throughout the night. I don’t know why, but there’s something lovely about being the only one awake in the house. It’s peaceful and I’m guaranteed privacy.

I thought of staying up to write and/or read all night, but then had a different idea.

Because Kris and I are geeks, we’ve always wanted to have a marathon of the three Lord of the Rings and three Hobbit movies. To watch all six in a row would take a little over 21 hours (this counts for the extended edition to all the movies except the latest one). We rounded up to 24 hours because we need to pause for bathroom, snacks, etc.

If we wanted to watch all six movies straight through right in a row, we would have to stay up all night. So that’s just what we did–or what we tried.

We started with the Hobbit movies to watch the story in chronological order. Plus, we’ve never seen The Battle of the Five Armies and we knew we’d cry. So we wanted to get that out of the way.

By the time we finished watching the first two Hobbit movies, it was about 1:30 in the morning. We decided to go to bed. Neither one of us were really tired, but wanted sole focus on the last movie since we’ve never seen it.

We woke up early the next morning and watched the last Hobbit movie and all three Lord of the Rings movies–which ended around one in the morning.

So, we didn’t stay up all night but we did stay pretty late for two nights in a row.

PuzzleWe worked on a Lion King puzzle while watching the movies so I think that was what kept us up. Plus, we bought snacks before we started the marathon. So we were eating plenty of chocolate and such.

I originally thought I would write or read all night long–be productive. Instead, I ended up spending two days not being productive.

It was nice, though. I’ve been on summer vacation for a week, but that was really the first time in a while that I didn’t have anything planned. It was nice to have plans to do nothing.

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April: My Creation

For this April’s #YearOfHappy project the goal was to create something. It could be anything whether it’s something that will stay forever, like a scrapbook or something that will only stay for a day, like a cake.

I was thinking about using one of my novels as my creation, but I talk about my books on here all the time. Plus, I write all the time, too. They’re special, but I wanted to do something different. Something I don’t normally do.

Well, I’ve always wanted to be good at drawing. Kris was born with that natural talent like some people are. She is very good at drawing and I’ve always envied that. I try to draw and I know the more you practice, the easier it will become. However, it’s not a big enough priority for me, so I never practice. I just stick to my writing.

We do like to go to Paint Nite, though. That’s where you go someplace and there’s an instructor that shows you step-by-step how to create a certain painting. You always think it’s going to look like crap, but it never does. With the proper tools and right help, anyone can be a painter. Yours always looks different from everyone else’s (including the original), but they’re all the same picture and all look beautiful.

I went to one with Kris and our friend a few months ago and we had a blast. We decided to go again and brought my other sister along since she’s never gone before.

Here is what the original painting looked like:

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That picture was taken at the Paint Nite with the painting on a high stand, so that’s why it’s kind of far away (I’m short) and baseball is on a TV in the background (we were at a sports bar for this event). This is called Sunset Swim.

The difficulty rating for this painting was easy which was a factor as to why we decided to do this particular one.

The background was easy; the sunset and the pinkish-purple water. The foreground is when I mess everything up. However, my mountains came out pretty good and did my ducks… they look like baby dinosaurs, but they’re still cute.

The ripples and waves… well, that’s where I had trouble. My painting still looks good (if I do say so myself), but I did re-name my painting from Sunset Swim to Sunset Party because the ripples came out looking like confetti.

Here’s mine:

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And there you have it. That’s my beautiful creation for April. I hope you all made something lovely at some point this month as well.

March: Inspiration Board

The March #YearOfHappy was to create an inspiration board. The idea was to create an actual board and hang it somewhere where you can look and admire it every day.

I’ll admit I cheated with this one.

I decided to use my virtual board, so to speak. I add things on there all the time, so why not share it with everyone here? It has everything on there that inspires me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have a board for it.

That’s right… I’m talking about my Pinterest.

I currently have 93 boards. All are things that inspire me. Here are just a few:

Writing (I have writing, research, vocabulary, names, editing, characters, and blogging)
Teaching (I have a general teaching board, plus many different units in their own individual boards, plus special education)
Sunday School
Reading (I even have a board for the books I’ve read)

Considering that I have 93 boards, that’s not even a dent. I have different video game boards like Pokemon and The Legend of Zelda as well as different movies (The Lord of the Rings) and TV shows (Once Upon A Time).

All 93 boards inspire me in more ways than one. If you don’t know me personally, you would just need to look at my Pinterest profile and you’ll get to know to me in an instant.

So, if you want to see the kinds of things I love then I suggest you check out my Pinterest profile.

I add to my boards all the time and I’m sure there will be more than 93 boards in time.

Inspiration

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

I started thinking a bit about my inspiration board for the March #YearOfHappy. The more I thought about it, the more complex it got. Who knew it could actually be difficult to figure out what inspires you?

Anything can inspire you and it can inspire you to do different things.

What inspires me to wake up and go to work every morning? My wonderful co-workers who are fun to work with and teach me a lot. My students who are always able to put a smile on my face and push me to do my best in helping them. My paychecks because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to go to school and when that’s all paid for, I wouldn’t be able to save up for a new car.

What inspires me to go to school? What inspires me to go to church every week and teach Sunday school? What inspires me to babysit? What inspires me to read, write, and blog?

There are so many questions, but I feel as though there are way more answers (which is a good thing).

