Posted in The Ponderings of Life

5 Things I Took For Granted

Today marks one month since I returned from my trip to Texas to attend a friend’s wedding. When I left for the trip, everything was normal. When I came back, the restrictions had begun. A week into quarantine I started writing a journal, so that one day I could look back on these strange times and remember what I did to pass the time and how I felt as the days went by. When I started it, I thought I’d only be writing about all this for a month, maximum. It’s funny how much things can change in such a short amount of time. I don’t know for how much longer quarantine will be in place. I may only fill up half my journal before we’re “released” or it may last long enough that I’ll have to pull out another journal.

But as I reflect on the past 30 days or so and the many changes that have happened in my life because of the pandemic, this time in quarantine has helped me realize 5 things I take for granted in my normal, everyday life.

1. Work

As most of you know, I’ve been working at a half-day preschool at my church for almost four years now. Going into work every morning has been a part of my daily routine for so long, I don’t think twice about it most days. It’s just a given. It’s just what I do. Did I love it? Absolutely. But did I fully appreciate it? I used to think I did. I’ve always known that I have an amazing boss and co-workers and I’ve always had fun with the kids. But did I know what a blessing it is to wake up in the morning and have somewhere to go, somewhere I needed to be? To have people waiting for me to arrive and get things prepared? To have children hanging off my arms and begging me to play? I took all that for granted. Complaining (even about things we ultimately love!) comes second nature to us as humans. Why did I used to complain about getting up early? One thing I’ve noticed during quarantine is I have little motivation to get up in the mornings because I have nowhere to be. I’d give anything to have a reason to get up early now! (Well, most days… 😉 )

2. School

This one is easy. I knew before this that I took school for granted. I’ve always complained about homework, deadlines, exams. I’m not pursuing anything beyond a Bachelor’s degree solely because I’m tired of exam stress. But there again, schoolwork was another reason besides work that I got up in the morning. Because there were deadlines! There were assignments! There were things that needed to get done. Because my schooling is online and I take one class per month (usually) I’ve been in between classes for a bit while waiting to see how my financial situation would pan out due to this situation. This week I’m starting my next class (yay!), but until then, I didn’t even have homework to get up for. It was fun to have no homework for about two weeks and then I found myself missing it. I literally have never ever ever missed schoolwork before. I’m even surprised at myself as I type this, but it’s absolutely true. Because I love learning–I love history–I love learning about history–and I love my classes. Besides College Algebra (which made me cry), I have loved almost every class I’ve taken in college because it’s taught me something about myself or the world around me, and that knowledge is invaluable. Simply having something to learn about is definitely something I took for granted.

3. Friendships

This realization surprised me. I’ve always loved my friends and tried to be intentional with them, and while I’m still reaching out to them through Zoom or FaceTime, I didn’t realize how much I took for granted being able do things with them: go out to lunch, see a movie, go to an event. To be able to hang out at each other’s houses and be with each other. I have quite a few long-distance friends, so I’m used to having to find other modes of communication besides being in person, but now all my friends are “long-distance”! I didn’t know how much I enjoyed hugging someone or being present with someone until I couldn’t.

4. Ministry

This one is hard to admit, but I’m hoping by this point, you may relate to some of what I’m describing anyway. I have the privilege of teaching choir to 1st and 2nd graders as well as participate in the adult choir, both at my church. But again, how easily do we slip into the mundane and monotony of ordinary days. Every Wednesday night, I go to adult choir practice. Every Sunday morning, I teach kids choir. And every week, it’s the same. While I love both greatly, I would complain about getting up early on Sunday mornings or having to prepare for a difficult song. But I called both a privilege above because that’s what it is! I didn’t appreciate the fact that I get to serve God in this way–in a way I enjoy! And there is beauty in doing the same thing every week, in knowing what to expect and being able to participate in it.

5. Free Time

This one is a little different, mainly because I wanted to end on a more positive note instead of just talking about all the things I can’t have right now. 😉 During my normal, very busy life, I don’t necessarily have a lot of free time, but there is definitely a decent amount. So, why is it that I’m always saying “I don’t have time” to write, read, take a walk, etc.? I used to think I had legitimate excuses–but now that I see all that can be done in a day, I’m starting to wonder if that’s all they were: excuses. In the past 30 days, I have finished reading a book (as well as started a couple others), written in my journal almost every night, went through the self-publication process for The War Within (my favorite achievement so far! 😉 ), written 8,000 words in Everlasting’s prequel, chatted with someone virtually three or four times a week, gone on a walk almost every day and made great progress on my Beauty and the Beast cross-stitching project while watching a number of movies and TV shows (many that I’ve been meaning to catch up on for a while…). I’m willing to admit that because I don’t have work or a social life anymore ( 😛 ), I have more head space to be creative, but still…I know I could be implementing at least some of these things daily–if I really wanted to–if I really tried.

