Friday, November 17, 2017

Salt Lake Comic Con 2017

 This year we went all out on costumes.  For some unknown reason, other than our apparent desire to torment ourselves, we decided to create two new group cosplays.  One for the contest and one for us.  I gave you an update a while back on our plan but things evolved as they often do.

My husband shaved his head.  I can't remember why he did it and I can't seem to recall if the costume idea inspired the head shaving or if it came about after he shaved his head.  In any case, he wanted to be Emperor Ming.  I think you would agree with me that it was very successful.  

Since my hubby wanted to be Ming, I had to decide between General Kala and Princess Aura.  Since I am not a small woman, most of Aura's costumes were just not going to be in my comfort zone.  Kala worked out great and and I was quite comfortable.  We didn't get many photo requests this year but more than any other year people would smile or stop us to talk about how they loved this movie as a kid.  Peoples faces lit up when they saw us.  That was pretty awesome.  We were scrambling to get all the costumes done and I couldn't have done it without my friend Bonnie's help.

 My favorite part was when someone asked us for a photo and my brother, playing Flash Gordon, was in the background trying to fit in and the guy taking the photo was getting really annoyed this random bozo was photo bombing us.  He finally realized we were all together and felt bad.
 My hubby built our lightsabers from scratch.  I made my lekku using a paper model and painting dragon skin silicon over it.  I sewed all of my hubby and I's costumes including making my very first pattern and my hubby did all the armor.

So now we get to the costume contest.  *sigh*  It was not my favorite part.  It took all but 3 hours of the day.  A day for which we paid admission and got to see nothing of the Con.  Waiting in line for my brother's judging, moving the line, getting moved again, being moved to a side room, finally being called in to get photos, going back to waiting, being called back in for registration, going back to the room to wait, being called back in to stand in line for judging, brother getting judged, going back into the room to wait for group was a long day.  We also had no chance of winning.  People asked me why I was sneering in every photo....a couple of reasons, but the top two are...

  1. I was annoyed. My lip just kept doing that on it's own.
  2. This stuff hurt after a while....not bad but my lekku and custom balaclava were tight to help keep fiber fill stuffed dragon skin on my head.  Don't get me wrong, I thought it looked cool, but by the end of the day I had bruises on my forehead and jaw. 

 There were some absolutely breath taking costumes even in the amateur category but the group cosplays were ridiculously out of our talent range.  The winning group costume was Cinderella and the two step sisters which looked great.. It got even better when they ripped and tore the custom dress they had made for Cinderella on stage to reenact the scene from the movie exactly.  I don't know how they did it but it was all on purpose.  They did it several times during the judging contest and they just reset it.  It was awesome.

Over all we accomplished exactly what we set out to do.  We tried new skills, we tried a new experience and we went out with a bang!  We sure learned a lot of how not to do things but we also were pretty proud of what we put together.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Happy Rock

Life is certainly interesting.  I had a first time preventative health screen yesterday.  I was a little nervous about it. Since I haven't been getting good sleep, and I've been stressed out, I haven't been managing my life well.  I got up yesterday morning to work out and noticed someone had put this little painted rock in our yard.  I've been hearing about this trend from my geocaching friends but it just started out my day reminding me that God saw me.  He knows what I need and randomly, like a lover, surprises me with gifts.  Sure enough, when I got home from my appointment this little rock was gone.  I was really glad I got a picture of it.  There was no rock to remind me today when my body totally rebelled at yoga or when my tasks began to become overwhelming or when I lost my Bible Study book I needed to have completed for tonight.  I still looked for it today.  In that spot I knew it wouldn't be. It's not really about the rock.  It's about choosing to see the little and big gifts that God has given me today, right now, even in the midst of attack and stress and disappointment.  

Has God given you a happy rock today?  Would you notice if He had?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

health is a dirty word

I've had a contentious relationship with my health most of my life.  I get that I am way better off than a lot of people.  I'm not trying to complain.  I was thinking about it because I went to the doctor today.  I'm feeling  sore and exhausted and in general I don't like it when I'm not doing stuff I should be doing.  Today is a not doing stuff kind of day and I'm physically and mentally uncomfortable with that.  I generally feel my worst when I'm trying to improve myself.  Now that I'm working out to lose weight, My hips and joints are hurting all the time.  This is what stopped me before.  Some days you feel like trying to do the right thing carries worse consequences than doing what's easiest.

