It was the day before Christmas...

Photos via pinterest, collage by me.
Well, it's the day before Christmas, and it's actually snowing outside! Like we actually have several inches and you can't see the ground. :) #lovingsnow It kind of looks like the perfect wintery wonderland. :) I might not be able to get on to post something on Christmas, so I would just like to say Merry Christmas Eve and Merry Christmas!

Guess what? My dad should be released from the hospital any day now! I'm really excited!!! Praise God in the highest!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) Thank you so much for everyone who's been praying for him - God has worked through you guys! I just want to thank all of you for being such great friends to me. <3
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." Luke 2:14
(If you're willing, please pray that we'll all get better, because we've been running fevers and cold-like-symptoms for several days now. Thank you so much! And if there's anything you'd like me to pray for, I would love to! :) [if you want, I can put it on the prayer request column. If you don't want me to, that's way okay. :)])

Jesus is the reason for the season! He loves each and every one of you more then you'll ever know. :) God bless, you guys!!! :)

Be a hero,
Anna

I'm not very good at painting

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Thanks to all of you guys who've been praying for my dad. Good news - he made it out of the surgery great! He still doesn't have function of one of his kidneys, but I believe that they're still hopeful that he might regain function of it still. So that's really good. God is great! :)

Right now, I have this cold that I'm starting to feel like I've had for forever... I had it even before my little break for about two weeks. (Except back then it was mostly just this cough that would take over for a few seconds now and then.) I don't know if you guys do this, but we've kind of always had this rule in my family where if you're sick, you don't eat anything sweet (like candy, desserts, etc.), because it makes your cold worse. It gets really, really hard when there's like this really yummy-looking chocolately cake sitting on the counter... oh well. I guess I'll get some eventually. ;)

Yesterday, I [somehow] found myself clicking on one of my word documents on my writing computer that I hadn't opened in awhile and, frankly, had rather forgotten what it was about. What awaited me was the beginnings of what I realized could probably be a pretty good story. Thankfully, I'd put my outline at the end of the doc, a little habit of mine that I've started doing so that I don't forget what I'd had in mind for the story after I've left it alone for a few months/weeks/etc. There was only one little part in my outline that I couldn't quite remember all that I'd planned, but I'm pretty sure I can come up with something... ;)

I'm not very good at painting. Rephrase: whatever I paint looks like a two year old did it. I admit it, I haven't painted (officially, other then helping with like this landscape for a vacation Bible school...) since like several years ago or something, but still. I'm just not good at like doing all of those different colors and everything to make it look real. I like drawing, because then I can make my characters look more cartoony, which it seems I'm a little better at doing. (In my own opinion.) I like doing rough kind of drawing, where you don't have to do all straight lines and everything and it looks rather humorous. That kind. Yeah. ;)

I don't know if I told you about this, but if you love listening to songs on YouTube and always get annoyed that you have to keep on repeating them and repeating them, then this is going to make your day! (Well, I don't know if this will make your day, but when I found out about it it made my day, so... hopefully this makes your day. :)) So, if you want YouTube songs to repeat, simply put the words "repeat" right before the .com in youtube.com when your song's loading, and it'll take you to listenonrepeat.com where you can listen to your favorite YouTube songs on repeat! :) (I actually found that out via Pinterest. Another reason why it's awesome... ;))

Well, I'm off to do other things. God bless you guys! :) Have a great day! :)

Be a hero,
Anna

P.S. Have you ever listened to this song? It grew on me...

Today's My Dad's Surgery

Hey, guys.

Just want to say that my dad's surgery for cancer - the thing that will hopefully rid him of the cancer - is happening today. Like right now. Please just pray that everything will go smoothly and that the cancer will be gotten rid of and that he will heal well.

Thanks so much. <3

Be a hero,
Anna

*Update: Please pray for my dad's kidney to function properly. Thanks so much!

Of a random book of cyphers...

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OK, so, I have some really awesome friends who know some cyphers (codes) that are seriously awesome to do. (One is really, really hard, so I won't touch on that one in this post, but I might mention it... ;)) I've learned two cyphers from them - Pig Pen which, believe me, is really fun; and then the Lewis Carroll cypher, as we call it, which is like super duper hard and I won't touch on that subject right now... (Did I already mention that? ;) lol)

Pig Pen is like really, really fun. It kind of looks like Aztec writing, which is super awesome. (My friend came up with an awesome new name for it that sounds a lot better then Pig Pen, but I forgot it, so... I'm going to call it Pig Pen.)