In conclusion, I’m beginning to think that God is using this quarantine to help me reevaluate my priorities and what I put my identity in. When literally everything is stripped away, who am I? This has been such a humbling experience for me, as I’m sure it has for many of you as well. What do I put value in and why? At the end of the day, what really matters? I’ve pondered these questions and more as I’ve gone through the ups and downs of several emotions in the past 30 days. Ultimately, I know three things for sure in this uncertain time:

God’s plan is not my plan.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. – Isaiah 55:8

But while I am not in control and am confused, God has complete control and understanding.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars; He gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure. – Psalm 147:3-5

And my job is simply this:

Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! – Psalm 27:14

I hope this encouraged you. We are living in very strange times, but we have a very powerful and loving God! I hope when all this is over, we hug our friends, go into work with a huge smile and love our life more than we did before. I hope we don’t take any of it for granted.



Posted in NaNoWriMo, The Ponderings of Life

NaNoWriMo 2018: Thoughts and Results

This is the first year in quite a few where I didn’t introduce my NaNoWriMo project in October and/or give one or two updates in November. C’est la vie!–as they say. My October was absolutely nuts and my November was pretty busy as well. (One of the reasons being a trip to New York City I took with my mom and I’m looking forward to blogging about meeting my FAVORITE childhood author, Gail Carson Levine, soon!) Needless to say, now that I’m here, I’m excited to talk about NaNoWriMo.

Some of you might remember that two years ago my NaNo project was a prequel to Everlasting (which I call Endeavoring). It was an opportunity to peek into the lives of Azalea’s parents, King Zechariah of Memiana and Queen Crystal of Orutia, and find out how on earth an optimistic human and a pessimistic fairy fell in love. I succeeded in writing 50,000 words that month and continued to write another 10,000 throughout December of that year into March of the next.

Continue reading “NaNoWriMo 2018: Thoughts and Results”

Posted in The Ponderings of Life

Five Things I’ve Learned Since Starting College

It’s that time of year again–time to go back to school! It’s been a little over two years since I graduated from high school and started working part-time at Meadowland while pursuing a Bachelors in History through Lumerit Education. Now I’m a junior and about to start my third year at work and I’ve been recently reflecting on all God’s taught me through this new season of life.

I’m a little bit of a control freak. So as I was growing up, always knowing what the next step in my life was, I did fine. But as soon as I graduated from high school, the detailed map was ripped away and an ocean of questions flooded in, like: Where will I go to college? What will I pursue? Where will I work to pay for college? When am I going to start dating someone? Should I keep writing? Who are going to be my close friends throughout college? And on and on and on. So, as some of these questions have been answered and others I’m still waiting an answer on, here’s what I learned during my two years of college so far.

Continue reading “Five Things I’ve Learned Since Starting College”

Posted in The Ponderings of Life, Words Upon Words

Life Update: March 2017

Where does the time go? Way too often have I told myself that I’ll try to blog more often, at least one to two times per month. Then that month flies by and I never even started drafting a single blog post. Well, I either have way too much going on or I’m not very good at managing my time. You can take your pick. 😉

This blog post is going to be like many others I’ve written in the past–not about anything specific, just a bunch of different pieces all thrown together.

First off, I’ll start with writing. To be honest, I haven’t written much since January. I sent Bridget Returns to my aunt for preliminary editing after going through the whole thing myself for the first time over the course of two weeks. I hope to read through it one more time this spring/summer and attempt to cut back some more words. As for Endeavoring, I’ve basically reached the halfway mark and while the story itself is definitely starting to pick up the pace (or maybe I am), I haven’t had much sit-down time to really work on it in a few months. While I definitely look forward to picking it up every once in a while, I don’t feel an exact hurry to get it done. I already have three completed novels awaiting editing and publishing, so I’m not sure I’m ready to add a fourth to the list quite yet. Though we all know writing is so much more fun than e d i t i n g.

