year in review: 2017.

After organizing my shoes on the new shoe racks I requested for Christmas (insert “I’ll never get pregnant before marriage” joke here), ya girl is back at it again with the blogging.  One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to continue blogging on a regular basis, and I’m going to start with this, my annual year in review post.

Honestly, this post holds a special place in my heart, as do all of the others, and I really do it more for myself than anyone else.  It’s amazing to be able to look back at the last year and think about everything that’s happened in my life and how crazy how much can happen in just five hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes.  (Because that’s how you measure a year.)  ((In addition to measuring in love.))

I knew going into 2017 that it would be a crazy busy year, and one full of change, but I don’t think I could’ve imagined all of the change that would happen outside of the obvious.  One of the biggest and most life-changing things happened when I least expected it (isn’t that always how it goes?) and I can’t wait to see what happens with it in 2018 (and onward).

Anyway.  Let’s go.

January

IMG-5546

i’ll always look back on these days of running errands and visiting the library with these two little munchkins with fondness.  {1-26-17}

After my first actual Christmas break since I was in high school, I started back on school with my final two courses – my Liberal Arts Capstone and a Jane Austen course.  I thought both would be fairly simple.  Turns out Jane was a breeze (thanks, years of watching period dramas for fun!!!!!).  The Capstone, on the other hand…  *laughs through tears*  To be completely honest, it was the hardest semester of school I’d ever experienced.  I cried more in those three months than ever before.  Due to stress, I ate way too much ice cream and got incredibly bad acne.  For the first time ever, I considered quitting and dreaded getting up in the morning to study.  The only thing that pushed me through it was the fact that I was close, and if I could just finish, I knew I’d be able to conquer anything.

And I did, praise the Lord.

In addition to this, I discovered a lot of new things.  Dear Evan Hansen came early in the beginning of the month.  Life.  Changing.  Listen to the soundtrack – and watch a bootleg, if you can find one.  I also discovered a brand new show (Teen Wolf – hello, you weirdly beautiful show) and, through obsessing over said show, found my best friend.  The show was a gateway to conversations about growing up, maturing, being a young adult while still living at home, and relationships – all incredibly easy because we’d known each other for almost eight years and had the same upbringing.  After drifting away from someone who I’d previously called my best friend, it was so heartwarming to find someone new.  Since then, we’ve created so many memories together and have stretched each other in so many ways and I can’t imagine myself without her.

I also blogged about how scared I was to start writing, which turned out to be not so scary after all.  After that, I worked on my novel several times a week at Starbucks or at home or in my car or wherever I could find a power outlet (because my laptop battery suuuuucked), until finally finishing it at the end of March.  (And then starting up again as I started submitting queries.)

Minor notable events: I met Veronica Roth and got a signed copy of her latest novel, Carve the Mark, and started going to a college age Bible study that was one of the highlights of my semester.

February

IMG-5921

the true marker of the beginning of our bestfriendship – geting each other matching hoodies.    {2-24-17}

I got a Facebook account during this month and I’ve never been more disgusted and intrigued.  It’s like a car crash – you’re horrified but you just. can’t. look. away.  I take frequent breaks from it and rarely scroll through my feed because of it, but it’s led to many good things (I wouldn’t have a few of the best people in my life if I didn’t have it).

I also struggled with a long-time crush during February.  (Stupid love month.)  It’s hard being so sure that you and a guy would be a great couple when he barely knows you exist.  After several prayers and seeing him way too many times, it finally went away.  It was for the best, after all, and I learned a lot about myself and relationships through it.  I wish I hadn’t gotten so obsessed and let him take over so much of my brain, but it’s all over now and we’re friends.

I also cried over my Capstone a lot.  Dang that professor.  He told me not to worry about my grades (after not grading my papers for literally weeks) because that was “childish.”  I’ve only close to legitimately hating someone once before (a teenage girl who made such a horrific impact on my younger sister that she still lives with the consequences years later), and I don’t want to ever come that close again.  He taught me a lot, though – like to always remember that people have feelings, that people are always capable of rising above impossibly dreadful situations, and that self-care is something that everyone needs.  (Meanwhile, my Austen professor was an absolute gem, and the entire class enjoyed a very lively discussion of Austen’s works and other historical novels – complete with memes.  It was an easy A course and I adored every moment of it.)

I did take a weekend off to go to a retreat in the mountains with my WITAlive friends and it was a blast.  I made so many new friends and developed deeper connections with friends I’d made before.  It was phenomenal and I’ll cherish those memories forever.  I also started volunteering as a small group leader at my church and grew to love all of my little sixth-grade girls dearly.  Other things of note: I attended a 20’s themed 20th birthday party for two of my dearest friends, one of the highlights of my year.  I also saw Newsies in the movie theatre with my friends (twice) and it slayed my life.

March

IMG-6304

making salads and watching a tv show over lunch became my safe place – my haven in the craziness of school.  {3-24-17}

March started off with a bang – my first royalty check.  For the first time, my career as a writer finally felt real.  People had bought my book and I heard from a lot of them that they enjoyed it.  WHAT A CONCEPT.

I also got Rather Existential™ about finishing college.  As the schoolaholic I was, I had no idea how to have a life outside of school.  Especially in that last semester of college, where all of my time was devoted to finishing my capstone, I clung to the hours I spent in my room on my laptop, writing pages and pages of this massive final paper.  It was so hard and took so much time and stressed me out so much, but I didn’t want to let it go.  After eight years of finding my identity in my schoolwork (because I didn’t have too many friends in high school and sunk much of my time into being the best at school that I could), I didn’t know how to be myself outside of it.  I distinctly remember letting myself sink into fear and God revealing through His word that I shouldn’t be afraid of the future – three times in one passage after a particularly hard day of letting go of the reins.

And then, before I realized what was happening, it was March 24th and I was submitting my final paper and then going to a friend’s house to shoot his guns.  I remember unloading a semi-automatic rifle (with impeccable accuracy, I might add) on a certain target while screaming, “This is for you, professor!!!”  That was a good moment.

Also during March, I went to DNOW with my group of sixth grade girls from my church and enjoyed it immensely, and saw my first play at the massive theatre in my little town (Tarzan) and fantasized with a friend about acting.  (Little did we know, we’d be on that same stage with some of the same people only a few months later.)

April

IMG-6615

some of the sibs and i at james’s state robotics competition.  {4-7-17}

This month started out with two of my best friends surprising me by driving all the way down from Virginia to hang out with me and my siblings.  We drank too much coffee and played April Fools Day tricks on people and they consoled me when I started freaking out about not getting a passing grade on my big final paper.  (I ended up passing, though.  It just looked like I hadn’t passed because he still hadn’t graded papers that I’d submitted a month ago.  Classic.)

My brother started competing with his robotics team, and I watched like the proud mom friend/sister I am as his team went all the way through to the world competition in Houston.  (They ended up getting third in the world.  Yeah, he’s pretty smart.)  Another time I felt like a mom was when I took the twins I’d been nannying for two years to their Easter party at a farm, complete with bunnies, an Easter egg hunt, and adorable clothes.

My world was slightly rocked when I found out that a good guy friend liked me and wanted to see what would happen if we explored being more than Just Friends™.  After twenty-two years of never hearing that any guy had even the slightest bit of romantic interest in me, it was a lot to handle.  (I actually got the text as I was telling my parents – half jokingly, half seriously – that I repel men.)

Towards the end of the month, my entire family went to Houston with my brother for a week for his robotics competition and I volunteered to stay home, hold down the fort, watch our new puppies (!!!), and cover both Katie’s and my own nannying days.  I was a little disappointed that I could only watch the competition via livestream, but it was honestly one of the best weeks of my life.  I saw Matilda with my grandma, invited my best friend to spend a few days with me (watching movies and episodes of Teen Wolf and being awful influences on one another and basically being way too domestic), dyed my hair blue, and spent many hours talking to aforementioned guy.

I also submitted my first query letter, went to another author event with my best bookish friend, and declared my best friend love for my bestie (who’d just done the same in a totally separate conversation).

May

IMG-7044 (1)

my sister and i at the twins’ preschool graduation.  so many happy tears.  {6-11-17}

Continuing my inclination to be a mom with no children, I spent several hours in early May helping one of the twins pull her loose tooth out.  It took an entire afternoon of both Katie and I assuring her that it wouldn’t hurt, promising her candy, and hugging and kissing away her sobs.  The tooth finally came out and the little girl told us she wished she’d done it earlier.  (Smh.  Listen to me, child!)  As this was the last month of picking them up from their preschool – as Katie and I had done for the last three years – I held moments like this close to my heart.  I’m not ashamed to say that I sobbed at their graduation along with the other moms I’d gotten to know over the last three years.  I still miss getting parenting and relationship advice and obsessing over This is Us with those moms and can’t wait to have that again with my own kids.

One of the most exhausting weekends of my life – mentally, emotionally, and physically – happened during this month.  I ended things with the guy after a month of getting to know each other, helped my family move out of the house we’d called home for the last six years (the longest my siblings and I had ever lived anywhere), and unpacked boxes and cleaned and organized a few rooms in the new house while my mom was gone the afternoon after we’d moved in for our Mother’s Day present for her.  After barely getting any sleep, I remember crashing on the couch for a few hours after cleaning the new house, completely dead to the world.