Maybe someday I’ll do a more elaborate post about everything that inspires me to… well, live my life. For the March inspiration board (which will be posted in about two weeks) I think I’m going to focus on what inspires me to write. Maybe I’ll continue and do more inspiration boards about everything else in my life afterwards.

After all, inspiration is everywhere.

February: Thrift Shop

For February’s #YearOfHappy I’m supposed to go to a thrift shop and buy something for myself that happy me happy, no matter how weird it may be.

Well, lucky for me, my church has a huge thrift shop. It has clothes and shoes for men, women, and children, toys, books, jewelry, handbags, small furniture, blank cards, little trinkets and figurines, CDs, DVDs, etc.

It’s open every Friday morning, but I always browse around Sunday morning before Sunday school starts. The store is a hit or miss; sometimes I find a few things I want and other times I don’t.

However, I kept a special eye out this time. I wanted to buy something new for myself and this post, even though I just bought some new clothes which made me extremely happy.

Guess what I found?

A couple of Pokemon toys.

Yep; I bought two small Pokemon figurines.

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If you know me at all, you know I love Pokemon. I have most of the games, hoping to one day get all of the games (but the older they get, the more expensive they are). I have a few stuffed animals, a bunch of figurines, and of course a ton of Pokemon cards.

I like to collect everything Pokemon even though I don’t really use them. I just like to have them. Every once in a while, if I need a mindless, relaxing activity, I will sit in the middle of my bedroom and reorganize every single Pokemon card I own… it takes a long time.

It’s a weird hobby, I know.

I don’t usually buy this stuff for myself because it’s not something I need. I’m still paying off my school tuition and I’m trying to save up for a new car. So, if there’s something Pokemon related that I really want I’ll ask for it as a birthday gift or maybe buy it myself if I have a gift card.

So, when I found the Pokemon figurines at the thrift shop I was super excited!

I bought the only two there and ended up getting them for free. The ladies who run the thrift shop didn’t let me pay because I already do so much for the church, which was very nice of them.

If you’re joining in on the #YearOfHappy challenge, I would love to hear about what you bought this month.

January Love Letter

Yes, I know it’s February. That just means this post is extremely late.

I found this idea through Topaz‘s blog and she found it on Allison‘s blog. Allison created a hashtag for 2015 called #YearOfHappy. If you click on the link everything is explained, but I’ll explain anyway. Basically every month you do a different activity or work on some sort of project. The point of it is to get a little more out of life, to have fun, and be happy in 2015.

I thought it was a cool idea, so I decided to join in on the fun and give it a go. January’s prompt is to write a love letter to yourself. Of course by the time I found this January was almost over and I already had the rest of January’s posts planned and written.

It’s a little late, but I guess that’s better than never.

Printed and going in my journal for safe keeping.
Printed and going in my journal for safe keeping.

Hi Rachel!

So far so good, right? You’re doing pretty well with what life is throwing you at the moment even if it’s not throwing anything at you.

Last December you mentioned that 2015 was going to be your year when it came to writing. You’re going to get something published (or ready for publication) by the end of the year whether it’s a novel or a short story in a magazine or a quick poem in a contest. You want to have Detective Florence completed by the end of the year. We can do it!

If it’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s how quickly things change. Change hits you when you’re mid-blink and before you know it, you’re dazed and confused and have no idea what just happened.

I know you don’t like change, but it’s inevitable and not all changes are bad. A lot of changes will happen in 2015 (some you know of right now and some only future you knows). Some will be good, some will be bad. You’ll get through them just like you always do.

–Your best friend is going to have her baby any day now. You’re going to be an aunt. While this is a good change, things will be different. There will be no more staying out late at night with her, I’m sure you’ll be texting less throughout the day, and when you do hang out together the baby will always be there. You love babies, but there will be much less time to hang out just the two of you. But that’s okay; you’ll still be friends and you’ll be there for both her and her baby.

–You’re almost done with school. You have about three more months and then you’ll have your bachelor’s degree! I know you wanted to continue with your Master’s, but it’ll be nice to finally be done. 90% of your paychecks will not go to school; you’ll be able to save. Maybe even splurge on yourself once in a while.

–Work is difficult, but it’s worth it. Your co-workers are fabulous and the children are great–even if they sap all your strength. Some do that more than others–you know which kid(s) I’m talking about!

–Your writing is coming along. Detective Florence is on its way, you’ve found some contests and magazines to submit to in the near future, you’ve discovered something a little about yourself through your Creative Writing Nonfiction class, and you found a local writing workshop where you’ll meet new people in the same boat as you and you’ll learn lots of fun, new stuff. I’m sure that will help your publishing goals for this year.

See? This year is going to be just fine! Work hard, but indulge yourself once in a while. Go out more with friends/co-workers. Reach out to people you haven’t spoken to in a while.

You’ll make it, even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes.

Love,

Me

I just wrote that letter right now and I have to admit it took me a while. Plus, I didn’t think it was going to be that long. Apparently I have a lot say.

Anyway, don’t forget to check out Topaz‘s and Allison‘s blogs. Even though we’re already about two months into the year, feel free to join #YearOfHappy. Even if you don’t share it with anyone, it’s fun to do it with yourself.

For December, we’re supposed to look back at this letter and reflect on the year. I wonder where I’ll be a year from now?