So, ya ready to learn a cypher? :)

The nice thing about Pig Pen is that it's not made with other letters all mixed up and jumbled about or something. It actually makes sense, with a symbol for each letter of the alphabet. Of course, it makes sense if you have the key, but I'll show you how it all works in a moment. ;) (It seriously looks like Aztec writing or something...)

So how it works is, there's two like tic-tac-toe squares and two Xs. In the second square, there's little dots. In the second X, there's little dots. You put letters in each of the slots. Then, you take just the corner by that letter and it is that letter. I know this sounds really confusing, but when you see the diagram below I think this'll all make sense:


So, see, like on the H, you take the lines on the sides and above, and that makes the H. Pretty cool, right? (and it doesn't quite look as Aztecy since I had to draw that on PicMonkey, but if you write it on paper it seriously does...)

My friend and I were playing the story game in Pig Pen (you know, where you start out with a piece of paper, write a small story, and then pass it on, and then they read yours, write something, fold your part over, and pass it to the next person?), which was kind of confusing but hilariously fun. Both the Secret Series and LOTR/The Hobbit made it in. Let's just say it was hilarious. :D (Cass, Max-Ernest, Yo-Yoji, Fili, and Kili all make great characters...)

I actually have a book with both of my cyphers inside and some writing in Pig Pen, too, so that it kind of looks like a random book of cyphers... but then again there's a whole bunch of other random stuff in it. (Including some cypher stuff from a book called Puzzle Island which I couldn't decipher...) And some pictures and a story idea and... yeah, there's lots of random stuff in it. :)

If you end up writing some in Pig Pen, I'd love to hear about it! :) (Or if you already knew about it, too! :)) I really love writing in Pig Pen because it's just so much fun. :) God bless! Have a great day, you guys!

Be a hero,
Anna

Hannah @ Fantasy Gypsy

Hey, guys! :)

So, some of you guys know Hannah - previously from in Neverland - and some of you probably even know about her decision to go pro blogger! I was pretty excited about this. I consider Hannah one of my close bloggie buddies, so I was really happy for her that she was able to do this! And so, I decided to do a Q&A with her. And, being the awesome person she is, she agreed!

Here is the Q&A! :)


Anna @ Hero: Why did you choose to become a professional blogger? What does this entail?

Hannah @ Fantasy Gypsy: I don't remember the initial why of deciding to be a professional blogger. I was just thinking about things I could do differently with my blog and considered the possibility of going pro. I didn't want to be a cliche/average blogger, I wanted to be different and more professional. I have considered moving to Wordpress and going pro before, but had decided I wasn't ready. But now I think I am. Going pro, I guess, means something different for everyone. To me it means that my blog will look and feel more professional then I think it currently does on blogger. I'm also working on making my blog my actual job, so it is a big step for me. 

AH: What will be different about your blogging style?

HFG: Absolutely nothing!.. Well... maybe I shouldn't say that... the content on my blog will probably always be the same. It's just me and my voice, talking about the things on my mind. I do want to write about things that will interest my readers more. So it won't all be personal ramblings you could care less about, but, of course, I'm sure there shall still be plenty of that.

AH: What will your new site's name be and why?

HFG: The name was quite an ordeal. Let. Me. Tell. You. I originally, when I had the idea of going pro, wanted to just use my first and last name as the blog title… well my parents didn’t like the idea of haveing my name being searched and viewed by thousands of people very much… so I had to scratch that. And after a whole lot of grief and mind wracking thought (and maybe a bit of head-desking), I decided on the name Fantasy Gypsy. I sometimes think of the name as a good spin off of in Neverland, but you’ll be able to read the whole story of why I chose this name on the blog, because it’s a long story. 

AH: Why did you decide to do a .org instead of .com?

HFG: Okay, let me explain this a bit. There are two different versions of Wordpress, the Wordpress.com which is a free blogging platform, like Blogger, and Wordpress.org, which is the more professional self-hosted one of the two, used for many real-deal websites out there. My website shall still have a (dot)com domain, I am just using Wordpress.org for the website, and a web host for the website foundation. (dot)org's are usually only used for big organizations. My blog is not a big organization. I hope that makes sense.