The most insidious part of spiritual attacks are the doubts that sound like your own voice.  The things you whisper to yourself in the privacy of your own mind. The difference between the truth and whats true is so subtle.  I'm an uneducated, overweight woman with health problems.  All those things are true.  It's not the whole truth.

I know the whole true vs truth and my health issues are a common theme.  I may even be repeating myself.  Sorry about that.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

So I was thinking

Last week was rough.  I was under spiritual attack.  Spiritual attacks are the worst because they don't come from one direction.  Whatever is going on in your life...that's the direction.  Knowing that it's happening does a few things for you though.  It helps you gain perspective and choose to have a better attitude about it.  It also reminds you that maybe you weren't spending as much time with the Lord as you needed too.  Having long term health issues leaves my body drained.  I wake up exhausted on most days and I've got a long to do list that I sometimes have to set aside to lay down for a bit.  I should be sitting at my Father's feet, clinging to his shins, for the strength I need on a daily basis but I have a couple of problems.  Pride and depression.  In the struggle for every day, I forget to put on the armor of God.  I forget that God is my source and I continue to pour out without being filled.
The next month is going to have some unique challenges but that's only because I have projects that are coming due and I've now left myself in the unenviable position of force marching myself to complete the tasks.  It's nothing unusual.  It's life.

So because I like sharing my to do lists with you on occasion...feel free to stop reading now. ;)

Deadline: November

I've started the planning for this years murder mystery.  Idea and concept.  Now all I have to do is write it all.

Deadline: Feels more imminent than it probably is

Read and review a book for family

Start on project I think God is asking me to do or at least preparing me to do or wants me to say yes to.  This one's been on my mind.  I think God wants me to write a book.  So I've been pondering the first question.  Fiction or Non-Fiction.  My knee jerk reaction was to write a Non-Fiction (shocking I know) but the main doubts that have assailed me are these.  Non-Fiction, in my opinion falls into two categories, research and opinion and mostly the first one falls into the second one.  So that requires that either I am an expert or people want to hear my opinion.  You see my dilemma.  Ultimately I am going to step out in faith that God asked this of me and so I'm going to do it.  But it's put a kink in settling on what exactly I'm going to attempt to write.  I'm not stressing yet.  I'm pretty sure God's clearing my schedule starting in September.  I just know that starting the prep work is a vital part of being prepared when God asks you to move.  If He's given me warning in advance, it's for this very purpose, to prepare.

Deadline: September

Comic Con Costumes.  I've told you all what we're doing this year but other than sewing a practice skirt and making a half-hearted attempt at lekku, I've done nothing.  I keep thinking it's because we might lose more weight but I really should be completing these.  I can take them in if I have to but it's got to get done and really I should be doing this instead of the less firm deadline ones.

In addition to these, I still have the marketing for Crossfire and Petrie's and two Bible Studies and the jail and the rest of normal life.  Feels like more than it is.  This week is going to be full of appointments, obligations, growing pains and the firm understanding that I have no choice but to sit at my Father's feet and listen, praise, worship, and be filled.

Monday, July 10, 2017

To my audience of One

Life is a constant state of learning.  I don't mean education per se.  I mean learning.  To varying degrees, depending on the individuals interest and motivation, we all educate ourselves formally or informally.  The modern age has given us educational videos that can teach us anything from how to shave a cat to how an engine works.

I've always seen myself as something of a Jill of all trades and master of none.  Being a perfectionist is a very awkward combination for that particular trait.  If I'm not instantly good at something, I will most likely put it off until I can't possibly do a good job or give up in a melodramatic pity dive into the bed.  You think I'm kidding...ha ha...yeeeeah.  This is not a mature thing to do.  I know this.  I've never had the discipline or stamina to practice enough to get really good at something.  I try stuff, I fail, I half succeed and mostly I fill in until the people who are actually good at this stuff get there.  That's my place.  The in betweener.

This hasn't really inspired a purpose.

As I look forward to the next part of my journey, I know I'm going to be super critical of anything I create.  I don't want my critical nature to stop me from taking the journey and I know part of that is going to be educating myself on how to do a good job and practicing.  So here's to making the effort.  Here's to learning how.  Here's to trying anyway.  Here's to casting aside doubt and negativity and fear.  Here's to life.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Mile markers

Thursday, June 8th, I did something terrifying.  I asked God to give me adventure.