As for reading, I’m always listening to an audiobook in the car on my way to work every morning and I’ve been trying to get through some library books that have been sitting on my shelf for weeks. I recently finished reading a twisted version of the classic Sleeping Beauty fairy tale and accordingly started reading The Two Towers. My hope is to finish the Lord of the Rings trilogy this year! After The Two Towers, I’d like to read Stolen Magic by Gail Carson Levine and Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins. Those are both waiting expectantly on my shelf right now. 😉

Now on to life. Where do I start?! I’m still working at Meadowlands preschool and I’m always involved in some kind of church activity. I am officially a Lumerit student as of January 2017 and I’ve already completed my first course, Comparative Worldviews. Yay for getting another three credits under my belt! Between school, work, church and babysitting, I still manage to find free time to watch some really great shows (mostly British dramas) which really ignite my writing imagination. And some things I’m really excited for in the upcoming weeks pertain to my favorite time period: World War 1. I just finished picking some classes around that time period, there’s an educational movie completely dedicated to World War 1 coming up on PBS AND the history museum in Raleigh is opening a World War 1 exhibit in April. It’s a great time to be alive. 🙂

Speaking of history, I wanted to give a brief introduction to a blog post I’m planning on putting it up in the near future. I recently saw a post on social media of someone’s textbooks and the caption read “I hate history”. Wow. That hit me really hard, right in the chest. Of course, the person was being sarcastic and simply making a “funny” remark. But I took it personally. Very personally. Why? Well, for one thing, I’m kinda majoring in history. Basically, I care a lot about history. My passion for history over the years has really shaped who I am today. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people say “I didn’t like history when I was young, but I find it interesting now”. Of course, not everyone is going to like history as much as I do. I’m not asking you to. Everyone is different. But I think it’s really too bad that it takes so long for people to understand how important and interesting history is.

All I’m trying to say is, I love history a lot. And when someone says they hate it, I can’t bear it. It shouldn’t, but it really hurts me. But that’s when I realized that I do the same thing, but about a different subject. Math and I have a really complicated relationship. But unfortunately, I’m guilty of doing the exact same thing. I say “I hate math” ALL the time! But some people really love math. I’ll never understand why, but they do and I should respect that. I’ll never truly excel at math and that’s okay. Other people are good at math and they love it and all I can say is “wow, good for you!” I know why math is important and I use it all the time. That’s what’s really important. So the blog post I’m planning to write up is about why history is important for everyone and why I personally enjoy it so much–why I’m majoring in it.

Until next time! 🙂

Posted in The Ponderings of Life, Words Upon Words

Farewell 2016!

Long time, no see! As I’m sure it has been for everyone, it’s been a very busy holiday season for me. But as I near the end of my holiday break and as it’s the last day of 2016, I thought I might write a little post filled with tidbits of news.

First, I never did write a final post to end NaNoWriMo season. NaNo 2016 was very different than previous years, but it went really well. As most of you already know, I reached 50,000 words on the final day in my newest project, Endeavoring, prequel to Everlasting. Each year, NaNo gets easier. I remember when I first truly attempted NaNoWriMo in 2013 and how hard it was to write even 1,000 words a day. Now, with enough spare time, I can write 3,000 words in a day no problem. Since I was so busy last year, I wasn’t expecting to reach the 50,000 again. But I was able to balance studying time with writing time well enough to make sure I was never too behind on my word count that I couldn’t catch up. As to Endeavoring, I’m not quite halfway, so I can already sense how long this book is going to be. But I’m enjoying watching Zechariah and Crystal’s relationship begin to develop and look forward to their future conversations together. Currently, I’m still re-working a few kinks in the plot and rewriting what I’ve already written accordingly. I’m hoping to smooth everything out soon so I can keep writing while free time permits!

Second, as for my 2016 New Year’s resolutions:

  1. Read 40 books. I did not reach this goal. As I did last year, I adjusted my goal to 30 once I realized that 40 books wasn’t going to happen. When I passed my Sociology exam (therefore, all done studying), I counted up all the books I’d read so far and figured out that I needed to read 7 books in roughly two weeks to reach my goal. So I hunkered down and read like a maniac. I’d missed reading so much, anyway, that I really didn’t mind. 😉 We spent Christmas in Canada with relatives, so during our time there and the long car rides there and back, I listened to three audiobooks and read four books. I look forward to writing about my opinions on them next year! 🙂
  2. Finish writing one book. I did reach this goal! I finished writing Bridget Returns, my NaNo 2015 novel, in late September. Hooray!

What are my 2017 New Year’s Resolutions?

  1. Read 40 books.
  2. Finish writing one book (probably Endeavoring).
  3. Edit Bridget Returns.
  4. Edit and self-publish The Whistler Daughters.
  5. For this last resolution, I wanted to mention something non-book related, but is even more important. Year after year, I want to become more like Christ.  As Colossians 3:12-17 (NIV) says so perfectly:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

A lot happened this year, mainly graduating from high school, going on a mission trip to Kenya and starting my first real job. Next semester, I begin my college classes online. My life has changed more this year than any other year. Managing my time and money has never been more important. I look forward to all the blessings and challenges God has for me in 2017!

What are your New Year’s resolutions?