One of the best things that has ever happened to me happened during this month.  When my family moved into our new house, my sister and I moved into the basement (which we would later start paying rent for).  We each have our own room, a shared bathroom and closet (which my parents were able to copy exactly from the master bathroom – perks of building a house, even though it took over a year – #BLESSED), and our own living room/kitchenette.  We decorated the kitchenette like Luke’s from Gilmore Girls (complete with an adorable coffee mug shelf just like his that holds thirty mugs), and just got open shelving installed by a neighbor this past week.  After living on the first floor, directly off the kitchen and living room, and sharing a bathroom with two sisters (which doubled as our guest bathroom), living down here in the basement has been nothing short of heaven.  Sure, I can hear thumps from the school room directly above me, but it’s infinitely better than what I had before.  We still don’t have wifi at the new house (and probably won’t for several years), but it’s so gorgeous and has so much potential.  My family is so happy here and we’re all incredibly blessed.

I also organized my college graduation party, and was so happy that all of my best friends came – even some friends from out of town, who we explored Atlanta with in the days after.  One of my favorite things was sitting in a circle with the 20+ people who came (I’ve never been one for big parties and firmly believe in quality over quantity) and hearing about their first impressions of me.  (One was actually sad that I was so in love with Captain America… looking back on the last few months of my life makes me want to laugh and say “Joke’s on you!”)

After moving to our wifi-less house, I started downloading episodes of shows off Netflix while I was at church so I could watch them during the week.  I made it through several seasons of The Office this way, which I’ll forever link to mornings spent drinking coffee and bingeing shows, happy to not have the stress of school or a full-time job (yet).

June

IMG-7522

krispy kreme drive-thru after mamma mia with these crazies.  {6-14-17}

So began another month of watching shows in the morning, nannying in the afternoons, and questioning my existence.  Looking back, I realize how blessed I was to have those peaceful moments before starting a full-time job in November, but, in those weeks, it was a struggle to see the good.  I applied for jobs and never heard back, wondered if I could find another nannying job (as the one I’d done for the last few years was swiftly coming to an end), and wished I had the structure of school.  In my hours of unexpected free time, I read books, edited my novel (The Art of Letting Go), got tons of constructive criticism on it, and finally – finally – started submitting query letters to agents.  That, by far, was one of the best things I did last year, and something I’m still very proud of.

I also met my long-time friend Heather from Australia that I met through this blog (hey, girl!), and am currently looking forward to spending a few days with her next month (!!!).

During this month, I was able to enjoy visits from several different friends who lived in different states.  I also went to our old house to steal the wifi and watch the Tony awards (feeling incredibly inspired by the fact that all of the nominations for best play were debuts and sobbing my eyes out when the cast of Dear Evan Hansen – especially Ben Platt – swept the awards).

My sisters and I won lottery tickets to see the touring production of Mamma Mia!, and we dragged my brother along (although he later admitted he enjoyed it).  I had a bite of a Krispy Kreme donut for the first time in seven years and nearly cried.

One night, I went to visit a good friend at a local theatre and watch her work on a play – a kids’ summer program put on by some of Katie’s theatre friends.  I brought a book to read if I got bored, but was asked to fill in for one of the actresses (who, a few weeks into rehearsals, still not shown up).  I was happy to oblige.  I worked blocking with this friend, read the other girl’s lines, and kept having to correct “we should do this” to “you guys should do this.”  At the end of rehearsals, the director looked at me and said, “You know you’ve got the part, right?  Is that okay?  Can you do it?”  And that, my friends, is how I got into theatre.  I was an outlier – five years older than the oldest person in the cast and one of the minor characters, with only five lines of my own – but I had such a blast.  I warned them that they were literally never getting rid of me after that, and, judging from the last few months, it’s been insanely accurate.

I also got my diploma and tassel in the mail (perks of getting my degree online), bought my first (five) succulents, started re-reading Before You Meet Prince Charming (Lord Jesus give me strength), got a Peter Pan phone case, watched Band of Brothers over a week with my brother, finally started losing weight (!!!!), started watching Riverdale (the soapiest of soap operas and yet I was so obsessed), had the first of many sleepovers with two of my best friends, and hosted my first immersive Clue night (where my cousins and siblings and I dressed up as Clue characters as we played Clue – still one of the best ideas I’ve ever had).  All in all, a packed month.

July

IMG-8509

me and some of the baby cast of beauty after our last show.  {7-30-17}

In July, we spent a week at my grandparents’ house for our annual cousin camp – give or take a few days because of work.  I finished the last few episodes of the first season of Riverdale while snuggled up in my sleeping bag and also worked with my grandma for hours on cardboard cars so we could have a “drive-in” movie.  We watched one of my grandma’s old high school math students reprise his role in Beauty and the Beast in a local production after first seeing him play Lumiere ten years before, which was incredible.

My sister and I also spent nine days working at a vendor during AmericasMart in Atlanta.  After waking up at five-thirty every morning, driving an hour, staying on my feet from eight in the morning to six or seven at night, then driving an hour back home… I think it’s safe to say I almost died of exhaustion.

Later that month, some friends drove up from Florida for the weekend to see my brother play the Tin Man in a local production of The Wizard of Oz.  I also went with one of them to the Fox Theatre to see Idina Menzel in concert.  She’s such a diva but it was so worth it!  I also kept working on my novel and sending out query letters, but faced more and more rejection.  Now I no longer feel better whenever people tell me that “J.K. Rowling submitted to twelve publishers before getting one!”  Yeah, come back when you’ve submitted to more than thirty and only two have asked to see more (before turning it down).

In the end of July, Beauty of the Century (the kids show) opened, and I spent every night at the theatre for a week (tech week, but often we’d just sit on the stage after the kids left and talk for hours).  Four shows in one weekend, then it was over.  I will never forget that experience.  Trying to keep thirty kids quiet backstage while the show was going on affirmed that, but it was more than just the craziness – it was the family that formed in those weeks, which was something I hadn’t experienced in such a long time.  I was a backstage mom for those kids, and I still love each and every one of them.  And there’s just something so exhilarating about being on a stage and being part of a story that plays out, in real time, before an audience… which is why I started to think seriously about auditioning for a that a new friend was a part of, especially after he said that it involved stage combat.

August

IMG-8554

baby bestie & i.  {8-1-17}

I ushered in this month by spending three days with my best friend, getting my hair cut seven inches shorter, and going to a baseball game at the new baseball stadium in town with friends.  My bestie also introduced me to bubble tea, and after looking through pictures, I’m craving it again.  (Thanks, Karlee.)  We also went to see a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was put on by the production company that would later do Treasure Island.  (The cast included a few people who I’d met during Beauty, and some people who I would later consider some of my best friends, even though I didn’t even know their names at the time.  Crazy how that happens, isn’t it?)  In line with theatre stuff, I also attended the awards show for the theatre that had hosted Beauty, since my brother had been nominated for an award as the titular character in The Pied Piper of Hamlin, the kids show from the previous year’s summer program.  (Again, people were nominated that I barely knew and would, in less than three months time, become more dear to me than some people I’d known for years.)

The twins started kindergarten and attended an after-school program during the days I usually nannied, so I inadvertently found myself with even more free time.  It was a struggle to let go at first, because hanging out with these adorable small children every Tuesday and Thursday had been my routine for the last two and a half years.  I’d lost my little buddies… and my only source of income.  To say that the months following were downers would be an understatement.  To make up for it, I started babysitting at a Classical Conversations co-op once a week.  It wasn’t much, but I took what I could get.  Meanwhile, I looked for a new job.

To distract myself from this aspect of my life, I decided to audition for Treasure Island.  If I couldn’t have a job, I could at least have some structure, right?  It helped knowing that several of my close younger friends were auditioning as well.  I prepared a monologue (the opening scene of Dear Evan Hansen, plus a little more from later on) and did it.  My hands shook the entire time and for several minutes afterward, but I did it anyway.  After the monologues, we read selections from the play.  I got to read the part of Doctor Livesey and instantly connected with the character.  Two of my younger friends and I had plans to go rock climbing afterwards, so we had to leave early, but I left wishing and hoping and praying that I could get the part.  To my complete and utter shock, after an entire afternoon and most of an evening of waiting with my fingers crossed… the cast list came.  I’d gotten a part.  A supporting lead (the doctor character I’d read for) with ninety-two lines for my second play – not too shabby!  And not just lines – the way the play was orchestrated, most of it was narration by Jim, Captain Smollet, and, yours truly, Doctor Livesey.  I had massive paragraphs of narration, facing the audience, in a spotlight, including the opening monologue of Act 2.  I instantly freaked out, wondering if I could even do it.  But I was determined to try – and, more than that, incredibly excited.

My siblings and I also started hosting a movie night sleepover every few weeks with some friends to introduce them to Harry Potter.  It’s been super fun, especially since we were never really allowed to do sleepovers when we were younger.  It’s also pretty great having a space of our own to do this!  I won more lottery tickets to see the touring production of An American in Paris (making it the third professional musical I’d see this year – #blessed), so my sister and I went with some of her friends.  It was more ballet-focused than I’d thought, and absolutely stunning in every way.  I also started learning French, killed four MASSIVE spiders within the space of two weeks (I’m not kidding – they were about four inches long and I’ve got the pictures to prove it), spent another week watching action movies with my brother, and sat on the roof of my Volvo wagon to watch the eclipse.

An agent also asked to see my entire manuscript and, although he later turned it down, it was a great feeling.

September

IMG-9351

look at these small children.  {9-7-17}

Rehearsals for Treasure Island continued – including the amazing Saturday combat rehearsals – and I started making more friends from the cast.  Going through my pictures to remember what happened in those months reminded me of those first texts, friend requests, Instagram notifications, and little things I’d tell my best friend about them.  I also started asking for advice on how to subtly flirt with a certain cast member because of his Captain America shirt.

