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Friday, May 26, 2017

Semester 4: Why I've Been Gone

Hi friends.

I feel like I can't really move forward with blogging before I explain why I've been gone for the past almost 5 months.  So, herein I shall explain what happened two weeks after my last post.

January 19th was the Thursday of my first week back at college after Christmas break, and that evening I was at the first meeting of the semester for the fashion show at my school.  It was going fine, but I didn't feel too great, as I was getting over a cold.

After the meeting, I felt a sense of urgency to get home, a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach which I dismissed as nothing more than my own exhaustion and maybe a hint of a fever.  So, in a daze, I rushed back to my car, drove home, and promptly put myself to sleep when I got there.

That evening, my family found out my dad had passed away.

All I could think was, "Dear God, don't let it be real" -- but it was real.  It was all too real.  He had been down in Georgia, where he worked 3 days a week, and had caught a really bad cold.  None of us thought too much of it, including him.  But that evening, when the policemen came to our door, we were hit all too severely with how serious his condition had been.

To say I've never cried so hard is a gross understatement.

As that night wore on, my family and I did our best to just breathe.  Before I went to bed, I tried to read the bible -- but I couldn't.  I hurt too much, had too many thoughts and questions racing through my head.  So, instead, I continued to pray and cry.  As I lay in bed, a peace, God's peace, beyond any understanding gently swept over me, and by His grace, I slept for the first time without a father on earth.

That next week was the darkest of my life.  It was a fight just to be able to laugh again.  I didn't go to school.  I journaled.  I grieved.  Family and friends came in.  Funeral preparations were made.  Cards and flowers and food entered our house in a never ending and very welcome stream.  The funeral was the next Thursday.  People said their goodbyes...

And then it was time to go back to "normal," somehow.

Monday hurt so much, as I went back to school.  I was so scared.  I felt fragile, and anything so much as a loud word might have shattered my eggshell-thin exterior.  I felt invisible, and no one could see the unwelcome tears that seemed to constantly lurk right behind my eyes.

I went through the motions of school the best I could -- I took notes in class, I talked to friends.  I told them I was "okay," but that wasn't true.  I hurt. so. bad.  I wanted to quit school.  All I wanted to do was cry my eyes out and die to go be with my dad.  But instead, I went through classes, drove home, and cried once again.

I went through it all again the next day, and got through it as best I could.  But that evening, something changed.  First, I recalled one of the best pieces of encouragement someone had given me:

"Deal gently with yourself."

So, I stopped.  I prayed.  And then I did the next easiest thing I could think of: I took a shower.  There, I continued to pray.  And to cry.  And continued to pray some more.  And in the midst of the warm water, a phrase began to grow stronger and stronger in my mind:

"You're going to be okay.  Not right now, but soon."

An unexplainable joy began to burn in my heart -- deeper and stronger and more assuredly than I have ever known, EVER.  The pain and the hurt and the weight finally lifted from my shoulders, and I knew God was working in me, like never before.  That phrase was the most wonderful thing I had ever heard -- and I clung to it.  It was God's faithful promise of hope -- and, by His name, I knew it to be true!!!

So, I shouted out loud.

                 I went back to school.

                                    I began to heal.

                                                      I spread His joy.

                                                                          I watched movies.

                                                                                           I laughed with friends.
 
                                                                                                               I completed the fashion show.

                                                                                                                                     I finished the semester strong.

And through it ALL,
GOD
WAS
AND
IS
FAITHFUL.

So, friends, there it is.  That's why I've been gone.  That's what took place in the past 4 months.  That's where I am now.  And there's still a long, long way to go.

But, now, I think I'm ready to push forward with blogging.  I've missed it dearly, you know.

I will be seeing you very soon to tell you all about the things I've been working on this semester, and what I will be working on this summer.

Here's to God's faithfulness!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Doctor Strange Cosplay - The Final Touches

Hello for the first time in glorious 2017, friends!

I hope you all had wonderful Christmas and New Year's celebrations. I know I did. But now, with just a week left before another semester begins, I'm ready to finish up the chronicles of my Doctor Strange cosplay and start the last half of my sophomore year of college off strong. :)

So, without further ado, let's jump right into a quick post, all about the final touches for my Doctor Strange costume!

First off, and most importantly, we have the necklace, Eye of Agamotto, aka the Time Stone for the MCU's purposes. :)


So, this was from eBay for $10 (yay china), and I kind of love it. It is a tad smaller than the actual prop, but, because I'm smaller/shorter than Mr. Cumberbatch, the smaller size looks much better with my costume, and much less costume-y than a properly sized replica would have looked (big and bulky). Needless to say, I was quite please with this purchase. ;)

The color wasn't exactly what I wanted (a bit too bronze-y rather than gold), so I went ahead and added a touch of gold paint to bring out the color a bit more -- and it really helped. Makes it look much older and much more accurate to the real color!


The other thing I had to add to finish off the Doctor Strange look, were the metal accents near the cape's collar.

This was quite a last minute thing, and the pieces are so far from screen-accurate it's hilarious, however. I think they do look better than nothing. ;)

Also: why yes, these are the cape clasps modeled after Anna (from Frozen)'s cape. ;D


Again, I added a bit of paint to bring out the gold color and age them up a bit.


Finally, the only thing left to add to the costume were pants, so I just utilized a pair of black jeans already in my wardrobe, and they worked splendidly (did I mention this costume cost my a grand total of a few dollars over $100? *cries* *but worth it*).

Welp guys, I believe that wraps up Doctor Strange!

OH except for pictures, of course! I actually visited some friends over New Year's and we did a mini photoshoot with the costume (nothing too fancy), so keep an eye out for those pictures to surface sometime in the near future... :D

Until then!!