Favorite Reads of 2018

Happy New Year!!!

I posted my favorite reads of 2018 on Instagram and you should check out my posts! @zenaparks is where to find me–but more importantly, to join the bookish chatter.

I’m recovering nicely from my surgery–thank you for all the kind messages and phone calls. I feel your love <3

Under the knife

Earlier this year I was playing at being SuperMom when I unsuccessfully demonstrated how to cross the monkey bars to my then 5yo. I wound up tearing the ACL and meniscus in my right knee and the Achilles tendon in my left ankle.

I’m that talented.

I knew the knee required surgery, but with an overseas move on the horizon my doctors in Ohio recommended waiting. So I walked with a brace all over Ohio and Canada and Disneyworld and even went hiking in Japan before the surgery took place.

I don’t know why my pictures upload in weird angles. Someone with more know-how than me help me out, please! Also, do you like the chair socks on my piano bench? I swear everything’s better in Japan.

I’m recovering well (though I can’t put my own socks on yet) and hope to be back on my feet and playing at the park with my children soon!

Where in the world…?

As you know, we’re a military family. We move. A lot. And guess what?

It’s that time again!!!

Guess where I am these days! I’ll give you a hint:

This tree–which for some reason won’t upload vertically no matter what I try to do with the file. Weird.–is a sweet osmanthus. Commonly known as a Kinmokusei tree. It has the most fragrant blossoms IN THE WORLD. I want to smell like this tree.

Have you guessed yet? No? Here’s another hint:

Takoyaki — fried dough balls stuffed with octopus and topped with okonomiyaki sauce and fish flakes.

Have you guessed yet?

Did you guess Japan?

You did!?!

You’re so smart. Give yourself a pat on the back. That’s right! I live in Japan now! And I loooooooooooooooooove it so far.


Call it impostor syndrome or whatever you want, but even though I’ve been published (twice!) I haven’t really considered myself an “author.”  But at a recent writing conference I discovered that my name is listed on Amazon! As in, you can find my writing right there, available to everyone! … but that the Christina Parks attributed with my work not only isn’t me, she writes stuff that makes me blush to even think about.

I fixed that.


I still feel like a poser, but hey–I wrote and published two stories and you can legit buy them, so I guess I’m…sort of legit?

Try it! See if you can find me 🙂

(Hint: amazon.com/author/christinaparks )

Writing Update

  • I have “Seamless” and “Dr. Andersen’s Journal” out on sub again, hoping to get them published somewhere people will actually read them, haha.
  • I have a new short story, “The Creation” out on sub. It’s a really cool one, I think you’ll love it.
  • PIDM v. 3 is on its 3rd draft. 3.3 is coming along really well. Slower than I’d like, but I’m happy with its direction. Meanwhile, 3.2 is with Alpha readers, and early feedback is positive. *cue happy dance*


I graduated from college 5 years ago. I talk a lot about all the stuff I did before I graduated from college and took up my full-time job called motherhood. I talk about the plays I was in, the shows I got paid to perform in, the travels, the food, the adventures, and how my world seemed so wide back then.

Somehow, when my days are filled with mopping up baby vomit and coaching my 5yo to sound out new words, the world seems small. The walls of my home are comfortable, but I feel as though a part of me is forgotten. My dusty memories of a cooler me sit on the shelves in my mind, reminding me of who I used to be.

pink hair, a stache, and a baby who is now a sassy almost-kindergartner

I sometimes look at old pictures and wonder what Past Me would think of my present. A person can only do so much at one time, and I’ve let a lot of favorite things go to make room for the way I choose to use my time these days. I used to be quite the singer, you know. My heart twinges with regret every time my voice cracks these days, my instrument is sadly lacking in practice. And sometimes that makes me sad.

When a woman becomes a mother, it sometimes feels as though the title swallows up the person.

Can I brag for a minute? Well, not brag, but… Can I tell you what I’ve been up to for the past 5 years? Because I haven’t been volunteering in foreign countries or singing in front of large audiences or writing kick-a papers that make my professors proud.

So here’s a nifty list of a few things I’ve done in the last 5 years which make me happy:

  • I’ve managed to keep not one, but two small children alive. This accomplishment, alone, deserves a gold medal, a million dollars, and a Nobel prize.
  • I’ve written 5 novels (sort of)*.
  • I’ve published 2 short stories.
  • I learned how to sew, and have made 3 Elf costumes, 4 Austen-era dresses (complete with petticoats and a walking jacket!), 1 Belle ballgown, 1 Cinderella ballgown, 1 Prince Charming uniform, 5 Biblical costumes (technically Nephite, but they work for Nativity purposes, too), 1 T.A.R.D.I.S. dress (it was epic), a River Song cosplay outfit, a slew of dresses for my daughters, a handful of dresses for myself, a couple of blouses and skirts for myself, and stockings and curtains and a bunch of other things, too. I also made a king-sized t-shirt quilt documenting the first 25 years of my life, which is pretty cool.
  • I learned to crochet, and I’m not even going to start listing all the beautiful things I’ve made. It’s a lot.
  • I’ve packed up my family and moved us 5 times, and 3 of those were cross-country moves. (This deserves at least another million dollars)
  • I’ve made the most wonderful friends, and learned a lot about how to nurture adult relationships, and how important it is for me to reach out in love and yes, in need sometimes.
  • I’ve struggled with some serious health issues which have done their best to bring me down time and time and time again. My body doesn’t handle mortality well. My spirit has struggled, but I’ve shown myself I’m stronger than I think, and that’s pretty cool.
  • I’ve gotten pretty good at meal planning and putting together tasty, nutritious meals for my family. We’re turning into foodies, and it’s so fun.
  • I’ve read a gazillion books. That’s only slightly hyperbole.
  • And as of this week, I’ve learned how to set up a website 😉

All in all, I’m pleased with myself and how far I’ve come. I’m excited to see what the next 5 years have in store.

*about those 5 novels: Technically, 3 of them have carried the same title and core cast, though each were fundamentally different books. Like, not even remotely the same story. And each of those 3 versions have gone through countless drafts, so…they count as separate novels, right?

Hi there


Once upon a time when everybody blogged, I pretended I knew what I was doing and had a blog, too.

I reeeeeeealllllllly didn’t know what I was doing.

But, apparently it’s still a good idea to have an online presence. And…words for people to read. So I’m putting together this website and crossing my fingers and I’m trying something new: total honesty. Like the honesty of telling you I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m doing it anyway, and if you’re reading these words you’re probably along for the ride, lucky you.

not my feet

I don’t know if I’ll have a schedule–or that I’d stick to one if I bothered making one. But I’ll be talking about my writing, what I’m learning and how I’m doing. I’ll talk about my sewing projects. I’ll ramble and reminisce about travels I’m on, or that one time when I did something cool. I’m in that happy middle ground of adulthood: I’m no longer in my twenties, but I’m still considered young. In other words, I’m old enough to know I’m too young to know anything. And, friends, this is the best time of life yet.

I should have an eye-catching something here.

There was a farmer who had a dog. Bingo was his name. Oh.

I didn’t say that. At least, not originally. But I sang it with my baby just now and that’s about all the energy I have for making this post interesting.

Did I mention I have babies? I do. They’re adorable. I might even go so far to say they’re the cutest kids in the world. So there.