AH: What kind of a different experience will your readers get with your professional blogging career?

HFG: I don't know. That's up for the readers to decide. Some might like it, some might hate it, some might think I should’ve stuck with Blogger. My hope is that my readers will be able to connect with me more, and feel like they are a part of my life, and me a part of theirs... creepy, I know. ;) 

AH: How will your current readers still be able to follow and connect with you?

HFG: Unfortunately I can't just pack up all of my followers and take them with me. There will be a subscribing button somewhere on the website, where people can come and follow via email. And of course there is always bloglovin' and RSS feed that can be used to connect and follow. 

AH: What are some of the challenges with switching from Blogger to Wordpress?

HFG: Just learning the basics of Wordpress after living on Blogger for two years is difficult. You're just so used to the Blogger ways and you feel so overwhelmed. There were nights when I first got Wordpress where I just wanted to curl up in a corner of my room and wait for the website to build itself. But once you actually learn to do something with code on Wordpress, it’s like the clouds are cleared and you can see! I'm still not entirely comfortable using Wordpress, but I'm learning. Moving to Wordpress is definitely not for everybody. And especially for people who are not at all tech savy.

AH: Will you be keeping your old blog, In Neverland, intact?

HFG: I will be keeping in Neverland intact… at least for a little bit, to direct readers who might not have known about the blog move to the new website, but once this new site starts to get a good reading, I might have to consider deleting the old site. I hate to say it, but I don’t really think there is a reason to keep it up… I may make it private, so that I can still look at it… but I don’t know we’ll see.  

AH: What will be the biggest perk for you in switching over to pro blogging? What are you most looking forward to?

HFG: The fact I’m making blogging a part of my life is a big perk. Before I decided to go pro I would just sort of blog, and wouldn’t really talk about it to my friends and family. Of course my family knew I had a blog, but they didn’t know how many followers I had, or what I posted about. And the only one who would read my posts was my mom, and that was just because…well, she’s my mom. I didn’t even really want to tell my friends about it, because I was so nervous that they wouldn’t agree with what I said in a post, or would think the whole thing was stupid. But now I’m trying not to over think it. I want people to know I have a blog, and that it is a part of my life. 

AH: What will be your fondest memory of In Neverland?

HFG: In Neverland will always have a special place in my heart. It was my first big blog, the one that launched my blogging career in a way. And the spirit of this new blog will still be in Neverland… it will just be different.

AH: What's your biggest hope for your new blog?

HFG: That people will like it. I guess that’s kind of a given, but really I’m worried about it. It can be weird for the readers to be so used to one blog, and then have to go somewhere else. Some of my favorite blogs have moved to Wordpress before, and it is weird. But I hope that won’t scare people away from the site. 

AH: If someone else wanted to be a pro blogger, what would be the biggest advice you could give them?

HFG: Know that you are ready! Ask your friends if they think your content is strong enough for a real site. And most importantly, make sure you would be willing to blog for long term. Look at your future self and if you can see yourself being a blogger for a long time, if not forever, then go for it! Especially if you are younger, it’s better to start when you’re young and build up. Also, I would suggest getting lots of support.  This is definitely not a project I could’ve done myself.

AH: Do you think you'll have a topic on your new blog?

HFG: Nope. It’s just the random ramblings it’s always been.

Thanks so much, again, Hannah, for letting me do that with you! :)

If you want, go ahead and check out Hannah's new site, Fantasy Gypsy! :) I know it would mean the world to her! :)

Be a hero,
Anna

Let's do a catch-up...

Snippets of Life by Me

I picked up the scrap piece of paper and folded it into an airplane - the kind where you fold it in half normally. Throwing it, it didn't go very far - just a few feet, and then it fell into the ground. Frowning, I unfolded it and made it the long way. Now it sailed across the room.

I amused myself for awhile by throwing that airplane across the room. Practically silent, mostly straight in flight. I went back and forth, back and forth - retrieving, throwing, retrieving, throwing. And yet I didn't tire of it for so long.

I paused a moment, later, before I threw it out. This thing had amused me for awhile, it seemed. And yet, so easily, I was throwing it away. I put it in the trash bag and didn't give it another thought that day.

