2021 Is Here

On the 30th of December I wrote a whole list of New Year’s Resolutions in my bullet journal. There are 33 of them, which is a huge number. The inspiration for these 33 resolutions came from the absolute craziness that was 2020. I say craziness, because I don’t mean that it was all bad. Actually I think I really enjoyed most of 2020. It gave me a new appreciation for life. 

From beginning to end it was a year of gargantuan changes and moments of growth. 2020 changed my perspective on so many aspects of life. I think differently now about life and the world. God has shown me how to be more compassionate. I also look at my family differently, because we have spent so much of this year together. It has strengthened our bonds, helped us to understand each other better, and I am so thankful I got to live through 2020 with them. I look at my role in this world a bit differently now, because I take it more seriously. 2020 I think was the year I really grew up. 

Not only did I learn a lot this year, I also gained so much. I gained so many new friends, I gained a renewed appreciation for work, and I gained new love in general. 2020 probably didn’t seem like a year of blessings for many people, but for me it was a year I believe I will always cherish and be thankful for. 

For these reasons, New Year’s Resolutions were easy to come by for me. I thought up so many because in 2021 I want to live with intention. I want to carry on the wonderful things about 2020 and leave behind the bad parts. My life is so much different than it was a year ago and it has given me a new zest for life. A new love for it. These resolutions are ways I want to thrive and grow. I think I will share a few of them here.

The Resolutions

1. See the Ocean

I have never seen the ocean, not the Atlantic or the Pacific. I want to see one of them this year because I want to experience the vastness of it. I want to feel the saltiness in the air. Traveling is something I want to do more of in general this year. One of my lifelong goals is to see as much of the world as I can. I want to know what it’s like to travel and see new places and meet new people. I want my eyes and heart opened to what this huge world holds.

2. Write Something I’m Proud Of

Most years I have a goal to write every day and sometimes I tack on the goal to get something published. This year is different. I’ve realized my limits and that I need to make more realistic goals. I would like to write a lot and I would love to get published, but those aren’t really goals for me this year.

However, I want to write something really good this year. I don’t know what it will be. A short story perhaps, or maybe a novel, even a poem would be great. As long as it is something I’m really proud of. I want to put in as much time as I need to make that possible. For a few years I didn’t write much at all, and then late in 2019 the spark came back. Now it is here to stay, I believe.

Writing is what I want to do for the rest of my life. It is a friend. It is a confidante. It is an art form that I have taken for my own and I love it. It is a shame that I left it by the way side for a few years. I was working towards the goal of being a writer without actually being one for a while. This year I want all that to change.

3. Don’t Be Negative Anymore, Find the Positives

This is something that I will really have to fight hard for this year. Being positive and upbeat is not something that comes naturally to me. My heart finds it easily to be disappointed by even the smallest things. I have always been this way, and in 2020 I decided that I wanted that to change. Something about the tons of negativity that came from every direction stirred something in me, and another reason made me want to practice positivity.

I experienced an intense positivity from a dear friend of mine. He is always positive, and 2020 proved to be no exception to this. No matter what crappy circumstances he found himself in or hardship he faced, he always had something positive to say. This made me take a good, long look at my heart, and I realized that I would be a much happier person if I were more positive, and a better Christian.

4. Make a Thankfulness List for Every Month

I have tried to do this before and have failed every time, but I am going to try again anyways. I think it’s really easy to get into the habit of just living passively and letting life pass by without really reflecting on it. I don’t want life to pass me by; I want to be actively living, and I believe a thankfulness list will help me achieve this in some way.

If I am pausing every day to take just a moment to write down some moment, person, or thing that I am thankful for that day then I won’t be living passively. I will actively look back at the day and find that there are beautiful moments in even the most dull days.

Nostalgia Walk

Today I am going to put this here, a small piece of writing that I started in February this year, and am coming back to now. It seems like the right time to post this now. 🙂


The best part about walking outside was the nostalgia. It gripped Claire’s soul and wrapped around it whenever she stepped outside to take a walk. No matter the season there was always a scent, a feeling, or a memory riding on the air that would take her back to a different time. Those were the days, she always thought, because they were. They were carefree and peaceful.

These days, life wasn’t quite as peaceful as it used to be. There was always a paper or quiz due soon, a chore that needed done, or an adult task to be completed. Yet she was approaching peacefulness once again, and the air filed with nostalgia was able to pierce her soul in ways it hadn’t in years.

One small breath of wind came at her that afternoon in February as she started off down the sidewalk, and she reveled in the excited feeling that rushed into her heart. More memories than she could keep track of came back to her, and one in particular: going outside on mild winter days to play pretend, to be Pilgrims or Pioneers.