I started taking my younger friend to and from rehearsal every week, and we’d sit on her porch swing at night and talk.  Those hours spent talking with her until I had to drag myself away built up our friendship more than it had in the last six years that I’d known her and formed some of my favorite memories in this season of my life.  She’s seven years younger than me, but she’s one of my best friends.

Halfway through the month, my family went on our annual beach trip – something we’d skipped the year before in order to go to Disney instead (meaning we hadn’t gone in two years and were long past due for a trip).  We had so much fun sitting on the beach, reading, watching TV shows and movies, and just spending time with one another.  My siblings and I also took a few afternoon excursions by ourselves and felt super basic with our frappucinos and quality Instagram pictures.  During this beach trip, a friend from church decided to set me up on a blind date, which I hesitantly accepted and scheduled for a few days after I got home.  (That story is too long to share here, but suffice it to say that the date went well but then he ghosted me.  Oh well.  I’d finally had my first date.  Check that off the bucket list!)

I distinctly remember texting a friend that, in the hours before, I’d (1) gotten an email from an agent asking for the first fifty pages of my novel, (2) started prepping for an interview the next week, (3) scheduled a blind date, and (4) memorized lines because “on top of all of this craziness hey why not star in a play.”  The agent later turned down the novel (recently, actually) and the blind date flopped, but I successfully memorized all of my lines and (three interviews and many tears later) got the job.

October

FullSizeRender (2)

our gentility trio.  {10-12-17}

Ahh, yes.  The month where everything changed.  In this month, I got asked out for the first time, successfully co-starred in a play, auditioned for another play, and got a job.

My friendship with my theatre friends deepened, we had a night that will forever go down in Elliott Family Lore as the Bonfire of Love, and a friend (and former castmate) was killed in a car crash and I found out about it right after being sick and right before auditioning for Miracle on 34th Street.  (I’m not kidding – being sick, finding out, and auditioning all happened in the space of about an hour and a half.)  Because of that (and because I was mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted), I thought I’d bombed the audition.  There really wasn’t even a part for me, as the lead called for a woman in her thirties and the other female parts were very minor “elves.”  I’d promised my mom a few days before that “even if I auditioned,” I wouldn’t have to be at every rehearsal.  The next morning, I woke up to an email with the cast list.  I’d gotten the lead.  This time, I had a hundred and fifty-four lines.  Again, not too shabby for something I’d done on a whim.  This time, I freaked out for a solid week (during tech week for Treasure Island) before finally deciding that if I’d gotten myself into this mess, I might as well try my hardest to make it through it.

IMG-0514

bonus pic bc i still love and adore this cast.  {10-13-17}

Rehearsals for Miracle started three days after Treasure Island closed, which was quite the whirlwind.  I hated leaving my Treasure Island friends I’d grown to love so much, but I was happy to make new memories.  A few of my favorite memories from Treasure Island include my Sexy Ben Franklin outfit, eating pizza at 2am with my new theatre besties after closing night, and listening to “I’m Still Here” from Treasure Planet at least once on the road to every rehearsal.  (There’s also that time I chucked my gun into the audience on closing night… but we won’t talk about that.)

Other random favorite memories were shopping with two new theatre friends, visiting the Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern to see MacBeth with my sister, a theatre friend, and my Miracle director, meeting my love interest for Miracle in a roundabout way (and hiding from him, obviously), going on a date, and enjoying a fun Halloween party.

November

FullSizeRender (4)

rehearsing the final scene (feat. our makeshift bench, my post-work outfit, and several onlookers who wanted to experience the adorbs).  {11-17-17}

Ahh, yes.  NaNo.  I started the month with such high hopes, thinking I’d be able to participate again.  But, sadly, no.  I got ten thousand words in, then started working full time (with an hour-long commute – without traffic).  There went that idea.  I’m still going to finish that book, though.  Slowly, surely, over the next few months.  Looking forward to it, actually.

In the space of a weekend, I drove down to Florida with my sisters, participated in the most stressful wedding ever, visited several friends, came back to Georgia, hammered out six thousand words of my novel in an afternoon (before going to the Fox Theatre to see the cast of The Avengers do a benefit read-through of Our Town – ALL THE HEART EYES BECAUSE MY LIFE. WAS. MADE.), and started training for my new job – a receptionist position at a car dealership.  It’s been almost four months and it’s been a struggle sometimes but I mostly love it to death.

Other than working ten hours a day, my life circled around rehearsals for Miracle, Christmas prep, maintaining my social life, and deepening friendships.  The last week of November was ridiculous because I’d get up at 6:30, leave for work early to beat traffic, work ’til 5pm, fight traffic for an hour and a half all the way up to the theatre, rehearse for three or four hours, drive thirty minutes home, sleep for six or seven hours, and get up to do it all again.  It’s a testament to how amazing my theatre friends are that they would still hang out with me after seeing me stressed to the point of tears.

December

FullSizeRender (3)

my best friend and my wifey.  {12-10-17}

December was a whirwind.  Miracle opened and was a rousing success, much to the relief of myself and my costars.  I was able to get all of opening day off, so I spent it at the theatre figuring out how to do my hair, finishing the set, buying flowers for all of the backstage moms, and trying not to have a nervous breakdown.  Saturday gave me a real taste of what it’d be like the rest of the time, with leaving for work at seven in the morning, working 8:30-6, booking it to the theatre and only making it an hour before curtains, and then doing the show.  Craziness.

There were so many little stories of things that happened during Miracle that would take an entire blog post to tell, but by far my favorite is when I literally ended the very last show with a bang.  After the most romantic scene in the entire show, the lights went dark and everything was completely black.  One of the tech guys hadn’t been there, so the table in the apartment set was on the wrong spike tape.  Not a big deal – during the scene, I’d just skirted around it.  This time, however, I’d forgotten that there were chairs.  Instead of going in front of it like I had the entire rehearsal process and every single one of the six shows before, I went around back.  Tragically, since I’d forgotten the chairs, I ran straight into one, knocking it over before tripping over it.  I held in my laughter as I crawled offstage, then fell in the wings, laughing hysterically and trying to explain through whispered gasps what had happened.  What a memory.

Another favorite memory of December is when my best friend from Iowa who I’d met on Pinterest a few years before but hadn’t met in real life yet flew over and spent an entire weekend with me.  Even though she brought the snow that cancelled all of my birthday plans, two shows, and knocked out the power aND WATER FOR OVER FORTY-EIGHT HOURS… I still love her.  We had such a blast hanging out together ranting, draining our laptop batteries to watch movies, reading books, and FaceTiming friends.  We ate my birthday cheesecake by candlelight – a lot less romantic when you remember that you can’t brush your teeth afterwards… or flush the toilet… or wash your hands…  Anyway, the events surrounding my birthday were pretty fantastic, even if my actual birthday wasn’t that great (minus Natalie, of course).  We did end up getting to do an impromptu sleepover with my other best friend, and it. was. amazing.  (Mostly because we had light and heat and queso and a John Krasinski movie on the big TV.)  If anything, it reminded me that people who see me at my absolute worst and still love me are worth keeping around.

Other favorite memories from December include keeping our Ben & Jerry’s ice cream outside in the snow to keep it from melting completely, showering at a friend’s uncle’s house (because they had both power and water – PRAISE THE LORD), doing a photo shoot with my two bestest friends in the world on our last day together, knowing I’d made it through one of the worst days of my life on my second-to-last show day with applause (affirming my love for that famous Wonder quote – “I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives” … especially on that particular day), absolutely crushing the last weekend of Miracle, getting bOTH A TRAMPOLINE AND A TOASTER OVEN FOR CHRISTMAS LIKE HELLO BEST CHRISTMAS EVER, and enjoying much too much time with my best friend eating pizza, ranting about life’s problems, and encouraging the h*ck out of one another.  Oh, and I also went on more dates than I can count (with the same guy obviously who do you think I am), so that was also very fun and also a story for another time.

IMG_7878.JPG

hello, annual picture-in-the-bathroom-mirror tradition.  (feat a new bathroom and a new crochet’d whale keychain.)  {1-28-18}

All that said, this year was incredible.  I started off the year knowing it would be a year of change but I had no idea just how much would happen.  I went from not knowing what the heck I was doing and yet moving forward anyway to realizing that I’m on some sort of sled going down a snowy hill and it’s just getting faster and faster but I don’t actually mind because it’s super fun???  Sorry for the weak metaphor but that’s what it feels like.

I asked for character development and got it in 2016.  I asked for story progression and got it in 2017.  So, in 2018, I’ll ask for more of both, because Lord knows I need both.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you.  I love rereading these posts over the years and I’m more than happy to share with whoever’s still out there reading this blog.

Excelsior.

Advertisements

happy 100th birthday, bucky.

Today is my baby Bucky’s birthday.  More than that, it’s his 100th birthday.  (My little baby’s all grown up and eighty years older than me – *weeps*)

So I thought, what better way to spend it than get all feelsy over a fanvid?

Grab some tissues and a birthday cupcake and cry with me.

love week | some fanvids of my favorite ships.

Hello all!  Welcome to the week of Valentine’s Day, which usually finds me and my single friends eating chocolate and watching sappy movies.  (The same can probably be said of you, too, if you’re single – don’t even try to lie to me.)  This week, I’m going to be indulging in all things romantic, because even if I’m not in a relationship, I can at least enjoy the fictional people who are, right?

