books,

Persephone: A Retelling

1/30/2016 Laura Watkins 0 Comments

Persephone: A Retelling

I don't think I'll ever forget the day my elementary school teacher introduced our class to Greek Mythology. My friends and I spent hours arguing over which goddess we got to be and jumping on the giant trampoline.

The myths captivated me, and I quickly read everything that the library had on them. Never getting enough, I started filling in the blanks that the vague stories had left. 

I'm excited to share with you my own retelling of Persephone (whose name I mispronounced for years!) This myth has many versions but always left so much to the imagination (and believe me, my imagination went wild). I'll be sharing parts of the book as I write them, so please be patient with any errors you may find, as this is a first draft!

Persephone Part 1
"A Nymph in the Forest" by Charles Amable Lenoir


Persephone  

For Persephone, life was one blissful day blended into another. Her days were spent lazily wandering forests and meadows, livening and brightening each flower she touched. Like her mother, Demeter, she was a nature goddess, who reveled in all things glorious and beautiful that grew upon the earth.
She heard vague tales of her relations' warring but had seldom witnessed it, as was her mother's wish. If it had been up to Demeter, Persephone would indeed had known very little of them. However, since her days were spend amongst the gossiping nymphs, dryads, and naiads, she had learned a great deal about her heritage.
She knew of the pairing of earth and sky that brought the Titans forth, of the war between the Olympian gods and Titans, of the scandalous pursuits of her own father, Zeus, the continuous sparring between gods and goddesses, and the pathetically piteous existence of the race known as man.
New tales of intrigue fell daily upon her ears. The latest was, yet again, about one of her father's lovers. She listened as she sat painting a group of unacceptably drab wildflowers.
"Zeus heard his wife coming and turned Io into a cow! Of all things, a cow! Can you imagine?" The nymph giggled with her sisters as they languished in the cool stream's clear water. "Not to be fooled, Hera convinced him to give her the cow as a gift!"
"No!" Another exclaimed. "I can only imagine what mischief Hera had in store for her. I am so glad not to be in her place."
"That's not the least of it either," the first continued. "Hera set a gadfly to chase her. With no respite, she was nearly taken mad, tormented clean out of her mind. And that silly cow ran all the way to Egypt!"
Persephone closed her eyes and shook her head. Would Zeus never learn?
Satisfied with one flower, she moved to the next pale green one. Cupping it in her hands, she blew gently upon it until color blossomed from its core to petals' edge.
These ones will be white, like the Io the cow. She smiled to herself. Despite the foolishness, Persephone found herself taken with these romances.

Read Persephone Part 2

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    perler beads,

    Timelapse Video: The Little Mermaid (Pink Dress) in Perler Beads

    1/30/2016 Laura Watkins 0 Comments

    Little Mermaid inspired Ariel in pink dress perler beadsprite

    Creating perler bead sprites of your favorite characters is so fun! Here's me designing a perler bead sprite of Ariel (The Little Mermaid) in her pink dress from my Disney inspired Princess Collection.

    I'll be making a series of these videos, so check back soon or sign up for my email list here. 
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      my battle for better health

      My Battle for Better Health: You Deserve a Tiara!

      1/22/2016 Laura Watkins 1 Comments

       
      I've been spiraling downward for the past few months. The latest fibromyalgia / antidepressant gave me chest pain and heart palpitations, and going off of it left me with even worse off than when I started it.
      A bad cold/flu bug in November turned into a horrible sinus infection and messed with my sleep schedule. Since then, I've had very few nights of solid sleep. I'm usually wide awake until 3-5 am no matter what I do (sleep hygiene, relaxation, exercise....)
      My weight has been going up and down (mostly up), as has my appetite. There are days when I could never eat enough (especially chocolate), days where even the thought of food makes me nauseated, and normal days in between. I lost 8 lbs in a few weeks, then gained 12.
      I've been trying to get by, just sticking to the basics: didn't decorate much for Christmas (other than setting up the tree), keep focusing on getting just each day's emergencies/basic house keeping/laundry done, taking it easy with work, and having lots of snuggles with the kids.
      Despite it all, I've been getting worse. I'm always tired but have a terrible time getting to sleep, low energy, temperature intolerance (I've been wearing sandals, short sleeves, skirts/capris all winter while my family bundles up--even in the house), terrible memory and concentration, restlessness, depression, anxiety, daily episodes where I get lightheadedness, muscle weakness, nausea, and exhaustion.... So yeah, not much fun.
      All this has been accompanied by my usual guilt that the house is a mess, my family needs more from me, and I'm hardly getting any work done.
      Erik finally dragged me in for another thyroid check yesterday. I don't avoid them because of the needles (I'm used to tests), but because they usually don't make a difference.
      Even after they had to take my thyroid out (Hashimoto's), doctors have treated me like a hypochondriac. They'll act dedicated and interested in helping my health improve at first, then, when tests come back "within acceptable range" or their first/second line of treatment doesn't work, it's all in my head.
      So, I've avoided going in to be seen for a while and tried to just live with it.... Didn't work either.
      Thyroid results came back low today. At least there's some explanation behind all this. Hope adjusting the meds helps this time.
      Obviously feeling a bit down here, but relieved that there's proof for once that I'm not crazy.
      When I laid down a few minutes ago, my daughter brought me her tiara. She put it on my head and
      said, "You deserve this. You're the best mom in the universe!"
      My health is still yucky, but I'm thankful for my sweet daughter and the reminder that I'm special. :)


      My goals

      I want to have energy to spend time and actually do activities with my family.
      I want to be able to be physically active. I’m not saying I plan on running marathons, but being able to exercise and do basic housecleaning on a daily basis would be nice.
      I want my mind to feel less foggy all the time so I can do my job well and enjoy being in the profession I love.
      I want to be healthy and be at a healthy weight.
      I want my life back! I will look for the best in my life and realize what I truly have, always striving to make it better.
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        Provo

        New Video and Pictures of Provo's Castle!

