The State of the Ellie is my monthly update on what's been happening this side of the screen for the last 30-ish days. It usually drops at the start of the new month, but I'm moving it to the end because it makes more sense and I don't know why I didn't always do it like this.
Immigration, Florida, and another Canadian winter
Welp. Here we are, staring down the barrel of November (seriously, how did that happen already), and despite our rosiest projections, there’s nothing to report here, except that, because there’s nothing to report, we are officially into next year for our big move. Between paperwork delays, the impending holidays, and the idea of driving a 20ft U-Haul through the Appalachian Mountains in winter, Lino and I (and our pastors) have re-re-re-calibrated our plans and are now looking at*giant sad sigh* April. Which means we’re woefully unprepared for the coming winter because this past spring all we could see in December were palm trees and beaches, so why would we need snow boots and gloves?
On the positive side, though, I had a breakthrough with my disappointment about the delays we’ve endured. I realized that Lino and I are on some kind of accelerated spiritual training track that’s growing our ability, capacity, and maturity in the Kingdom; God is stretching and growing us in ways we didn’t know we could (or thought we wanted) during this season. So I’m choosing to be content. I don’t want to miss anything by being impatient or distracted by jealousy or striving. Be here now, eh?
I accidentally facilitated a women’s workshop at our church.
Related to that accelerated training track, I was given an opportunity to lead a small group through the culminating event of this year’s series on dreams in our women’s ministry.
I sort of stumbled into it, honestly (which is how you know it’s God). Some folks couldn’t make it to the weekend retreat, myself included, so I offered to host dinner for those of us staying home. I got the green light, but because I’m me, rather than planning a simple night with friends, I wanted to tie our decor and conversation into the retreat material so everyone could feel included. Before I knew it, I was being handed official booklets and teasing out the story of Joseph with our pastor. I ended up presenting a full-blown six-hour workshop for eight women, including message, dinner, prayer, and declarations of the dreams we’ve hidden in our hearts.
And you know what? I LOVED IT.
It’s become clear to me that my path includes speaking, teaching, facilitating—roles that involve holding space and being the one everyone’s staring at (roles that give me nervous poops)—in addition to writing. Running this workshop was 100% a confirmation of that calling. It combined things I know I’m good at with things I’m just starting to wade into, and it felt like everything clicked. I’m not sure where it’s all going, but I do know that I am fully strapped in for the ride.
I had a serious mental health problem, but I got better.
I don’t want to get into a lot of detail about this here because I wrote an in-depth post about it last week, but it was a major deal, so I do want to touch on it.
The TL;DR of that post is that I suffered obsessive, graphic, intrusive thoughts after seeing an Instagram post in which a four-and-a-half year old died in an accident. It got more intense and frequent until I was worried I needed to seek help, but I couldn’t seem to tell anyone about it, either. Thankfully, I was able to scrape together enough resistance to use a visualization technique I learned in counselling to remove the damaging thought and get relief.
Drawing isn’t my forte, but Inktober has been a blast.
I’ve known about Inktober for years but never participated because I’m, you know, not a visual artist. But it turned out to be the perfect thing for my sister-in-law and I to do together as mothers with small children who know they’re still creatives despite evidence to the contrary in this stage of their lives. We decided that rather than bemoaning the loss of artistic expression, we’d art for fun instead of the serious business we’ve become accustomed to. And it’s been hella cool!
I’ve gotten behind a few times (and am still behind today), and my quirk of adding a story to each drawing has made it unnecessarily difficult, but it’s letting me play where I used to only see work and has shown me that there are stories in here yet. 10/10: Will do again.
You can see all my drawings on my Instagram for now. I’ll put up a site page here when they’re all done.
I can’t do NaNoWriMo this year, so I’m doing my own thing instead.
Speaking of challenges! I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month twice before, but I’ve struggled with novels since finishing Mirror of Ashes. As much as I’d love to dive into Apple of Chaos using NaNo as a container, with Mack nipping at my heels all day, it ain’t gonna happen.
But! About a week into Inktober, I realized that daily art is actually possible. (You’d think I would’ve figured that out after all the Noticing posts I’ve done, but I digress.) What if I did the same thing but with tiny stories? I asked a few people and got good feedback, so I ran with it, tweaking the concept to fit my writing needs and to be fun/challenging so other people could play, too. I even made a Facebook group. That’s how you know I’m serious.
Thus, No Novel November was born! We’re starting on Friday (omg tomorrow) writing microfiction from daily prompts, and I am super hype to properly stretch my writing legs after the great warmup from Inktober. I also have this tingle in the back of my mind that this Something Important, but I’m ignoring it so I don’t accidentally smother it with attention like a toddler with a kitten.
I’d love it if you’d join us! Click/tap/focus intently on this link for more info.
- Lino and I are second-generation gamers, and as such, when the Enthusiast Live Gaming Expo came to Toronto, his mom took us as our Christmas gift. It was rad! We got to test so many cool indie games, see some truly incredible art, and I ate half a large pizza. A good time was had by all.
- Mackenzie was in and out of casts again for toe-walking. We’re doing physio with her at home because money and are hopeful this is the last time.
- I do not know how to Halloween as a parent. I seriously thought trick-or-treating was the Saturday nearest Halloween if it fell on a weekday, but nooooooo. WHY NOT. It’s supposed to rain like heck here, though, so I might be able to get out of it. This year.