Literally just like the title says.  Warning: Probably spoilers.

focal point | sherlolly {sherlock}

I’ve been shipping this since Season One, guys.  And it was worth it.  It’s always been worth it.

the last time | literati {gilmore girls}

Y’all know I didn’t like Jess.  But then he grew on me after I wrote that post, and, by the time A Year in the Life came around, he was (imho) the best of the three for Rory.  So here I sit, still holding my opinion of angsty teenage Jess, but having an entirely new opinion of AYitL Jess.  (And yes of course I’m planning Literati fanfiction.)

this is for the lonely | peter + wendy {peter pan}

Yes, I do ship small children.

i should have saved you | mileven {stranger things}

I will never get over this video, just like I will never get over this ship.  I’ll be sobbing over it ’til Season Two premieres in October.  (And this is the saddest video in this bunch, so I’m sorry.)

this | tim + mary {about time}

Current favorite movie (About Time) and current favorite actor (Domhnall Gleeson).  I love this so much.

tenerife sea | mondler {f.r.i.e.n.d.s}

I sobbed after Chandler proposed to Monica and then sobbed all over again when I found this video.  They’re my absolute favorite ship from this show, and I love them both dearly.

it’s you and me forever | cory + shawn {boy meets world}

Now, I don’t ship these two (I’m a hardcore Copanga and Shawngela shipper), but I love their bromance, their friendship, and how they’re always there for one another.  I love the love they have for one another.  Period.

teenage dream | copanga {boy meets world}

THIS is my main Boy Meets World ship.  Literal goals.

saturn | steggy {captain america}

Now, I don’t know who the crap allowed this, but I know I love it.  So bittersweet.  It perfectly encapsulates their story.

please don’t say you love me | knighthouse {emma}

Okay so the thing I love about this video is that it’s not just Emma Approved – it’s all the favorites!  Clueless (hello, Paul Rudd), the ’09 version (practically perfect in every way), and that other version that people like for some reason.  Love it.

Well, this concludes Love Week, as I’ll be at a cabin in Tennessee for the rest of the weekend with some of my very bestest friends.  What are some of your favorite fanvids?  What did you think about Love Week as a whole?  (Because I do love feedback & knowing that you guys like what I blog about.)

love week | fictional guys i’d totally marry.

Hello all!  Welcome to the week of Valentine’s Day, which usually finds me and my single friends eating chocolate and watching sappy movies.  (The same can probably be said of you, too, if you’re single – don’t even try to lie to me.)  This week, I’m going to be indulging in all things romantic, because even if I’m not in a relationship, I can at least enjoy the fictional people who are, right?

fictional guys i'd totally marry.jpg

I was going to write a blog post on my favorite fictional couples, but it turns out I already did that (and my post is pretty dang great, so check it out).  I’ve also done post after post after post about being single (going twenty-two years strong, how’s that for a RECORD), so read those, too.

So since my sister is getting flowers from a male non-relative who likes her for the second year in a row, I’m going to think about all the fictional guys I’d totally marry if they existed.

No judgment, guys.  You and I both know that I have Standards and A List, and I probably wouldn’t actually marry half of these guys, but it’s fun to pretend, so… no judgment.

Anne-and-Gil-talking.jpgGilbert Blythe | Anne of Green Gables

Because who the crap could resist those beautiful eyes, that dazzling smile, and just his entire winning personality???  Anne tried, but couldn’t for long.  He’d tease you but he’d also love the heck outta you.  I’m down for that.

“There would never be anyone for me but you. “

Levi Stewart | Fangirl

This one’s obvious – he loves books (even though he can’t read very well), he’s a fanboy, he’s super sweet and super funny, and he works at Starbucks and makes his own unique drinks – which he brings to Cather.  I mean, it’s a win-win-win.

When she opened her door, Levi was sitting in the hallway, his legs bent in front of him, hunched forward on his knees. He looked up when she stepped out.
“I’m such an idiot,” he said.
Cath fell between his knees and hugged him.
“I can’t believe I said that,” he said. “I can’t even go nine hours without seeing you.”

Neville Longbottom | Harry Potter

Nev wasn’t much to look at when he was younger (I blame it on the fake teeth and fatsuits they put Matt in, because he wasn’t that ugly in the book) and he’s a tad forgetful, but he’s got a heart of gold.  Plus, he bailed Harry out more than once.  What’s not to love?

“I’ll join you when Hell freezes over,” said Neville. “Dumbledore’s Army!” he shouted, and there was an answering cheer from the crowd, whom Voldemort’s Silencing Charms seemed unable to hold.

HIS. EYES..pngPeeta Mellark | The Hunger Games

M’KAY, listen UP.  My college/career Bible study got into a heated debate about Gale vs. Peeta and I’m pretty sure Team Peeta won because (1) he saved Katniss’s life more than once, (2) Gale basically killed Prim, and (3) he’s such a strong guy – physically, emotionally, and mentally.  I’ll always be Team Peeta.

“We were five. You had a plaid dress and your hair…it was in two braids instead of one. … So that day, in music assembly, the teacher asked who knew the valley song. Your hand shot right up in the air. She put you up on a stool and had you sing it for us. And I swear, ever bird outside the windows fell silent. And right when your song ended, I knew -just like your mother- I was a goner.”

Faramir | Lord of the Rings

My siblings and I just recently introduced some friends to Lord of the Rings, and watching the extended versions all over again rekindled my love for this man.  He’s selfless, sacrificial, and willing to do anything for those he loves (even his deadbeat dad, who doesn’t love him at all).  Move over, Eowyn – I’d marry this guy so hard.

“Then must I leave my own people, man of Gondor?” she said. “And would you have your proud folk say of you: ‘There goes a lord who tamed a wild shieldmaiden of the North! Was there no woman of the race of Numenor to choose?”
“I would,” said Faramir. And he took her in his arms and kissed her under the sunlit sky, and he cared not that they stood high upon the walls in the sight of many.

Mac Campbell | Rose in Bloom

If you know who this guy is, bless you.  He’s a bookworm, super smart, and just the sweetest little pumpkin that there ever was.  The first time I read Eight Cousins, I knew I loved him, and Rose in Bloom just cemented my adoration for this guy.

“What have you decided to be, Mac?” asked Rose, as they went up the avenue side by side.
“A man first, and a good one if possible; after that, what God pleases.”
Something in the tone, as well as the words, made Rose look up quickly into Mac’s face, to see a new expression there.  It was indescribable; but she felt as if she had often done when watching the mists part suddenly, giving glimpses of some mountaintop, shining serene and high against the blue.
“I think you will be something splendid; for you really look quite glorified, walking under this arch of yellow leaves with the sunshine on your face,” she exclaimed, conscious of a sudden admiration never felt before; for Mac was the plainest of all the cousins.
“I don’t know about that; but I have my dreams and aspirations, and some of them are pretty high ones.  Aim at the best, you know, and keep climbing if you want to get on,” he said, looking at the asters with an inward sort of smile, as if he and they had some sweet secret between them.

dylan-dylan-ox27brien-hot-sexy-beast-Favim.com-1068521.pngStiles Stalinski | Teen Wolf

Here’s where my “no judgment” rule comes in.  Don’t ask how I found this show, why I started watching it, or how far into it I am.  Never mind, I’ll give you one answer – I started watching it because of Dylan O’Brien, whom I love, which is obviously the reason why I love Stiles.  He’s hilarious, loyal, and – as much as he denies it – heroic.

“The ten-year plan for making Lydia fall in love with me may have to stretch to fifteen, but the plan is definitely still in motion.”

Chandler Bing | F.R.I.E.N.D.S

I don’t love Chandler as much as I am him, which is probably why our marriage wouldn’t last a year, but I’d still take him.  I’ve always wanted to marry a funny guy, and Chandler is a million times that, plus he’s got a super-sweet heart and a genuinely caring spirit.  I’ll take it, even if it’d only last a little while.  (But then I’d give him back to Monica because they’re my otp.)

“I thought that it mattered what I said or where I said it. Then I realized the only thing that matters is that you, you make me happier than I ever thought I could be.  And if you’ll let me, I will spend the rest of my life trying to make you feel the same way.  Monica, will you marry me?”

Shawn Hunter | Boy Meets World

SHAWN IS MY PRECIOUS BABY AND I WILL LOVE HIM ‘TIL THE DAY I DIE.  No kidding, I liked him in the first episode, but I really loved him around Episode 17 – The Fugitive (you know, the episode where he blows up a mailbox).  I just want to love and protect him and give him everything he ever deserved that the world never gave him.  Everything – and I do mean everything – went wrong for him, yet he emerged stronger than anyone thought possible.  GAH.

Cory: Okay, so after the prom, romance in the air, you and Angela, you’re gonna look in each other’s eyes, and…
Shawn: Me and Angela? I don’t know. Maybe. What do you think, we sat down and discussed it? How dorky do you think we are? What about you and Topanga?
Cory: We sat down and discussed it.

Captain-America-The-Winter-Soldier-Chris-Evans1.jpgSteve Rogers | Captain America

Chivalric hero from the ’40s with a super hot body?  Heck yes I would.

Peggy: You have no idea how to talk to a woman, do you?
Steve: I think this is the longest conversation I’ve had with one.  Women aren’t exactly lining up to dance with a guy they might step on.
Peggy: You must have danced…
Steve: Well, asking a woman to dance always seemed so terrifying.  And in the past few years, it just didn’t seem to matter that much.  Figured I’d wait.
Peggy: For what?
Steve: Right partner.