        1/12/2016 Laura Watkins 0 Comments

        Last week, I told you about how it burned down five years ago, but today, this majestic castle that has been restored to my city. (If you missed it, you can read about the Provo Tabernacle - Provo City Center Temple Restoration and Construction here.) 

        This video shows so much that I wanted to share with you—the devastation of that fire, the joy we felt when its reconstruction was announced (you can hear the crowd in the Conference Center actually gasping, which we did as well, at home, right as the tears started), and the wonder at the feats the architects performed. It also gives us a better look inside the building itself, which is even more beautiful that I'd imagined!

        A three-story staircase inside the Provo City Center Temple was crafted out of wood, keeping with the Victorian interior design of the tabernacle. (Image source)
        The chandelier and ceiling inside the celestial room of the Provo City Center Temple. (Image source)

        Art glass windows and hardware have been customized for the Provo City Center Temple. (Image source)

        Floral patterns can be found in the Provo City Center Temple, including art glass featuring the lotus flower common in religious buildings throughout the world. (Image source)

        The entrance to the Provo City Center Temple in Provo, Utah. (Image source)

        The main entrance to the Provo City Center Temple includes a reclaimed stained glass image of Jesus Christ that dates back to the early 1900s that came from a Presbyterian church in New York that was demolished. (Image source)
        This reminds me so much of the Provo Library, my other favorite building in Provo. It used to be the Brigham Young Academy. (Read more about my library here.)

        Oval-shaped baptistry of the Provo City Center Temple. (Image source)

        We get to go tour the inside this weekend! I am so excited!!!! If you're in the Provo area and want to come to the open house, check to see if the free tickets are available here. (**Update: This event has ended.)

        You can learn more about the LDS church here. And, as always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask me!

        #ProvoRocks 

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          Provo

          My City's New Castle

          1/07/2016 Laura Watkins 0 Comments

          The Provo Tabernacle - Provo City Center Temple Restoration and Construction #ProvoRocks 
          Image source and news story
          Five years ago, my favorite building in Provo, UT (the city we live) burned down, and I cried like a baby.

          (Video slideshow of the history and reconstruction) 

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          And I cried even more every time I drove by it's hollowed out shell. 


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          This building was in the center of the city. We used to drive by it frequently, we got to have occasional church meetings in it, we watched parades from its front steps, and played on its grounds. 

           Our daughter, July 4, 2010 - Independence Day Festivities on Provo Tabernacle Grounds
          Erik and our two oldest sawing wood for wood burning activity,
          July 4, 2010 - Independence Day Festivities on Provo Tabernacle Grounds
          Our youngest, July 4, 2010 - Independence Day Festivities on Provo Tabernacle Grounds
          Old two oldest children, July 4, 2010 - Independence Day Festivities on Provo Tabernacle Grounds

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          It was one of the first things I loved about Provo. 



          Then came the announcement. Our church was going to restore it and convert it into a new temple! So many of us cried with joy when we heard the announcement.

          The first temple I ever got to go inside of, Portland, OR. It was built when I was 7 and living in Oregon.
          If you've never seen or heard of LDS temples, here's more about them and a few pictures:
          Erik and I were married in this temple, so it's an obvious favorite! Oakland, CA




          St. George, UT
          Logan, UT
          Bet you can see why I was so excited, huh? :)


          The original structure of the Provo Tabernacle had a cupola (spire thingy in the center) that had be removed because it wasn't structurally sound. The new design put it back in!

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          I still don't quite understand how they did it, but they gutted the building and raised it up on stilts to build the foundation and lower level.  (Video about this engineering feat here here.)

          The exterior walls of the Provo Tabernacle are secured for the construction of the Provo City Center Temple. Image source

          Locations are prepared for installation of the stained-glass windows in the Provo City Center Temple.  Image source
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          Over the next few years, we got to witness the construction of our new temple.

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          They also had to remove, restore, and replace the spires.

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          The skylight in the celestial room.  Image source

          The steeple on the Provo City Center Temple. Image source
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          Construction on the middle floor in the Provo City Center Temple.  Image source
          The under-construction baptismal font at the Provo City Center Temple in January 2014Image source
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           Construction has finished now, and we just got tickets to the open house! That's another really neat thing about LDS temples. Even though only temple recommend-holding members are allowed inside after the building is dedicated, there is an open house for the public to come look inside before hand.

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          The inside of the temple even includes some pieces that were salvaged from the original building, like the pulpit.





          This piece was salvaged, and now replicas are in the new building as well:


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          As workers peeled away paint and plaster from the burned walls, they uncovered a layer of painted plaster. The stenciled designs were pieced together using historic photographs as a guide. The design now appears again as a motif in the bride’s dressing room of the temple (see image below) - Source

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          We are so excited to go explore our new castle! If you're in the Provo area and want to come to the open house, check to see if the free tickets are available here. (More are added periodically, so don't give up!) 

          You can learn more about the LDS church here. And, as always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask me!
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