As Claire continued her walk a strange memory came to her. It was one that she didn’t think about often, and it made her slow down a little. One hot summer day, when she was sixteen, she had crossed those fields behind her to the right. She and her brother had walked to the edge of the neighborhood, past houses baking in the sun, children running through sprinklers, and dogs panting in the shade.

The edge of the neighborhood was atop a hill that overlooked most of the houses on one side, and on the other was a field that sloped down and away to a line of trees, and beyond that a road, and beyond that fields that melted into the horizon. But off to the right the field sloped down fast and at the bottom was an old elementary school. That is where those siblings were headed on that hot, summer day.

In the present day, she couldn’t remember what she had been wearing but she knew running shoes and athletic shorts were probably part of the outfit. A soccer ball was inevitably present, tucked under her brothers arm. What she did remember was coming down that hill. It was covered in weeds of all shapes and sizes, and there were big rocks jutting out everywhere. There was something that had seemed forbidden about this adventure because it was out of the neighborhood, away from the concrete, houses, and asphalt. It was a secret realm, in her mind, one that made her akin to the heroines in the books she read. She was Anne Shirley, she was Laura Ingalls.

Now it was years later and she couldn’t help but smile at the person she had been. Joy and adventure had filled her soul to the brim. Young Claire couldn’t have imagined what the next four years would bring: the pain, the heartache, the new experiences, and the mistakes made.

Claire kept walking and her heart was filled with such peace and joy. Looking over the past few years she could see how far she had come. The person she was and the person she had been were linked by joy, but separated by so much growth. She looked to the future now and wondered: what memories would come to her on walks in years to come?

Am I Still a Writer?

I try to create a perfect atmosphere for myself when I write. I make a cup of tea or coffee. I turn on nice lighting. I wrap myself in a blanket. I listen to a soundscape, song playlist, etc. I always think the atmosphere matters a great deal when I write, because without it I can’t put myself in the world of my writing.

For a few years I’ve been in a writing slump. As much as I hate to admit that, it’s true. I’ve lost the fervor, the imagination, the bright-eyed wonder that I had a few years ago. When I started this blog I was full of excitement and hope about my future writing career, but now I feel a bit lost. I feel like I’m desperately trying to regain that magic, trying to find what I used to find in writing. I haven’t written anything really good in years.

As I mentioned, I feel like I need to create an atmosphere for myself when I write. I really think this is because I don’t have that spark that I used to have. Now that I have to search for it I put a lot more effort into the activities that surround writing, rather than the act itself. It’s a shame.

Over the past few years I’ve grown up a lot; I’ve gotten a job, started college, and started dating. I live a different sort of inner life than I used to. I don’t read as much. I don’t get that thrill of creativity like I used to. To be honest, I don’t think that it’ll ever come back, because I’m not the same person I was nearly four years ago. Writing takes more work now and I don’t have wild flights of imagination like I used to.

And that’s okay. Right? Life is all about change and growth and moving forward. I was never going to remain a starry-eyed teenager forever. Writing takes more work, but I don’t love it any less. It is still what I am most passionate about. It is still what I want to do for the rest of my life. It is still what makes my heart sour and gives me that wonderful ache that makes me feel most alive.

Shadows.

This is what the light coming through my window in the late afternoon looks like. Across from the desk under my loft bed the room fills with a soft glow and creates this image on my sister’s dresser.

The contrast between the shadow and the white door is what I love about shadows. They are defined and mysterious at the same time. They look like exist but really they don’t.

I won’t make shadows into a metaphor for something, or say how shadows are like this or that.

I just think shadows are nice.

I miss it here

Over and over again I start blog posts and never finish them. Today I was looking back at my older posts and realized that I miss that. I miss coming here, not with anything big, but just with anything that I have to say.

I used to write about everything: my hopes and dreams, music, reading, writing, and just life. I want to get back to that because in this busy time of college and life changes, I need a place to come to like this. Even if no one is listening.

So today I am writing this, something small, because I miss it here.

Also, here is a good song:

I used to listen to this song over and over and over again lol

The House of Mirth

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

“Once, when we were children, and I had rushed up after a long separation, and thrown my arms about her, she said: ‘Please don’t kiss me unless I ask you to, Gerty’ — and she did ask me, a minute later; but since then I’ve always waited to be asked.”

There’s a part of me that wonders why I keep reading books written by Edith Wharton. Her books are not cheerful or happy or romanticized. Very often they illustrate how bad decisions can lead to a life spiraling out of control.

Even though happy stories can be great, I’m drawn to Edith Wharton’s books because of what they reveal about humans. She can make the most flawed character sympathetic by showing their heart and humanity to the reader.