- - - - - - -

My feet crunched on the snow in the dark as we headed back to the house. My dog crazily went from behind us to before us as she investigated the smells on the ground. The wind bit at my face, and I was glad I'd put on a snow mask. I can't help but wonder now what it would be like to be faced with miles upon smiles of the same crunching snow, with nothing in sight. Only the wind howling and the snow crunching and the darkness of the sky.

- - - - - - -

I glanced out the window, big fluffy snowflakes meeting my eyes. It was Christmas snow, the kind that you always dreamed about getting on Christmas day. It was beautiful as it drifted swiftly towards the ground, ready to get its journey over with.

- - - - - - -

I sat on the mattress on the floor, placed there because I'd been sleeping next to a sick person who'd sometimes needed help during the night. I'd pulled out the pink book with the Bible verse on the front - "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" - and turned past the words at the front of the book and the rants in the middle of the book and the cyphers towards the end and then even past the pictures I'd drawn with some younger kids in it earlier today. And I started a new picture - that of two floating islands that looked like masses of jungle with normal trees. A single large bridge, in the style of the Romans or Greeks, was between the two islands.

And at the top, I wrote two words:

"The Highlanders."

I went on to draw two maps of the two islands, and to start to describe the story that went along with them. I mentioned the names of the main characters of my story - Ravenna, Ekron, Hadrian - and even went on to say what they were like. My friend helped me with a lot of it, which was really fun. She helped me so much that I told her that in the acknowledgments I'd have to put, "And thanks to - - - - - - - - - - - - -, for everything."

- - - - - - -

I've been gone for awhile now, haven't I? Seems like quite awhile since I sat down and wrote something to you guys. Anything to you guys. (My last two posts were scheduled because I wasn't able to get on.) I've been doing a lot - like learning cyphers, writing in pig pen (and accidentally keep on calling it pig latin), listening to a funny book called The Hidden Hand and reading part of it myself, and lots of other stuff - and having lots of fun, but I must say I've missed you guys, too. :)

I seriously feel really horrible that I haven't commented on any of your blogs in forever. I just haven't had the time lately. I am really sorry about all that. You guys have some of the most amazing blogs... EVER. Seriously. :)

Well, yesterday, we got Netflix! That was pretty fun. (Last night we watched an old Disney Channel movie called Avalon High, because when we'd been somewhere a long time ago [it seems now] where we had access to a TV that actually had TV there was a commercial for it but we left before we got to watch it, so we finally did. Then we watched Yours, Mine, and Ours [and I found out that Miranda Cosgrove/iCarly/Margo from Despicable Me was in it?! Whaaat?! Never knew that...], because we used to watch that when we were younger but I think our library lost the DVD, so we hadn't watched it what seemed like forever. So that was fun. :)) I think we're planning on watching Kronk's New Groove sometime soon because, of course, it's hilarious. ;) Do any of you guys like Netflix? What's your "review" on it? ;)

Well, hey, I've got to go, but it was lovely talking to you guys! :) God bless! Have a great day! :)

Be a hero,
Anna

I actually did it

What did I actually do? Well, I think I did a post about it on Rubberboot Girl (I just spent several minutes trying to find a link to it, but I can't...) like a really long time ago - it was about like how I'm awful at keeping journals and stuff. Like, seriously. I think it's part of my compulsiveness. You have to write down everything. You have to write that down. What if you want to know that in the future? You can't forget all of that. Write it down. All of it. It, frankly, gets tiring to have to write it all down. Even when it's on the computer. (I had/have a computer journal [like a word doc where I act like it's a journal and write stuff down because it's faster for me to type then to write] but then I just got tired of writing every single thing down. So I haven't written in at least a few months, I think.) So I kind of stopped.

And that's when I decided.

I wasn't going to have a normal journal. Not where you write about everything that's going on in your life and all about yourself and explain everything until the reader feels like you're writing a story just for them. I get too bored having to write all of that down, not to mention that I really don't have the patience for it and I'm not sure that I'll like even care about it in the future if I didn't write every single thing down. (I have to tell myself that, because I get crazy compulsive.) But sometimes it's kind of nice to write stuff down, isn't it? To just sit down and grab a notebook and jot down a few words about how you're feeling.

