The One - The Only - NANOWRIMO!!!

I am super excited for NaNoWriMo this year.

I have done NaNo twice now (two years). In case you are unaware of what NaNoWriMo  is, allow me give you a brief explanation...

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is where you set a word-count goal for yourself (kids can set any goal; adults have to do 50,000 words or more) and try to write a novel in a month. The website gives you helpful encouragement, story ideas, and more. You can track your word count, add other friends who are doing NaNo and view their word count goals, give an excerpt of your story, and more.

I absolutely love NaNoWriMo and think it is fantastic. The first year I did it, I wrote my novel "Tania's Faith," which I have since self-published. I had set my word goal as 50,000 words (which is a LOT for once month) and had gotten busy and thought that there was no way I could finish my novel on time. Well, I became determined to finish all 50,000 words by the end of the month. Sure enough, on the last day of November, late at night, I finished all 50,000 words and my first completed novel. I was more proud than I have ever been in my life! That was one of the best moments of my life. The feeling of accomplishment was amazing!

My second year taking part in NaNoWriMo, I set a more reasonable word-count goal (30,000 words) and completed my second novel ever, "Genuine," by the end of the month.

Let me just say that I think NaNoWriMo is a fantastic experience, even if you don't finish your novel (although it is SO rewarding if you do!). You learn, grow, become a better writer.

I know that schedules get busy and you may think you have no time to do it, but really, it is SO worth it. You don't have to make crazy word-count goals. I'd just suggest that if you have a busy schedule, even a small word-count goal is good. It's just good to finish it, in my opinion. This year I think I will set my word count goal for 50,000 again.

My friend Kara sent me a few questions about NaNoWriMo, and I thought I'd answer them here!

What does buddying mean?
This is where you add your friends and can see their profiles and statistics on your page. You can also receive private messages from those you are friends with.

Where do I write my story at when it's time?
I just open up an Open Office document and start writing. I always save my work and manually update my word count. Then, once you've finished your novel, the site has instructions for how to upload your novel for a proper word-count. I would highly suggest writing your novel on the computer, because your computer will most likely have a built-in word counter!

I hope this post has given you a small glimpse into the "NaNo" world :-). I sincerely hope you will try it this year! (And if you do, tell me your username so we can be friends!) Also, if this will interest you, in the past couple of years they've offered a free copy of your book if you finish it from CreateSpace. I do not know if they are offering it this year or not.

Have a wonderful day, Girlz!

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Just Cry

Lately, I've been wanting to post on here, but have been lacking inspiration. I have no profound words, no inspiring speech, no tried-and-true tactics to share with you.

I just have a "personal revelation" of sorts. It is hard for me to share with you since I am typically not the type of person to share deeply personal matters with others (especially strangers online...hmm...), but I hope you can relate to what I've been going through and perhaps learn something from it.

Let me start out by saying that I am an introvert. Sure, I have my extrovert moments (and many of them), but when it comes to preference, I'm alright spending time alone. I don't have to be with people all the time. I prefer following others and letting others try something new first before I myself attempt it (with some exceptions). I like other people to ask for things if I need something, etc. etc. It's just my personality.

With that said, I am not one to talk about my problems, show my emotions, or wear my heart on my sleeve. If I have problems (which I, of course, DO), I try to solve them myself. If I cry, it is by myself when no one is watching.

But lately, I've been learning that it's okay to just cry. I've always known it, but have all the same ignored it. It's alright to show my emotions. It's okay to cry, especially in front of family. It's okay to tell them if I'm going through something hard.

I am the type of person you could compare to, say, a balloon. I bottle up the air (anger, bitterness, tears) and after a while can no longer hold it all in. The air may come out in short puffs (rude remarks, mean talk, etc.), or it may all come out at once. And two days ago, I let it out.

I used to think to myself, If it's true that some people are like balloons holding air that will all come out soon, then I'm a far overdue balloon. Before Saturday, it'd been months since I'd cried in front of anyone. I don't prefer crying in front of others, but I finally couldn't hold it any longer. I just let it out. I cried, and I told my parents that I was going through some tough stuff, and they were very understanding. (as always)

I guess I have been somewhat afraid of crying in front of others. I am afraid that people will excuse my tears as hormones acting up or grouchiness/moodiness. This drives me absolutely insane. It makes me want to scream at people that I have actual problems - I'm not just a hormonal female. But, if I screamed at others, they would still consider me a moody female...

I've been afraid of telling my problems to others. I like to try and solve all of them by myself, and while this works on rare occasion, the problems are never fully resolved. I always feel guilt, or anger, or sadness unless I tell somebody. Then, instead of solving them, I often just blow up at people in spurts of anger. This, as you have probably assumed, isn't healthy.