Sense and Sensibility. . . and Old Books

“And after all, Marianne, after all that is bewitching in the idea of a single and constant attachment, and all that can be said of one’s happiness depending entirely on any particular person, it is not meant — it is not fit — it is not possible that it should be so. —”

I find this book to be a delight every time I read it. Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors, and I can always find comfort and a friend in one of her characters. “Sense and Sensibility” is a story I have known for almost as long as I can remember because I watched a film adaptation long before I read it for the first time. Even so, I somehow felt surprised at the twists and turns this time through.

Although I do love modern books my heart has always loved old books best. The more of them I read the more ardently I love them. I love to read the books that people call ‘classics’ and the forgotten ones that can still be delightful.

If you haven’t read an old book in a while I recommend you pick one up and try it. It’s really very fun to delve into the world of the past even though the writing style does take time to get used to. Some of my favorite older books include: “Emma” by Jane Austen and “The Age of Innocence” by Edith Wharton. 

Here are some more good quotes from “Sense and Sensibility”: 

“. . .Money can only give happiness where there is nothing else to give it. Beyond a competence, it can afford no real satisfaction, as far as mere self is concerned.”

“Sometimes one is guided by what they say of themselves, and very frequently by what other people say of them, without giving oneself time to deliberate and judge.”

Exploring

They traipsed through the fields recklessly that spring. All their lives the field had existed and they had seen it in every season and situation; covered in, full of corn, full of soy, full of weeds. Always with the trees rimming it in. But it had seemed so far away to children who were only allowed to go as far as the tree in their front yard. 

Eventually, when they could go to “the pond”, they had grown closer to the field, but had still looked upon it as far away and off limits. Cut off from them by a line of trees. 

In the strange spring of 2020 they finally crossed over and into the field and set off on an adventure. A few adventures. 

She appreciated the flowers there and stopped to look at each new one that she saw. She liked the purple ones that, when you looked across the entirety of the field, turned the whole space purple, like a thin gauze of some sort. Then there were the tall, thin white ones that sprung up every so often. She appreciated the spiky plants at the southern end of the field but didn’t go near them. She looked at the dead remains of last year’s growth. She loved seeing it all and coming to know it all.

They journeyed to the eastern end of the field where there was a patch of trees that they called a forest. It was just across a little stream, which they crossed cautiously and with boots on. In the forest there existed a peace. There was a lane lined in pine trees, very straight rows of pine trees. The lane was brown and soft with fallen needles and everything, everywhere was green in the soft light under the trees. 

They were explorers for a few weeks. All four of them again like “old times”, but also not at all like that. And it was fun to pretend and be a child again. 

The Penderwicks at Last: a Review…sort of

The Penderwicks at Last

“And away they went. the three together, prancing, leaping, gamboling into the future.” – The Penderwicks at Last, by Jeanne Birdsall

I’ve always loved Jeanne Birdsall. She’s the reason I wanted to become an author. She created characters who feel like my friends. She built a world out of words that seems almost as real to me as reality.

The Penderwicks, a series she wrote about a family of girls and their childhood adventures, was my childhood. I remember reading The Penderwicks at Point Mouette, the third book, in one sitting, and then rereading the whole series again after I finished it. I read those books so much that the covers wore thin and my family made me new ones.

The Penderwicks book series

Those books are precious to me and yet I didn’t read this, the final book, until ten months after it released. I spent a long time thinking that maybe I was gonna hate this book, because I knew it wasn’t going to be the ending I wanted. It wouldn’t be perfect. It wouldn’t be the ending I had waited eleven years for.

I finally got around to reading it after buying it at Barnes & Noble on my brother’s birthday. It sat around on my shelf for about a month before I actually opened it. When I did, I fell in love with the Penderiwicks’ world all over again. They are all pure magic. And this one was no different. It was full of warmth, adventure, love, and laughter. The story was just what it should have been. The ending, though it wasn’t what I had wanted for so long, was perfect. It was what it needed to be.

I suppose this is less a review for The Penderwicks at Last and more of an observation of where I am right now. I’m starting college this fall, I have a job, and I can drive. I’m an adult, I guess, but I still feel like a kid.

This last book came at the perfect time for me because for me it represents transition. A transition from childhood into adulthood. Life won’t always turn out the way I once thought it would, but that’s okay. It’s actually perfect, because God is in control, looking farther down the road then I will ever see. He knows where I am, and where I need to be.

Week Two: January 13, 2019

It started snowing early Saturday morning and now the world is covered in a blanket of white as far as the eye can see. Even today little flurries will whirl around from time to time. Church was cancelled for today so my family looked up a sermon by Tony Evans and gathered around the TV to listen to it. It was nice to be all together like that.

Goals for this week:

  1. I want to do yoga every day
  2. I want to read the Bible every day and pray
  3. I want to take a walk at least once
  4. Every time I work I want to pick out an outfit for the next day the night before

I did alright with my goals last week, but I really want to do yoga more than once this week, and I think taking a walk or two would be good for me too. I find walks relaxing and they fill my lungs with fresh air.