November & December 2013 Highlights

For anyone following along, I did a monthly update throughout 2013.  For as small of a commitment as that is, it isn’t always easy to do.  The end of the month/start of a new month always proves to be busy.  So let’s play a little catch-up…

November 2013

  • The first mentor/mentee workshop for the Teens Write program – when given the writing prompt “write about someone you admire most” the sweet girl that I mentor each week wrote a small paragraph about me.  I was surprised!  As our schedules are not always matching and sometimes I go a week or two without mentoring, it was just the encouragement I needed to feel like volunteering was as worthwhile to her as it was for me.
  • The Community Writing Center hosted a Volunteer appreciation party and gave out a handful of awards.  I was awarded Best CWC Liason.  I felt pretty special to receive this award when I have only been new to volunteering with the CWC since Spring of 2013 and everyone else awarded had been a mentor for much, much longer.
  • Last but certainly not least, I wrote a book!  Yes, I joined the craze that is known as NaNoWriMo and I wrote an entire 50,000 rough draft for a novel I had no idea was inside of me until … well, until about November 4th when I got over the initial “I can’t do this” feeling and started the challenge.  As many first time NaNos don’t pass the 50,000 word mark, my advice to anyone interested in starting the NaNo challenge is to join a group.  In fact, join several.  To make it through, I joined a weekly NaNoWriMo group at my local writing center.  I also signed up at for the official challenge and was fairly involved with the /r/NaNoWriMo group on Reddit.  Each group had a different, motivating element that kept me focused and honestly… made it easy.
Volunteer Appreciation

The little paragraph my Teens Write teen wrote in response to “Write About Someone You Admire Most”

Volunteer Award

My CWC Volunteer Appreciation Award

NaNoWriMo Draft

My finished NaNoWriMo draft

December 2013

  • We flew to the San Diego area for a 24 hour turn around, helping Stark’s Aunt move to Utah
  • German Christmas party at Andrea’s house by the Capitol
  • My family Christmas party on the 22nd (another German dinner!)
  • Christmas Day with Stark’s family
  • A Christmas Carol at Hale Theater
  • With the goal to motivate and educate, Stark and I created a board game as our gift to our families this year.  The game was a great success!
  • Stark and I created a Christmas Movie list (don’t worry, Die Hard 1 & 2 are included) and watched a variety of Christmas-themed movies almost every night, often having his brother over to watch the best-of (like Gremlins, duh).
  • Stark and I kept Christmas simple this year.  We didn’t attend far too many events like we have before.  We didn’t spend the season worrying about what to buy people or each other.  I can honestly say, I was as bummed about Christmas being over this year as I was as a child.  The season was exactly as it should be.

2013 came to an end, as fast as any other year has ever been or ever seemed.  For me, 2013 was a great year of learning.  It was an intense year of self-scrutiny (whether I wanted to or not) and incomprehensible change.  I mean really, I still don’t comprehend it all and how I so quickly went from point A to point B when, for years prior, I had struggled to walk those same paths.  2013 was the year of timing.  It WAS my timing.  It was a fantastic year with many scary moments and personal triumphs.  I don’t wish to ever relive such a year, regardless of it’s perks.  But I do look upon 2013 as a monumental year.  I look at 2013 as the year I can say, I truly accomplished that wish most people don’t do or learn in a lifetime.  I transformed into something that, from the outside, doesn’t look any different (ok, skinnier at least…) but from the inside, out is an entirely different person, and I have an endless supply of gratitude for the man who survived everything I survived AND survived me – my Stark.  Thank you 2013.  It was real…

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