Let me back up for a second.  My friend Pam and I have been doing a Bible Study together on Wednesdays for a while now.  God has really been using them to speak to both of us.  That week, one of the questions asked what our soul was hungry and thirsty for.  The study is about modern day idols and the question was meant to remind us that God meets our needs.  I had a few things I put on that list but the very first one is adventure.  If you had asked me that question when I was a teenager my answer would have been the same.  Belle was my role model in a lot of ways.  Strangely enough, when I thought about it, I had never come before the Lord with that hunger.  Even now I get a thrill of terror presenting it to Him.  It's not because I'm afraid He'll tell me it's a wrong desire.  It's because I'm afraid He might actually give it to me.

I've avoided asking God for a lot of big things.  There have been a couple of memories that have stuck with me and shaped what I was and was not willing to ask God for.  When I was in college we had mandatory chapel.  One of the guest speakers told a story that I will paraphrase for you.  Someone asked God to give them humility and so they split their pants on the way up to speak in front of a large crowd and were thoroughly humiliated.    I think it was meant to be a joke to loosen up the audience but that is all  I remember of what that speaker said.  Despite the fact I struggle with pride, I have been loath to ask God for humility because of that story.

I know that my idea of adventure is an idealized, romanticized version.  I know for sure that God's idea of adventure is different than mine.  His thoughts are higher than my thoughts after all.  But God has been working on softening up my heart and helping me to build trust and asking Him for something that is a long term hunger of my soul is only good and right because pursuing other things to fill that need are idols plain and simple.

So I thought it was important to put a date on this important occasion so that everything that happens next will be viewed in light of the fact that I asked for it.
Don't worry, I'm not injured.  It was a crime scene reenactment for teaching purposes. (Thanks Mark for the pic and the amazing makeup.  I totally freaked people out!  It was awesome)

I'm writing this today because two big things have happened since that prayer and it just occurred to me that I need to view them in light of a prayer for something big.  I was asked to help on a project that I ...well, I can't talk about it but the timing and nature of the request is terrifying and miraculous.  I remember being told that if we feel like life has us a little bit out of control it might be the perfect position to be in because that might mean God is in control and we need to stop trying to take the wheel back.  That's what this feels like.  My insecurities and fears keep trying to jump up and get my attention and they're just not sticking because I am going to live this next step in my life as if I'm following God's will and have nothing to fear, because I am!  

The second thing that has happened are some profound questions about my purpose.  God is literally clearing the way for something in my life.  Without kids or career, am I serving the Lord with everything I have?  Those questions have prompted some dreams I had back-burnered as ridiculous.  I'm going to give it a shot and, succeed or fail, I'm going to try and glorify the Lord to the best of my ability and that will never be a waste.  

Friday, March 10, 2017

Lent me your ears

I'm not catholic but I've found that I'm drawn to seasons of remembrance and reflection.  I have a pretty go, go, go kind of life and don't always have my mind on the spiritual.  So when I heard Lent was starting I thought to myself I should participate.  It's a 40 day period leading up to Easter and is meant to be a time of preparation mirroring Jesus's 40 days in the wilderness.  It's a time of confession and reflection on the sacrifice Jesus made to pay for our sins.  Traditionally this includes fasting but the modern interpretations of fasting have come to include giving something up for those 40 days.  Some people give up TV or pasta.  I got the very clear impression God wanted me to give up noise.  From the moment I wake up to the time I'm falling asleep I'm either listening to a book or have TV on in the background.  It helps occupy my mind while my hands are busy.  God's been hinting that this is a problem.  How can I ever hear from Him if my ears are always listening to something else.  So I agreed and the number 10 popped into my head.....10 hours a day of silence...........................................................................................................................

Um, no God...that is a lot of hours of silence...Like that was just an arbitrary number that I thought of before I did the math....that's not actually what God wants? It can't be, I don't want to do that!

It went on in my head like this for a little while and that's when I knew that was exactly what God wanted me to do and that I really did have a problem.  I'm addicted to noise.  Granted, my noise.  I don't blare heavy metal all day long.  That would be torture.  Nope, my noise is books.  One right after another.  No need to concern myself that I haven't heard from the Lord.  No need to learn how to take my thoughts captive.  Nope, books cure most ills.  Too tired to get chores done and don't want to feel guilty, cue up a story!  

