Where Have I Been? Life Update and Belated 4th Blogiversary

Hello friends!

So...this year I haven't been blogging every Monday. A lot has been going on, but I'll try to summarize it.

1. I graduated high school!

*celebrates* I am FINALLY done with high school! (honestly this is a huge reason why I haven't been posting. High school takes up an enormous amount of time. Also, whoever told me senior year is supposed to be the easiest lied.) I am so excited for college and this next stage of life. (And also kind of terrified, but I'm trying not to think about that until August.)

2. I've been taking time to grow as a Child of God.

Yeah...God still has to do a lot of work on me, but recently I rededicated my life to Him and I'm working hard on my relationship with Him. It's hard, but so far, so worth it.

3. I'm working on growing as a writer.

Last year was a pretty bad writing year. I didn't write very much, and honestly, I wasn't very interested in writing either. I guess I didn't feel the need to write? (This is part of the reason my posts have been few and far between this year.) However, now I love writing even more than I did when I first started a long time ago. My WIP has taught me so many valuable things about writing, and it may have even given me a system. It has taught me to take things slowly in the story and really let stuff organically develop. This is my first cohesive novel that is over 50,000 words and still going strong. (My deadline is Tuesday...so I'm kind of on a mad dash to the finish.)

4. I got back into filmmaking.

Okay, so I kind of fell in love with filmmaking again. A few months ago, my English teacher gave the best assignment in the world: make a movie based on a book or short story. Oh, and make a movie we did. I worked with two amazing partners and friends, and the three of us (including 9 other cast members) recreated 3 scenes from Pride and Prejudice. (Don't worry, everything is word for word from the book.) Did we go a little overboard on this assignment? Definitely. Was it a blast? Yes.

What have you been working on while I've been gone?


Read to Find Jesus, Not Just to Find the Story

Hi everyone! Sorry I've been M.I.A. recently. That's mostly due to graduating high school and attending festivities related to that.

Anyway...on to the post.

A few days ago, I had a long conversation with one of my best friends, Hosanna Emily, and she said something that really stood out to me.

She told me to read my Bible to find Jesus, not to find the story.

That really got me thinking. You see, I've never really known how to read my Bible. I just kinda figured it was like reading a book, and Sunday schools always teach us about Bible stories.  People always tend to focus on the story instead of asking this question: What does this tell be about God? How does this point to Him?

Most Christians already know the story of Daniel and the Lion's Den and Jonah's story, but do we understand how each word points to our Creator? Now, I just want to pause and say that I by no means am saying that this is the tried and true method for understanding the entire Bible. Only God can reveal things to you, but I encourage you to look beyond the story and scrutinize every single word to find His truth.


Guest Post on Savannah Grace's new blog, Inspiring Writes

Hello everyone!  Instead of posting something here, I decided to send you over to Savannah Grace's new blog, Inspiring Writes, where she interviewed me on writing and design!  I'll be hanging around the comments there and answering your questions too!

(Graphic courtesy of Savannah Grace)

Also, her blog is awesome and you should follow it. :)


Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 Update

Camp NaNoWriMo is halfway over. *cue screaming*

I'm working on getting over my writer's block.  It went away at the beginning of the month, but it's slowly coming back.  I attribute that to the difficult scenes that are coming up (some including a bank robbery shhhhh).  Also, I'm dealing with pacing issues.  I know I can fix that stuff in editing, but I'd rather not have too?

Life's also been pretty busy.  No, Camp NaNoWriMo doesn't help with that, BUT it does make me feel more productive.  I know that I'm still a writer even if I don't write every day, but it's hard to believe it.  Camp helps keep me on track and feel like I'm being productive, even if I'm just barely plugging along at my book.

I try to write every night before I shower, no matter how late it is.  It helps me relax, and I write faster with sleep as my motivation.

In other news, I completed the Pride and Prejudice movie (which I turn in tomorrow!) and helped film and edit a book trailer for C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters directed by my friend Jessica.  Both were fabulous projects and made me realize how much I miss filmmaking.  (So, yeah, I'm planning on making another movie this summer!)

This month, I've had to learn how to say no (or wait) to things.  I really like doing things for people (especially if people ask me to do something creative for them), and I feel badly if I do have to say no.  However, I don't have time to commit to so many projects.  I've had to do that a few times this month and it's something I need to work on.