Sir Percy Blakeney | The Scarlet Pimpernel

The same exact sentence for the guy above could literally be used for Percy, so… heck yes I would again.  I own four (4) copies of The Scarlet Pimpernel, various paperback copies of the other books, and I think I’ve read ten out of the sixteen books (and El Dorado is the best).  I love this guy.

Had he but turned back then, and looked out once more on to the rose-lit garden, she would have seen that which would have made her own sufferings seem but light and easy to bear–a strong man, overwhelmed with his own passion and despair. Pride had given way at last, obstinacy was gone: the will was powerless. He was but a man madly, blindly, passionately in love and as soon as her light footstep had died away within the house, he knelt down upon the terrace steps, and in the very madness of his love he kissed one by one the places where her small foot had trodden, and the stone balustrade, where her tiny hand had rested last.

George Knightley | Emma

My first reading of this book (don’t hate me; I’m just now going through my classics phase) basically cemented my love for this guy – and also the fact that Jonny Lee Miller will always be the best Knightley fIGHT ME.

“I cannot make speeches, Emma:” he soon resumed; and in a tone of such sincere, decided, intelligible tenderness as was tolerably convincing.—“If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am.—You hear nothing but truth from me.—I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it.—Bear with the truths I would tell you now, dearest Emma, as well as you have borne with them. The manner, perhaps, may have as little to recommend them. God knows, I have been a very indifferent lover.—But you understand me.—Yes, you see, you understand my feelings—and will return them if you can. At present, I ask only to hear, once to hear your voice.”

nup_176073_0799-h_2016.jpg

Jack Pearson | This is Us

Jess who?  Move over, kid – Milo’s back and this time he’s even better than you.  Jack is literally the best male character on the small screen today.  Dad goals, husband goals, friend goals – just everything goals.  In the words of Rebecca, his oh-so-lucky wife, he’s “freaking Superman.”  I’ve loved gushing over him with my mom friends at the preschool playground and I know that I’ll still be gushing over him over the next few years as the show progresses.

“You know, when I was a little boy, I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Adults always ask little kids that.  I never had a good answer – not ’til I was twenty-eight.  Until the day that I met you.  That’s when I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wanted to be the man that made you happy.”

What about you?  Any men you’d totally take?  I claim all of these guys, though… at least ’til I find an actual real-life male non-relative to obsess over.  😉

thirteen fantastic movies & what i thought of them.

I did a post like this last year, so I decided to do it again!

Now, before you start saying, “Thirteen movies?!  Well, GOSH, Ashley – you spend so much money on movie tickets!”

  1. I wasn’t allowed to go to the theater much when I was little because (a) there wasn’t much I could see and (b) because my parents always had to pay for my ticket and, because of that, (c) they always had to be slightly interested in the movies as well, so now I go fairly often because I have a car and money to pay for myself.
  2. I never get popcorn or drinks.  (However, I did manage to sneak in a Starbucks frappucino this year.  #win)
  3. I didn’t pay for some of these tickets.  (PRAISE THE LORD FOR PARENTS & PARENTS OF KIDS I NANNY.)
  4. I go at the cheap times.  Every day from 4 to 5:30 at my theater is $6.  BOOM.
  5. I like movies.

Let’s do this thing.  (Links to the trailers are in the movie titles.)

gods_not_dead2.jpg

God’s Not Dead 2 | 1/21

Well.  This one was a colossal flop.  I didn’t even want to talk about it at all when I saw it, and did an April Fools post mainly consisting of Kevin McCreary’s review of it.  I can’t even remember most of what I thought about it, but I know I didn’t like it.  My dad got tickets to a super early screening because he’s a pastor (#perks) and we talked about it on the way there, basically laying out our (super low) expectations and what we wanted it to ultimately do.  It barely met my expectations, and, well, let’s just say that I got more out of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World than this movie.  Not only were there some issues with the court sequence (you cannot have surprise witnesses.  the end.  go home.), there were major issues with the basic story as well.  The one thing I did like, however, was that the hot lawyer (whose face almost made driving 45 minutes to go see this movie worth it) didn’t become a Christian at the end.  I know that may sound awful of me, as a Christian, to say that I’m glad someone didn’t become a Christian.  But think about it – how many movies have you seen where the meek, submissive, Christian main character influences his/her non-Christian rivals so much that they radically turn from their heathen ways and go to church, ending up raising their hands with tears streaming down their faces?  TOO MANY.  And that’s all I’ll say.  For more, watch Kevin’s actual review.  It’s totally worth an hour of your time.  (And this is the longest paragraph.  Obviously.)

star-wars-the-force-awakens.jpg

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens | 1/28

HECKLES YES.  Back to the good stuff.  So, I had already watched this movie a month before with my relatives, but my friend Katelyn and I wanted to see it again.  So we did.  Four girls (including us and my two sisters) going to a Star Wars movie sounds pretty awesome to me, especially since we spent half of it whispering about how hot Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver are.  (“You know… I can take anything I want.”  *entire row bursts out laughing*)  And there were only like ten people in the theater, including us, so it worked out marvelously.

captain-america-civil-war-bucky-barnes-sebastian.jpg

Captain America: Civil War | 5/5 & 5/15

SWEET. BUTTERED. CRUMPETS.  What a masterpiece.  What an absolute cinematic masterpiece.  I saw it the first time with my siblings and a friend, and then again with my siblings, my dad’s intern, and Morgan and her sisters.  (This is when we sneaked in our frappucinos.)  Such a good movie.  I loved it so very much.  See my actual, non-fangirly review here.

dory-e1466748327951.jpg

Finding Dory | 6/18

I saw this one with friends after exploring World of Coke in Atlanta, and it was super fun!  Our group totally symbolized the majority of the movie’s audience, since our group consisted of six people with ages ranging from sixteen to twenty-five.  We fell in love with Finding Nemo when we were little and gosh darn it we were absolutely gonna see Finding Dory as soon as possible.  I loved it so much.  It actually made half of us cry – that one scene with all the shells, guys.  I’ve heard people say that it’s not as good as the first, but I don’t think they can be compared.  They’re both fantastic movies.  I watched it again on Christmas Day and remembered how much I liked it.  It’s about family and persistence and bravery and it’s just so good.

secret-life-pets-review.jpg

The Secret Life of Pets | 7/8

I took my little twins I nanny to see this one, and I think someone went with us (their grandma, I think?), but I can’t remember.  (Stupid brain, lol.)  I thought this movie was cute!  A little confusing, but still adorable.  I wasn’t planning on watching it, but I couldn’t pass up free tickets to see an animated movie that may or may not be good.  I’d watch it again with my younger siblings, if only for Kevin Hart’s adorably hilarious bunny character.

star-trek-beyond-2016.jpg

Star Trek Beyond | 7/24

Goodness gracious.  This has to be one of my favorite movies of the entire year.  I’m not a huge Star Trek fan, but I’ve really enjoyed the reboots.  (Call me what you will, but the original show is so cheesy!)  Even though it was tainted in my mind because of Anton Yelchin’s tragic death the month before, it still made me laugh, sit on the edge of my seat, and even tear up a little.  From what I’ve seen of the show, Beyond was more in the vein of the classic episodes, and contained significantly less objectionable content than the other movies.  Because of that, it just worked.

57b49c50c89d9.image.jpg

Pete’s Dragon | 9/2

I took the twins and my younger sister to see this one, and I knew it would be good, but it absolutely exceeded my expectations.  I’ve always been a Karl Urban fan, but Slightly Evil Lumberjack Karl Urban?  Um, YES PLEASE.  (The first time he came onscreen, my sister and I reached across the two kids between us and waved fingers at one another with excited looks on our faces.)  That, combined with Seneca Crane and Opie’s daughter… yep.  Fangirling about actors aside, it was just beautiful in a cinematographic sense as well.  I loved how they altered the story slightly, and I didn’t miss the songs ’til the credits started rolling.  It’s like the classic, but it’s a little more green and focused on slightly different aspects of the story.  And I was crying in the first scene, if that says anything.  (They showed Pete’s parents dying.  Like, heck no.  Why, Disney.  Why.)  Definitely would’ve liked to see this one in the theater again, but at home will have to do.

DoctorStrange_clip_sanctumbattle.jpg

Doctor Strange | 11/8

YIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSS.  Honestly, this is one of the cleanest Marvel movies ever, and I have no idea why.  There’s not much language, no sensual stuff, and very little blood.  And when you add BennyC into the mix… wow.  I really enjoyed this one – so much, in fact, that I wrote a critical thinking journal entry on it (a school project, which I got a great grade on).  I haven’t done research to see if the director is a Christian, but there are definite allusions to the Bible and Christian themes.  The only thing I didn’t like was the lack of females in it.  The Ancient One is, I think, female (played by Tilda Swinton {aka the White Witch}), but the character might’ve been ambiguous, and the only other girl is Christine Palmer, played by Rachel McAdams.  McAdams did well in the role, but the role itself isn’t that great.  Christine saves his life once with medical assistance, but she’s barely in fifteen minutes of the movie.  I like my female characters to be kick-butt and awesome.  Besides that, I really liked this one.  Not my favorite Marvel, but not my least favorite either.