Which is why I started a new journal/diary/thing. Just to write down what I'm feeling. I don't have to say my name. I don't even have to say anybody else's name. I can just write what I'm feeling. Just write what's coming out of my heart. And I don't have to write down everything that's happening. Just write what I feel like writing. (Believe me, it's a freeing thought.) I had started to do a "everything" journal in the front of it, so someone reading it would probably know all about me, unless they thought I was a random person who picked it up from somebody else. But that's OK. I just needed somewhere where I could just write.

Do you have a journal or diary? Are you compulsive?

Have a great day! :) Thanks so much for reading. <3 God bless! :)

Be a hero,
Anna

Guest Post \\ Anna


Well, this is a scheduled post, believe it or not. (Scheduled posts feels like you're guest posting on your own blog. In my opinion, at least... OK, if I think about this too much, I'm going to get a headache... JK) ;) Wherever I am when this gets posted, I would say that I'll be pretty busy. I hope you guys all had a great Thanksgiving! :)

So we finally did the play! :) It went really, really well. Everybody did amazing. :) I didn't miss any of my lines... YES. ;) (I seriously started to get nervous there right before we had to do it, and then I started second-guessing what I'd memorized... oh dear...) And then there was some anxiety about trying to get costumes on in time... and in the dark... Either way, it went really well and everybody did amazing. I was so (and still am) proud of them. :) We played handbells the same night, too, and that also went really well. :) We played the handbells like two songs before the play, and since we have to dress in black and white, it was a scurry to get the complicated outfit that I had to wear on. (Yeah, the in the dark thing? It's harder then it seems. I got home and saw that I'd put one of my shirts and both of my socks on inside out. At least you couldn't tell... ;)) lol Oh dear.

I was actually just in a parade! It was really fun, and really, really, really cold. :) I was handing out flyers, so I was walking alongside the float. And then sometimes I got behind and had to run to catch up... (That was interesting. lol) It was a Christmas parade, so there were lots of beautiful lights. It was really pretty. :) (I love Christmas lights. <3 Do you? :)) We used to line our hallway downstairs with lights, like around the doors and stuff, so that at night when it was dark and you turned the lights off, it was like the hallway was glowing with stars. It was so beautiful. <3 (I hope I get to do that again this year...)

My therapy's been going pretty good lately. I actually got to do it with a family member of mine, which was really fun. :)

My dad's going to be having his surgery pretty soon, and it would be amazing if you could pray for him, and for my mom, too - just that everything would go great and that the cancer would be gone and that my dad would be healed.

Believe it or not, I got a story idea yesterday - while eating pie for breakfast. =P (Oh, the joys of zucchini pie... seriously, I love that stuff. I know it sounds... interesting, but it tastes AMAZING. :)) If I end up finishing it, I'll tell you all about it... (Because I have a bad habit of telling you guys about it and then never writing it. So... I'll just give you a little tiny itty bitty sneak peek. :)) It's a girl named Daniela (I haven't decided her last name yet, maybe D'Lacy? If not D'Lacy, I was thinking of maybe changing her name to Olivia, because I like that name a lot, but I'm not sure yet... for now I'm just sticking with Daniela ;)) who sees things before they happen. Yeah. More on that later. ;) (It sounds more non-storyish when I just say it, but I've got some ideas rolling, so hopefully God will help me put it all together! :))

How was your guys' Thanksgiving, by the way? What are you excited for in December? Are you excited for Christmas? Did any of you go Black Friday shopping? (I didn't... lol)

By the way, thanks so so so much for everyone who participated in #letsmakethemsmile. I was horrible at it, which was probably because I was so busy that if I could get some designing or a blog post done, that was good. (I finally go on today, but I felt like I hadn't been on in ages... how long has it been? I don't know... I might have done some designing after my Thanksgiving post, so... *shrug* Yeah) But thanks. You guys are the greatest. :) (And you definitely made me smile! :)) And sorry I was so horrible at it and definitely didn't comment on all of your blogs... You guys are so awesome, I think I should give you guys an award. Or something. Some kind of giveaway that doesn't include addresses? Who knows... =P (I think that would only be like blog designs. Yeah... Hmm. Something. Definitely something. ;))

Have a great day, you guys! God bless! :)

Be a hero,
Anna

P.S. I just added the silly title (I always do that at the end - do you usually add your title at the end or the beginning?) to go with my beginning paragraph... lol :D