Word Count Progress

So far, I'm on schedule (by the time I post this, anyway).  At the beginning of the month, I wrote a lot more to give myself some wiggle room.  Sadly, I've used that up...

How is Camp NaNoWriMo going for you?  Are you on target or do you need to catch up?


Live a Bold, Fearless Life

I want to share something super personal with you today.  So I'm writing this post as Megan (my real name), not as Alea.

I struggle with fear A LOT.  Seriously, all the time.  I get it when I have to do something outside of my normal routine; I get it when I have to write a fight scene (I'm super bad at describing them); I get it when I only have one chance to get something right.  You name it, I'm scared of it.  That's pretty much how it goes for me.

Since my freshman year in high school, a year after my parents divorced, I've had a strange urge to dye my hair copper red. I never did, but the desire would not let me go. I found myself hoarding pictures of red hair I liked and adding “someday this will be my hair” as captions. For some strange reason, I wanted to do this drastic, almost unheard-of thing.  Maybe it was because I wanted to become a “better version” of myself. I'm not really sure.  However, I never summed up the courage to actually do it.  I was scared of what others would think of me if I did, and I was scared that it wouldn't look good on me. (Mostly the first, though).

Just as a side note, I do like my natural
hair color.
So, it remained my secret desire tucked away in the corner of my mind where I only went when I dreamed of my ideal self.  In my imaginary redhead self, I was independent and unafraid to take risks.  In reality, I was slipping into a place of deep depression and anxiety, and I didn't run to God for help.  In fact, I didn't run to anyone for help.  I burrowed deep within my heart’s self-built walls to slowly die from the pain.

I stayed isolated until the summer before my senior year in high school, when I agreed to go on a mission trip to Peru.  My heart screamed at me not to go, but I could not bring myself to tell my mom and sister.  If I said something, they would see the fake that I was.  Part of me wanted to know God, but I did not feel His presence and never felt an urge to read the Bible.  On the second day of the trip, I met a woman with a fire inside of her that showed in the words she spoke and the glimmer in her eyes.  From the moment I first spoke to her, I knew I wanted that same fire.  She told me to ask God to reveal himself to me on the trip. Something about her motivated me to do just that.  While in Peru, God pressed on my heart the lie that I was living.  I was not really a Christian.  I struggled with God until July 4, 2017, when I surrendered my fear, depression, anxiety, and ultimately my life to the One who gave His life so I could live.

My ideal, “red-haired self” evolved from a “brave” girl to someone unashamed of her faith who boldly serves the Lord she loves with all her heart. Life is not about having a certain hair color, it is about living boldly. It is about blasting through my comfort zone and living completely for God. It is about making conscious decisions to make Him the center of my life and not being afraid to share it. It is about trusting God enough to help me go off to college and learn to be more independent. It is about stepping out of God’s way and not letting myself hold me back from what He has planned.

Now this essay--this mission statement--sounds great on paper (or on a computer screen).  It makes living out this lifestyle seem easy, doesn't it?  Haha, no.  I actually wrote this around September of last year just after I visited the college I want to go to. I actually used it (with a few modifications) as my college essay to submit to this college. I decided to live fearlessly months ago, but I never followed through.  I sunk back into the numbness.  (Going numb is my way of coping with difficult and scary things.  The problem with this is you don't feel anything--good or bad.)

Recently, I began reading Live Fearless by Sadie Robertson.  I'm halfway through it now and I relate so much to her.  In this book, she shares many of her struggles with intense fear (which are very similar to my own) and her ways of not letting fear get to her.  She shares how ultimately, we can't conquer fear on our own.  She really pours her heart into this book, and anyone who reads it can tell that her faith is authentic. Her story has encouraged me to begin my journey again.  I don't know what that will look like, but God has something amazing in store.

This morning (I wrote this post on Sunday), my pastor talked about getting ready to be used by God.  This is truly amazing because that's really what this journey is all about.

I hope this post can be an encouragement to you.  I want you to know that you're not alone in your fear and that as a Child of God, you can overcome it!  It takes a lot of work (hey, I'm only working on it), but it will be worth it.