So, it's okay to cry. It really is. You may inwardly agree with me but outwardly have no resolve to actually cry. That's how I used to be. But...I'm not as much like that as I was before. You feel so much better after you just cry and somebody listens and tells you that you can always talk to them, you can always cry. And if you don't have anybody in your life that you can just cry to, cry to Jesus. He is always there. He is always your portion. He always has time for you, time to listen to your problems. He always understands you, always knows exactly what you think and feel, and doesn't think you are just a moody teenager :). He knows that you are a treasure.

So just cry.

You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book? - Psalm 56:8

"Why you gotta act so strong?
Go ahead and take off your brave face
Why you telling me that nothing's wrong
It's obvious you're not in a good place
Who's telling you to keep it all inside
And never let those feelings
Get past the corner of your eye

You don't need to run
You don't need to speak
Baby, take some time
Let those prayers roll down your cheek
It may be tomorrow
You'll be past the sorrow
But tonight it's alright
Just cry

I know you know your Sunday songs
A dozen verses by memory
Yeah, they're good but life is hard
And days get long
You gotta know God can handle your honesty
So feel the things your feeling
Name your fears and doubts
Don't stuff your shame and sadness, loneliness and anger
Let it out, let it out

You don't need to run
You don't need to speak
Baby, take some time
Let those prayers roll down your cheek
It may be tomorrow
You'll be past the sorrow
But tonight it's alright

Just cry
Just cry

It doesn't mean you don't trust Him
It doesn't mean you don't believe
It doesn't mean you don't know
He's redeeming everything

You don't need to run
You don't need to speak
Baby, take some time
Let those prayers roll down your cheek
It may be tomorrow
You'll be past the sorrow
But tonight it's alright
But tonight it's alright

Just cry

Why you gotta act so strong?
Go ahead and take off your brave face." - Mandisa, Just Cry

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what I really want

I want a lot of things.

I want to be a writer. A photographer.

I want to go to college.

I want to be a wife and a mom.

I want to write books.

I want to make a lasting impact on people's lives.

I want to inspire and motivate people.

I want to encourage people.

But I've been thinking lately about the thing that I want most of all. And the thing I want most of all is to be a young woman (and a woman and an old woman as the years progress) after God's own heart. I want to be known as a great writer, a great photographer, a great wife, a great mom, a great encourager. But most of all I want to be known as a great woman of God like Mary, Ruth, and Esther. I want to spend time with God daily. I want to love Him with all that I am.

That is what I really want in this life.

Sure, I want a lot of other things, but if I'm not a woman after God's heart, nothing else will matter in the long run.

To be a young woman after God's own heart is what I really want. That's what matters most to me.

What about you?

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Box of Memories

This afternoon, I was pretty bored, so I decided to get out my box of letters (I have two boxes of letters, but hadn't read the letters in this particular box for a while). I pulled the dusty box out of the closet, opened it, and was captivated.

I opened each letter, reading the words of cherished friends and family. I read "Get well" wishes I received when I broke my leg and had to have a body cast. I read birthday wishes scrawled on princess cards. I read letters from friends that were written when I was young - letters with terrible spelling, backwards letters, and cute drawings. And I cherished all of them.

Each letter or card I read brought a different memory to mind. Good memories, bad memories, happy memories, sad memories.

And each letter reminded me of the young me. I was a lot like I am now - a dreamer, a princess, a writer - but in a lot of ways I was different, too. I loved to dance. I drew at least one picture almost every day. I played with dolls. I didn't sing as much. I didn't know which friends would still be my friends. I thought the age of seven was a pretty neat, important age.

Sure, I have bad memories. But they've helped me learn and grow. And whenever I open my box of memories, I am reminded of people and memories that I have cherished and will cherish forever.

"Dreams, they come // Plans, they change // Yea, we're gonna break // Yea, we're gonna break // Things we face make us who we are // Baby, you're a star shining in the dark // Let's go back to the summer, summer when // We dreamed in love, let's go back again // Let's go back again // Yea, back again, my friend // To the summer when... // I'm holding a picture from seven years back // I smile at the memory, it's smiling right back at me, and I see // Brown hair and bright eyes, such a beautiful blue // A heart full of laughter with nothing to lose // That's how I remember you // You were young, you were free // And you dared to believe // You could be the girl // Who could change the world // Then your life took a turn // And you fell, and it hurt // But you're still that girl // And you're gonna change this world." - Britt Nicole, Still That Girl


Modest Fall Fashion {2} Blue Sparkle

I really like this outfit! While it doesn't reflect "fall" as much as my outfit from two days ago, I still really like it!

I love this shirt! It's not too tight, it goes over a tank top (I love tank tops :)), and it's got sparkles on it! (ha, I'm a sucker for sparkles)
Shirt: Maurices
Tank top: JCPenney
Jeans: Macy's
Flats: Payless
I like these shoes as well. They're a bit small for me, but I like how they match the tank top. And, same as the day before, I love these jeans! Jeans can go with tons of tops and shoes.
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200 Followers Giveaway Coming Soon!