Now, that 10 hours does not include sleeping, I checked.  That's 10 awake hours. Anyway, it's been really hard.  I've had to plan for other peoples noise in my quest to give up 10 hours a day.  That means I have even less of my own noise and my selfish heart has whined...oh yes.  There has even been angry, pouty face.  Totally ashamed.  It has meant that I have had lots of quiet time with God and have gotten a lot of chores done.....nothing motivates you to do something you don't want to do like being bored of just sitting there listening to your own thoughts *shudder*  I'm grateful that God is working on this with me.  It needed to be addressed.  I'm still struggling with looking with dread upon the remaining time, I didn't realize Lent could be so looooong, but I'm looking forward to being closer to my Lord and truly ready to hear from Him.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Stress Progress

Whether you're dealing with a plethora of first world problems or just a few, stress is a problem for most people.  It's linked to all kinds of health issues and generally sucks the joy of life right out the window in my experience. Part of getting a "God checkup" every so often (you know, the search my heart and see if there be any unclean way in me/what are you wanting me to learn/where are my strongholds of sin/which battle am I gearing up for, thing) for me has always included some regret that there are certain areas that I seem to always struggle with.  I know, I know.  I haven't reached the finish line yet...there is no perfection on this earth.  For a long time I couldn't see (or didn't recognize) progress in any area of my life.  Now, God has graciously and kindly shown me some areas that have definite growth and all praise and glory goes to Him on that.

Our house is a little old.  Home ownership has a lot of stresses when it comes to repair and maintenance.  Our first home was a new build and while we didn't live there long enough for maintenance issues we did struggle with a sea of mice and black widows that were displaced from the empty lot behind us when new construction began.  Our second home had black mold and many other issues but when we got one of the estimates for repairing the mold problem I had my first TMJ attack from my jaw stress clenching.  Lack of money or lack of expertise can lead to paralyzing indecision.  My husband and I are not handy people.  Repairing a fence, putting in a water heater, replacing a sump pump....we've done those things...but not well.  We've had some pretty major expenses for our current house.  This week I got a quote for over $19,000 for a repair along with several other thousand dollar repair jobs that need to happen.  It should have been stressful....and I'm pretty sure I'm not stressed about it.  (My body and I don't communicate well so I sometimes don't know when the reactions I'm having are stress related)

Here's the thing, God is using these potential stressers as a test, not for His amusement but for me.  You see, God has been doing a lot but the two I'm going to focus on right now are the long term work and the short term work.

  1. I've been struggling with weight and ever increasing headaches and migraines.  I've tried a lot of things (see previous blog posts) and didn't really believe this "new thing to try" would make any difference.  With reservation I entered into an intention to prepare Whole 30 every day for a month (I didn't think I could give up dairy)  I can say I've lost a little weight but the biggest difference is the decrease in headaches and I haven't had a migraine in weeks.  This is a HUGE deal.  I had a 4 day migraine not too long ago.  I've also had enough energy to get more tasks done which helps my overall mental health.  
  2. I've noticed I hold onto house and money stress much less than I used too.  I have the resources and calm to do what I can to research and make the best decision available.  10, 15 years ago....that was not me.  I'd call my dad. I'd stress out about who to even call for a specific issue. I'd stress about how much it cost and I'd often wait until the problem was worse and it forced me into action.  
Without these situations, and a few spiritual prompts to look, I wouldn't have noticed God had been succeeding in teaching me how to give up worry and stress.  While it's never fun to be out thousands of dollars, I can honestly say I'm bubbling with joy.  It's inexplicable, it's miraculous, it's God!

Monday, January 16, 2017

The costume plan

All right my fellow minions.  It's going to be another very busy year.  We may be adding FanX to our line up of events which will bring the total of Cons to 3 this year.  AHHHH!
Why?  Well, apparently our Power Rangers line up was fairly popular and they want us there for the opening weekend of the movie.  Plus, Weird Al is going to be there this year and I'VE NEVER MET HIM AND THAT WOULD BE EPIC!!!!


We also have planned on Disney this year which will require some planning and we have another family trip this year.  That's a lot of travel.  In addition, my brother has decided that we need to step up our costume game.  He wants to enter the costume contest and SLCC is pretty picky and so we need to get moving on Costumes.

This year my brother wants to do Star Wars.  A good thing to have in the repertoire.  He's doing an original character that is going to be epic.  My hubby is going to attempt a mashup.  Starlord Mandalorian Merc and I'm going to attempt a Sith Inquisitor.  Of course I want to do well enough that I can enter the costume contest too but we'll see.  That's a pretty ambitious costume.

We started by doing the easy thing.  We are making ghetto dress forms.  I taped up my hubby and we are going to fill it up with gap fill foam.  The cold weather has reduced the amount of expansion we got so it's going to take a few more cans to finish this project up.

Next we need to make a list of what we need to make and start experimenting with new materials.

Here's to latex headpieces, thibra armor and some serious attention to my sewing skills.