MAIN-Benedict-Cumberbatch-as-Hamlet-in-the-production-of-Hamlet-at-the-Barbican-centre.jpg

Hamlet {National Theatre Live} | 11/15

I saw this with two friends when I was in Florida for a week.  It was actually perfect timing because I already had to read Hamlet and then watch a production of it, and it was so much fun to go to a coffee shop, read the play, then go see the movie (and be able to say “Yeah, I read the play this morning; no biggie.  Now I’m going to see the version with Benedict Cumberbatch.  Again, no biggie.” when, in fact, it was a biggie).  This is, by far, the most expensive movie ticket I purchased this year ($20), but it was oh. so. worth. it.  The show itself was almost four hours long, and I can’t remember if that included the intermission or not.  I did a three-page review of this for school, and I could ramble almost that much just about Ben’s performance.  (It’ll be the basis on which I judge all other Hamlets.)  The sound production alone had me and my friend fangirling.  Every time he’d soliloquize, the sound would go “FubwubwubwUBWUBWUBWUBWUB” and everybody would slow down and the spotlight would be on Ben and it was just absolutely amazing.  And if anyone has a bootleg, I will send you both of my novels right now in return for it.

Eddie-Redmayne-in-Fantastic-Beasts-and-Where-to-Find-Them1.jpg

Fantastic Beasts | 11/17

To be completely honest, I didn’t initially like this one when I left it, but I’ve since realized that it’s still pretty good, regardless of the issues I had with the story.  (Spoiler-free, I feel like it was two different stories that met together in the last ten minutes of the movie.)  I still loved Newt, though.  He’s the best thing to happen to Harry Potter since Deathly Hallows Part 2.  So good.  I’ll probably go watch it again and see if my opinion’s changed.  My favorite part of the movie, however, was the fact that I went with a big group of friends, and half of us dressed up in 20’s costumes.  So. Much. Fun.

moana-80.0_022.00_0146_cmyk_wide-e03313fe7f30b312e354ed4c20932ea612783207-s900-c85.jpg

Moana | 11/27

OKAY SO I LOVED THIS ONE.  I knew I’d love it ever since I heard about it last year – and, um, hello, it’s LIN, so what’s not to love?!  The music was, obviously, phenomenal.  Loved the cast, loved the story, loved the animation (so beautiful).  I didn’t feel like I was watching a kids movie, which is exactly what I was hoping.  The story was so precious and so relatable – and I LOVED the fact that Moana’s story isn’t centered around a guy.  She’s a princess, but she’s not looking for a prince, and I think that puts her a cut above all of the other princesses.  I mean, I love all of the Disney princesses, but her story seems so much more pure because her story has to do with doing something meaningful to benefit her people, not sleeping while waiting for true love’s kiss or waiting for a prince to find her or falling in love with the guy who keeps her imprisoned in a castle.  (Yes, this is my feminist side coming out.  #dealwithit)

1480160288_ddbfb1e3587214f07eed245265f4cc91.jpg

Hacksaw Ridge | 12/10

This was the first R-rated movie I’ve seen in the theater.  I went with my dad for my birthday and he loved it almost as much as I did.  Truth be told, I knew very little about the story when I saw it (I saw the trailer when it first came out, but by the time I saw it, I’d forgotten what was in it), and that makes me even more glad that I watched it because it was amazing and so inspirational!  It’s based on a true story about a guy who saved dozens upon dozens of soldiers during WWII.  I loved the fact that they portrayed his faith and his stance against violence and war without demeaning him for it or making him look stupid.  And it stars Andrew Garfield, so obviously it was amazing.

rogue-one-a-star-wars-story-felicity-jones-as-jyn-erso-and-diego-luna-as-cassian-andorjpg.jpeg

Rogue One | 12/28

I went into this one with pretty low expectations – not because I didn’t think it would be good (I knew it would be), but because I’m still not much of a Star Wars fan.  But hooooooo boy.  SO GOOD.  I adored it, actually.  By the end, I was shipping characters so hard that the only thing keeping me from yelling “JUST KISS HER ALREADY!!!” was the fact that my fourteen-year-old cousin was sitting a few seats over and I didn’t want to set a bad example.  For real, though, it blew almost every other movie I’ve seen this year (in the theater at least) out of the water.  The story was so unique and the characters were all so wonderful.  GAH.  I loved it.

What do you think of my list?  Have you seen any of these?  Want to fangirl with me?!

fanfiction | christmas in brooklyn {part two}.

Christmas in Brooklyn

{Part Two}

{Brooklyn, 1942}

Christmas Eve dawned clear and bright.  Steve woke up before the sun and watched it rise out his bedroom window, wishing he could be somewhere else.  Anywhere else, as long as his mother and father could be there.

He got up when he felt strong enough – about an hour later – and whistled as he tidied the apartment.  It didn’t need cleaning, but he did it anyway.  The work was slow, due to the ache throughout his body from the beating he’d taken the day before, but he kept at it until the apartment was spotless.  Then, he made coffee and started cutting out strips of newspaper.  He hadn’t found the time ’til now… mainly because hadn’t felt like it.

His heart sank as he cut another link for the chain.  I wish Mother could be here…

He wondered where she was and what she was doing.  Was she with someone who could distract her from the war, or was she with a screaming patient who needed her help?  Did she even know that it was Christmas Eve?  Was she thinking of him?

Steve started pasting the ends of the links together, adding them to the chain one by one. It felt slightly therapeutic, but he didn’t feel totally at ease yet.  Somehow, he didn’t think he would ever be completely at ease again.

He knew he wasn’t alone with this clawing feeling deep inside his stomach.  He wondered how long the war would last this time… and if, after it was all said and done, another war would start up ten years later.  If that happened, he knew the world would be broken and no one would be able to fix it.

I need to help.  I need to do something to help end this war.  He frowned.  But is there anything I can do?

If Steve knew one thing, it was his limits.  Ever since he was a young boy, he had suffered from illness after illness, keeping him from having a normal life.  He still got sick more often than Bucky did, and it took him a long time to recover.

But he didn’t let that stop him from trying.

Steve set his jaw and stared at the strip of paper in his hand. I’m going to enlist.

After lengthening the paper chain a little more, he wrapped it around the tree and stepped back to survey his work.  A lopsided grin slowly grew on his face.  Looks pretty good, if I do say so myself.

He pulled on his jacket, rolled the sleeves up a little so they fell at his wrists and not the end of his fingertips, and locked the door behind him.

As Steve walked down the street, he thought about what he was going to do.  He was resolute in his act, knowing full well what it might bring on.  Injury, death – at this point he didn’t care.  His father had given his life for his country.  Who knows what his mother would have to give.  All Steve knew now was that he was willing to do anything.

What man wouldn’t want to give as much as he could to his country?

He finally reached the first enlistment office.  Looking up at the poster beside the door, the old man’s finger pointing in Steve’s face right above the words “I WANT YOU,” Steve squared his small shoulders, took a deep breath, and pulled on the door handle.  Nothing. Steve pulled again, but the door was locked.  He peered inside, but couldn’t see a thing. The lights were off.  Oh, he realized.  Because it’s Christmas Eve.

Steve took a step back onto the street, his shoulders now slumped.  He thought about trying another office, but knew he wouldn’t have any luck there, either.  He started shuffling down the street, kicking a rock every few feet.  He tried to tell himself that it was okay – that he could try again another day – but it felt like a bad omen, almost as if foreshadowing what would happen after future visits.

“Steve?”

Steve looked up, a grin appearing on his face a split second later.  “What’re you doing out this close to Christmas?” he called out as he walked towards Bucky.  “I would’ve thought your mom would have you stuffing a turkey or something.”

Bucky laughed, rubbing his hands together to warm them.  “She’s got me out doing last-minute errands.”  He pulled a package wrapped in brown paper out from the crook of his arm and held it up.  “The bread for the stuffing’s right here.”

Steve chuckled and closed the remaining space between them.  “A little late this year, isn’t she?”

Bucky started walking, and Steve struggled to match his powerful stride.  “We couldn’t find some ingredients for the stuffing, so she didn’t want to buy anything ’til she knew she could make it.  I hear there’s a war on.”

Steve instantly felt his smile disappear.  He tried to smile again as he looked down and kicked a rock across the sidewalk, but suddenly didn’t feel like joking.  His parents’ faces flashed before his eyes.  “Yeah, I think I read something like that in the papers.”

Bucky didn’t say anything for a minute.  Steve looked up and saw an odd mixture of sadness, regret, and anger on his face.  He half-winced, half-smiled.  “Sorry, Steve.”

Steve shrugged dismissively.  “It’s okay.”  He clenched his fists in his pockets, partially to warm them and partially to keep his emotions at bay.

After a few moments of awkward silence broken only by their footsteps crushing the snow beneath them, Bucky slowly said, “So what’re you doing out so close to Christmas?”

Steve smiled a little.  “Trying to get into this war we keep hearing about.”

Bucky’s jaw dropped as he stopped walking.  “You… you what?”

“I tried to enlist, but the office was closed.  It didn’t hit me ’til after I got out here and tugged on the door a little that it might be closed because of Christmas.  You’d think they’d-”

“You tried to enlist?” Bucky repeated, his tone undefinable.

“Yeah,” Steve slowly replied, turning around to face Bucky.  He furrowed his brow a little and tried to determine Bucky’s thoughts.  “What about it?”

Suddenly, Steve could easily read Bucky’s face.  It didn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that Bucky was mad.  Steve quickly tried to think of a time he had seen Bucky this mad.  He couldn’t.

“You tried to get into the Army?!” Bucky demanded, taking a step towards Steve.  “What were you thinking?!”

“I was thinking I’d try to do something for my country for once,” Steve countered, trying to keep his tone civil.

“Oh, you were?  Wow, what a load of good you’ll do!”  Bucky let out a deep, exasperated sigh.  “Why’d you think you’d ever get in?”