I have some great prizes lined up (and still getting more) for the 200 followers giveaway I plan on having, but I can't start a 200 Followers giveaway without 200 followers! So, c'mon! Spread the word :-)! (it might count as extra entries for you never know...) Here's a sneak peak at what you just might get a chance to win..

...and other cool stuff! So follow and spread the word!
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Modest Fall Fashion {1} Autumn Leaves

I love this outfit! It's modest, comfortable, warm, autumn-ish (haha), and cute (at least, in my opinion)! I'd never worn the shirt before today, and I thought it was in-season and would go well with my vest (both the shirt and vest are hand-me-downs).

 The color of my shirt reminds me of autumn leaves, and I like how both my boots and vest hint that the weather's getting cooler ☺.

 My vest and boots go great together as well, since they are both black.

{Shirt: Hand-me-down
Vest: Hand-me-down
Pants: Macy's
Boots: Hand-me-down}
Happy Thursday, girls! Hope you're having a wonderful autumn :-). {Pictures by my wonderful mother!}
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What I Dreamed Last Night

Last night, I had a dream that was really random, yet still a GREAT reminder for me ☺.

In the dream, I was at a science camp much like the one my family just attended. However, at THIS camp, everyone was matched with a child that they would spend time with during the week. I was assigned to a little boy, and I decided to take him to a giant swim pool that had a playground in the middle of it. We swam and played for a bit, then I started to leave the swimming pool since I was already late for one of the sessions for my age group. Just as I was getting out to leave, the little boy spotted something shiny at the bottom of the pool and dove under the water to retrieve it. He kept swimming deeper, trying desperately to get the shiny silver object. It was like he was obsessed with it. He got so focused on getting it that he started to drown. I dove into the water and saved the little boy. When I pulled him out, he kept saying things to himself like, "God is enough," like he was trying to convince himself that he didn't need the silver object.

The dream was a great reminder for me that if I am chasing after (or diving for) worldly things and desires, I will drown. It was a great reminder that Jesus is my Savior and that He always has been, always will be more than enough for me :-).

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Fall (And Highlights From the Year)'s autumn already? I find that hard to believe. It feels like fall last year wasn't, well, a whole year ago!

I know it sounds silly, but I really like the cool weather fall and winter bring. I love pretty much everything about these last few months of the year, as a matter of cocoa, hot apple cider, PIE (oh, yes), pumpkin-carving, wearing warm clothes, singing Christmas carols, Thanksgiving dinner, decorating for Christmas with the family, all our traditions, and so much more. As I get older, each year seems to fly by faster than the previous years. This year went by really fast! I can't believe that it's already October and that Christmas is in two months! (I'm ready to bring out the carols! Haha!)

It's strange to me that a little over a year ago, I met two great friends and visited another great one that I've known for a long time. Happy anniversary of meeting, guys! (lol)

I just thought I'd share with you a couple of highlights from my year. I hope you'll do the same on your blog (or at least tell me about your year in the comment section below!) and comment with the link to it so I can check out what you've been doing, too!

Let's start with January, shall we? First of all, I was in a talent-show-type-thing with my sister. We sang a duet ("For Good" from Wicked). I was so nervous, because I hadn't sung a lot in front of people before. But it turned out great, and it was really a good experience! I also attended a Winter Retreat that was really wonderful!

In February, I went to a VFW banquet to receive my prize for winning first place in state and to watch my sister compete in her age division (she got 3rd place!).

In March, I went to San Francisco, an incredible experience, and got a year older! (I was with my youth group for part of my birthday, and they made it a fabulous birthday for me!)

In April, our theatre group began practicing for the play "Alice in Wonderland". Haley and I were also in a music show called "The Magic of Music" that was a lot of fun and a great experience.

In May, two of our best friends came to visit for a week (that went by wayyyy too quickly)!

In June, our theatre group moved into the theatre to practice "Alice in Wonderland"!

In July, I attended Worldview Academy (one of the best weeks of my life!)!

In August, I competed in the local Bible Bee competition (placed 247th out of about 1,300). I also got the incredible opportunity to visit Hawaii with some relatives! It was so beautiful and so much fun.

And finally in September, I attended an Outdoor Science Camp with my family that was great!

It's been a great year!

Happy 1st of October, everyone!

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etiquette and such

Girlz of God Copyright Talia DeAndrea 2010, 2011, 2012. "Genuine," "Girlz of God," and "Tania's Faith" book excerpts Copyright Talia DeAndrea 2010, 2011, 2012. All pictures Copyright Talia DeAndrea, unless otherwise noted. Please do not steal or copy anything on this blog without my permission. Thank you :-).

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