Steve frowned and clenched his fists again, now for a completely different reason.  “I thought I’d have a chance.  Thought I’d try my luck.”

“Steve, this is war!  You, of all people, should know the full cost of war.”

Steve threw his hands in the air.  “Me, of all people?!  What’s that supposed to mean?!”

“You saw the look on your mother’s face when she got the news about your dad.  Why don’t you take a wild guess at how she’ll feel if she gets the same news about you?!”

Steve’s gaze dropped to the pavement.  He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to block out the memory of his mother’s sobs as she read the telegram.  He let out a deep breath, opened his eyes, and looked up at Bucky.

“Bucky…” he slowly started.  He paused, gathering his thoughts.  “I know you don’t understand.  You’re probably wondering why a skinny kid from Brooklyn wants to try to get himself killed somewhere in Europe.  But… ever since my dad’s left, I feel like I need to be over there.  I need to do something.”

“There’s nothing wrong with doing stuff here, Steve,” Bucky firmly protested.  “There are factories and-”

“And scrap drives.  I know, Bucky.  But I can’t stay here and take an easy day job while other guys are over there, giving their lives for my freedom.”

Bucky clenched his jaw and looked down, not saying a word.

Steve watched him, trying to determine what he would think.  He had tried to phrase his thoughts in a coherent way, but he still didn’t know if Bucky would get it.  He glanced at the ground, then looked up at Bucky.  “Can’t you try to understand?”

Bucky didn’t say anything for a moment.  Then, the half-wince, half-smile appeared again.  “Whatever you say, kid.  I won’t try to stop you.  Just don’t come crawling to me when you get your arm blasted off in a fight.”

Steve tried to smile back at Bucky.  “I won’t.”

Bucky put his arm across Steve’s shoulders and pulled him forward.  “Now that we’ve exhausted that topic, want to come over?  You can spend the night.  I’m sure Maggie will be more than happy to let you sleep in her room.”

Steve grinned. “Sounds great.”


Bucky put the cushions back on the couch as his younger siblings started appearing by the small pile of presents, giggling and letting out short shrieks of joy.  Peter and Timmy rough-housed on the floor while Maggie sat in Steve’s lap, taking in the pictures in the book Steve held in front of her as he read the the story.  The other three weren’t up quite yet, but Bucky knew they would be down soon.  He poured himself some coffee and added a little sugar, then a little more – after all, Christmas demanded it – and sat down on the couch, watching Steve.

He still had trouble thinking about Steve trying to get into the army.  Steve was skinny, but it was almost like he had a stronger, braver man somewhere deep down inside him.  He never backed down from a fight – in fact, he almost always started them – but he was never the one to end them.

Bucky couldn’t help but think that Steve didn’t know what he was getting into.  The trenches were more than a back alley fight – they were the symbol of all-out, no-holds-barred, fight-to-the-death war.

Bucky wrapped his hands around the warm mug, trying to warm them.  He stared at Steve. If anything ever happens to him, I’ll kill him.  And then I might kill myself.

“Mommy and Daddy are up!” Susie shrieked, thumping down the stairs.  “IT’S FINALLY CHRISTMAS!”

Several hours later, after all of the brown paper had been tossed into the fire and most of the gifts had been put away, Bucky slipped out the back door with Steve in tow.  “I’ll be back later, Ma!” he called, slamming the door before she could protest.  He tossed the end of his new scarf over his shoulder, smiling at Maggie’s uneven stitches.

“You don’t have to do this,” Steve told him, shoving his hands into his pockets as they walked. “I know the way home.”

“I know.  But I didn’t want the kids around when I gave you your gift.”  He pulled a small package out of his jacket pocket and tossed it to Steve.

Steve smiled lopsidedly, pulling an envelope out of his back pocket.  He handed it to Bucky.  “Here.  You first.”

Bucky grinned and ripped open the envelope.  He frowned slightly and took the tickets out.  Suddenly, his face lit up as he realized what they were.  “Wow, Steve.  Thanks!”  He shot Steve a wry look.  “Are there two tickets in here because you want me to take you, too?”

“No,” Steve replied, smiling a little.  “There are two for you to take a date.  Lizzie, maybe?” he added with a suggestive look.

Bucky smiled and put the tickets away.  “Maybe.  Your turn.”

Steve started untying the string, slowly opening the package so as to save as much of the paper as possible.  Bucky blew on his hands as they walked, deciding to make a fire the second they got to Steve’s apartment.  As soon as Steve pulled the paper away and saw what was inside, he gasped.

“Actual paper,” Bucky told him, tapping the notebook.  “Now your sketches won’t be ruined by headlines and boring articles.”

Steve stared at the notebook and set of three pencils.  “I can’t believe it.  I haven’t had an actual piece of drawing paper since… since…”

“Since we were in grade school; I know.  You were always the best in the class, and it’s not fair that you never get to draw anymore.”

Steve leafed through all of the empty pages as they started up the stairs.  He didn’t want to think about how much it had cost Bucky – and how paltry his gift seemed in comparison. After a minute, he softly said, “Thanks, Buck.”

“You’re welcome,” Bucky replied, a little dismissively, but inwardly happy because he knew how much it meant to Steve.  He reached the landing first and kicked the brick by the railing, revealing the key to Steve’s house.  “Let’s get in there and make a fire – I’m freezing!”

“You don’t have to do that,” Steve absentmindedly said, still staring at the gift.  “Don’t your parents want you home?”

“As soon as I get home, they’ll have me watching the kids or making dinner or something,” Bucky told him, fishing a match out of the matchbook.  “Let me have a few more minutes of solitude.”

“But I’m here,” Steve told him, laughing a little.

“You don’t count,” Bucky shot back, giving him a look.

Within minutes, the fire was crackling in the blackened fireplace.  Bucky plopped down next to Steve on the couch and dropped his feet on the coffee table, then leaned back and put his hands behind his head.  He closed his eyes and sighed contentedly.  “Man, you’re so lucky you don’t have siblings.”

“I don’t know…” Steve muttered, leaning forward.  He rested his elbows on his knees and started to sharpen his new pencil.  He blew the shavings off his pocketknife before continuing.  “Sometimes I’d like to have a sibling.  A younger sister, maybe…”  He flashed a grin over his shoulder at Bucky.  “After all, I’ve pretty much already got an older brother.”

Bucky smiled.  “Til the end of the line, pal.”

fanfiction | christmas in brooklyn.

Christmas in Brooklyn

{Part One}

{Brooklyn, 1942}

“I said, get off him!”

Steve felt the weight on top of him suddenly release, as if jerked away by a stronger being. He blinked away the darkness, trying to get his vision back, only seeing moving shadows.

“And stay away from him!” he heard his rescuer yell to the bully’s swiftly retreating figure.

Steve blinked again, feeling a mixture of anger and relief.  He knew that voice.

“Again?” Bucky asked, disappointment tinting his voice.  Towering above Steve, he held out a hand.

Steve grabbed it, pulling himself off the ground, then dusted off his jacket.  He spotted a rip in the right knee of his pants.  Another tear to mend.

“Why, Steve?”

Steve shrugged, fingering the hole in his slacks.

Steve.”

He let out an exasperated sigh and looked up.

“Steve, you can’t just pick fights like that!” Bucky said, exasperated.

“He was messing around with a girl who wasn’t interested, Buck,” Steve firmly told him.  “I had to stop him.”

“I don’t care!  Did you even look at him?”

“I did,” Steve shot back, rage filling his voice.  “And I saw him pressing up against her like she was-”

“Steve, he was twice as big as you!” Bucky protested, taking another quick step forward, suddenly inches away from Steve’s face.

Steve straightened up, defiantly staring into Bucky’s eyes.  “I’m not going to just stand around and watch something like that happen. I thought you would understand that.”  He kept hold of Bucky’s gaze, daring Bucky to contradict him.

Bucky’s eyes showed the same defiance for a moment more. Then, they softened and he chuckled, shaking his head and glancing at the ground for a moment.  “I get it.”  He clasped Steve’s shoulder firmly and offered a wry grin.  “Just make sure I’m around to help out next time, okay?”

Steve shook his head, smiling.  “Okay.”

“Come on,” Bucky said, laughter in his voice.  Draping his arm across Steve’s shoulders, he guided him down the sidewalk.  “Your mom left yet?”

In his mind’s eye, Steve saw his mother give him a final hug and kiss on the cheek before boarding the train that would take her to the warfront.  He watched her wave as the train pulled away, until his mother’s white nurse cap faded into the fog.  He swallowed, pushing the nervous feeling away, and nodded.  “Yeah.  Early this morning.”

“She’ll be back sooner than you know it.”  He pulled his arm away from Steve’s shoulder to tip his newsie cap to a passing girl.  Then, he snapped his fingers as if a thought had occurred to him.  “And Mother wanted me to tell you that you’re welcome to our house for Christmas dinner.”

Steve allowed himself a slight smile, stopping as soon as he felt a flash of pain in his cheek.  He put his fingers to his chin for a split second, seeing blood as he pulled them away.  He took a handkerchief out of his pocket and pressed it to his chin.  He didn’t feel like even thinking about Christmas yet.  What kind of mother leaves her kid all alone in Brooklyn the week before Christmas?  All he wanted to do on Christmas Day was sit in his mother’s apartment.  Nothing more.  “Bucky… I don’t know.”

“Come on,” Bucky said, punching Steve’s shoulder.  “It’ll be fun!  Besides, what else are you gonna do on Christmas Day?  Sit around, watching the snow fall on the factory roof outside your window?  Where’s the celebration in that?  Besides, she made me swear to make you join us.”

“Yeah, well…”  He should’ve known that Mrs. Barnes would insist on him coming.  Maybe I should go…  It might have a good time.  He shrugged.  “Okay. I’ll be there.”

“Good.  Say, what does your Christmas tree look like?”

Steve looked up at Bucky, his brow furrowed.  “Buck, I’m twenty years old.  I think I’m a little old for that kind of thing.”

“Nobody’s too old to get a Christmas tree.”

Steve rolled his eyes and shoved his hands in his pockets.  “I am.”

“Punk.”

“Jerk.”

“Come on,” Bucky told him, motioning with his head across the street.

“Where’re we going?”

“We’re going to get you a Christmas tree.”


Bucky kicked the door open with his foot, then backed into Steve’s apartment, yanking the tree behind him.

“Buck, let me help!” Steve pleaded for the millionth time.

“No,” Bucky firmly replied, for the millionth time.  Bucky rolled his eyes.   I doubt he could lift a branch, poor kid.  He glanced over at Steve as he pulled the tree to the corner of the living room, watching him shut the door and flick on the light.  I’ve gotta come here more.  He can’t be alone all the time.  I’ve gotta be here for him.

“If you won’t let me help, I’m going to make some coffee. Want some?” Steve asked.

“Sugar?” Bucky grunted, pushing the tree into a bucket.

“Nope.”

“No thanks, then.”  He held the tree steady, then slowly let go.  He grinned, thinking of how freaked out Steve would be if it suddenly fell over in the middle of the night.

Steve sat down on the corner of the coffee table, one of the few pieces of furniture in the sparse room.  “It looks so empty without anything on it…”

Bucky took a few steps back, surveying.  “Got any newspapers?  We could make some paper chains.”  He fell backwards on the couch, sighing with fatigue.  “It’d look nice.”

“I’ll do it tonight.”

Bucky stared at the tree in silence.  He didn’t want to tell Steve that he’d spent most of his weekly pay on the tree – the money he was going to spend on his own Christmas tree.

“Dad, can’t we get one?” he had asked his father only two days before.

“Absolutely not.  It’s a frivolous waste of money.  The nation’s at war and you want to buy a tree and put it in our house?  Insane.”

“But Dad; the kids-”

“No, James.  Spend your own money on it, if you really want it.  Not a penny of my hard-earned pay will go to something that’ll be dead in a month.”

“Fine.”

Bucky glanced at Steve, smiling a little as he saw Steve taking in the tree, his eyes brighter than they’d been all day.  He averted his gaze back to the tree.  It’s worth it.  Dad’s right; we don’t need a Christmas tree.  Steve does.

“Well, I’d better get going,” Steve said, standing.  “Baker said he’d fire me if I’m late one more time.”

Bucky clasped his hands behind his head as he kicked off his shoes.  “Mind if I stay for a while? I need to get some rest before heading to the museum tonight.”

“You’re still at the art museum?” Steve asked, eyeing himself in a cracked mirror as he straightened his jacket.

“Yep.”  Bucky closed his eyes.  “All-night shifts take quite a toll.”

“Well, with the way Baker’s treating me, I might have to join you.”

The corner of Bucky’s mouth pulled up.  “Don’t.  You’d hate it.  Stick with writing movie reviews.”

“I don’t think that’s a good fit for me, either.  Everybody’s this close to getting Baker to fire me. Leslie critiques my grammar nonstop, and Paul gives me the classified section every Tuesday.”

Bucky chuckled and opened his eyes.  “Stick with it.  Who knows?  You may be the next Pulitzer.”

“Or not.”  Steve stared at himself in the mirror, his eyes saying what his mouth didn’t.  Bucky could clearly see that he wasn’t happy.  Steve huffed a little, then turned.  “Well, I’m leaving. Stay as long as you want, just lock up afterwards.  Two thugs tried to shove the door down the other day, but I had the chain on, so that kept ’em away.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t your commanding voice that did it?”

Steve smiled a little.  “Yeah.  I was hiding in that corner-” he pointed to the corner that now housed the tree- “with a baseball bat in my hands, scared to death.”

Bucky laughed and pulled his cap over his eyes.  “Have fun.”

“Something like that.”

Bucky listened as the door shut and locked from the outside.  Steve’s footsteps faded away, one slightly heavier than the other.  Must have gotten kicked in the leg during that fight.  He sighed. Steve, when will you stop picking fights with guys who are three times your size?

He dozed for an hour or two, grateful for the quiet.  Heaven only knew how loud it was at his house, what with all the fighting his parents did and the little kids wreaking havoc…

Before he left for the museum, he found a pile of newspapers in the corner, picked out a few that were all at least a few days old, and set them on the table beside a pair of scissors.


A few people around Steve were talking – mostly teenagers and younger kids.  Steve, however, wasn’t paying attention to anything else except the screen in front of him.  The newsreel kept his gaze riveted to the screen.

Images flashed.  War… destruction… chaos.  He couldn’t believe it was actually happening. Hadn’t the world just been through this?  Why did it have to happen all over again?

A year ago, he had thought that the war should stay in the other countries and didn’t want America to get involved.  Then came the attack on Pearl Harbor – a day that shook the nation. His father was drafted and died soon after.  Now the war had taken his mother, too – forever or for a few months, he didn’t know.

He hadn’t told anybody – not even Bucky – but ever since his mother had left, he’d been thinking about enlisting.  Every time he sat in the movie theater and the newsreel started, he thought about it again.  Sometimes, the thought of joining the army distracted him while the film was playing and he couldn’t write a good review afterward.  He still wasn’t sure about it, though. He tried to push it out of his mind, but couldn’t help thinking about it every time he thought of his mother, of his father, or of the war.  Maybe it could happen…

The film started, and he forced his mind to focus on the screen and not on the war.  He couldn’t afford to lose this job.  Not with his mother gone, too.

After the movie, he walked home – the long way.  He was usually able to think better that way. He outlined the review in his head as he walked down Brooklyn streets.  The movie was called Holiday Inn, and he had enjoyed it more than he thought he would – especially Fred Astaire’s patriotic Fourth of July number, complete with firecrackers and footage from the war.  He didn’t care for Bing Crosby’s voice, but he didn’t mind it, either.

As he played with the opening sentence of the review – something about a song in the movie called ‘White Christmas’ that was sure to be a hit – he walked past a shop window, then did a double-take and stopped.  Inside the window he saw a small paper advertisement for a traveling circus.  Steve rubbed his hands together and blew on them, leaning forward to see the ad better.  Bucky has always wanted to go to the circus…  I wonder how much the tickets are.  He blew on his hands again before entered the store.

Eight minutes later, he left the store, two dollars gone from his wallet, replaced by two tickets to the circus.  Bucky can find someone to take with him, Steve thought as he listened to the snow crunch under his feet as he made his way home.  It’ll be a nice date.  He chuckled, thinking of all the times Bucky had tried to drag him along on a double-date.  It never worked.  At least he always has a good time by himself – or so he always tells me, Steve thought, hoping Bucky would like his gift.  He didn’t have much money to spare, but he knew his best friend was worth it.


Two days before Christmas, Bucky left the museum as soon as the curator came to open up.  He waved goodbye to the man, wishing him a merry Christmas, and dashed home.  He tried to get a few minutes of shut-eye, but the kids kept him awake with their happy giggles about Christmas being so soon.  He gave up after an hour or so and started wrapping his Christmas gift to Steve.  He smiled as he tied the string, more than a little pleased with himself and his choice.  I just hope he likes it…

“James!” his mother yelled at him from downstairs.

“Yes?” he replied.

“Get these children out of here – they’re driving me crazy!”

Bucky straightened the bow, hid the present under his pillow, and grabbed his jacket as he ran out of his room.  “Come on, kids,” he called, thumping down the stairs.  “Anybody wanna go see a movie?”

Within seconds, all six of his younger siblings had swarmed around him, like flies to honey. His mother handed him few quarters and shooed them away, a little harsh in her eagerness to have the house to herself.  Bucky didn’t like the fact that she seemed so stressed, but dismissed the unsettling feeling as he stepped out into the cold.  He inhaled deeply, hoping that the harsh winds would wake him up enough to watch his siblings carefully.

“Come on, guys.  Ready to go?”

His siblings all cheered, jumped up and down, and giggled as they started on their outing. Bucky walked behind the group, keeping one eye on the kids and the other on two ladies walking the same way on the sidewalk across the street.  After a few minutes, he noticed them glancing at him, then whispering to each other and giggling.  He smiled and winked at them, then ran with his siblings for the final block to the theater.

As the newsreel played, he thought about the American men overseas.  Part of him wanted to join them, but the part that wanted to stay in America kept overpowering his desire to serve his country.  Most of all, he didn’t want to die.  And there was no guarantee that he could go to war and come back alive.

But isn’t that the point? he asked himself as he watched footage of a young man getting carried off the battlefield, his face contorted in pain.  To be willing to give your life for your country, not knowing if you’ll get it back?

He glanced at his siblings sitting in the seats beside him, then stretched his arms and dropped them on the backs of his siblings’ chairs.  Peter stuck his tongue out at Bucky before leaning over to whisper to Timmy about something, and Maggie cuddled into Bucky’s side, wrapping her arms around his waist.  He stared at the screen in front of him, but couldn’t focus.

How can I leave this?  Is my country really worth leaving all of this?  He mussed Peter’s hair and kissed Maggie’s head, then settled back in his seat.

Unless I get drafted, I’m not going.