Long as the White Witch's winter
Short as a bearded dwarf
Crowded on one end
Tranquil at the other
Thirty-one wonderful, taxing, joyous, exhausting, brimming days
*Starting out with free verse was not my intention, especially considering my sleepy brain is still trying to figure out where to take this post. But there it is, random Narnia reference included.
This really was an all-over-the-place month. My brother's birthday . . . long, long, LONG volunteer days . . . family gatherings . . . more Christmas parties than I've ever attended . . . big projects . . . Needless to say, by the time I reached Christmas break, I was rejoicing!
Near the beginning of December, an honest to goodness snow day kept my brother and I home from school, and then the following day we had to battle slick roads, iced up windshields, and poor visibility. Fun, fun.
|Upon request (thanks, Savannah!), here is|
the tree ornament I received this Christ-
mas: an angel made entirely out of paper.
A wee bit of Once Upon a Time Season 1 with my parents and sisters, and a wee bit more of the same with my brother, since we finally roped him into the show. Season 5 showed up under the Christmas tree (!!!), so I watched one episode with my sisters too.
Princess Protection Program -- Re-watched with my sisters. It was very . . . Disney-ish. Crazy to see Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez so young and innocent, though. This time around I recognized Jamie Chung, who also plays Mulan in OUAT.
Finding Dory -- OH MY JELLYFISH, THIS MOVIE. It had the perfect balance of Finding Nemo nostalgia and new story freshness. Baby Dory was the most adorable animated creature to ever grace the screen. Watching her story play out was both hilarious and heartwarming. (My favorite scene is still when Hank the septipus--aka the seven-armed octopus--drives the truck.)
The Star of Bethlehem -- This is more of a documentary of sorts that I first watched in class, and then showed my family on Boxing Day. It uses historical timelines, Biblical text, and the math behind the universe to pinpoint what exactly the Star was. Utterly fascinating! The symbolism is incredible, and I was touched by the way God set everything in motion with a perfect, precise plan to announce our Savior's birth.
Civil War -- Finally. I have been waiting and waiting since this hit theaters, and let me tell you, it was worth it! Y'all probably know by now that Captain America is my favorite superhero. This third movie does not disappoint. My incoherent reaction pretty much consists of: ALL THE FEELS EVERYONE'S FIGHTING LOOKIT THE ALLIANCES AND CHARACTER INTERACTIONS AND MORAL DILEMMAS AND EPIC ACTION AND FRUSTRATIONS AND SADNESS AND BUCKYYYYY.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children // Ransom Riggs
This pretty book was a birthday present, not like you were wondering. I found it to be less creepy, overall, than I had expected. The language was unfortunate, especially considering the protagonist's young age. (I tend to think the protag's age is a reflection on the intended audience. A 15-year-old should not be using those words, okay?) But the settings and characters were super fascinating, and I loved all the strange old photographs. Definitely a unique formatting style! I also would've liked a bit more explanation about certain things, but maybe the next two books will clear it up. Four stars.
Cress // Marissa Meyer
One word: awesome. And a few more words: amusing, intense, heart-wrenching. I'd definitely say Cress rivals Cinder for favorite Lunar Chronicles instalment thus far. Cress herself is adorably naïve, yet brilliant. Pairing her with cocky Carswell Thorne was a stroke of romantic genius: the two make a hilarious couple! Following the rest of the Rampion crew was way too much fun as well. Cinder and Kai continued to be precious, Scarlet and Wolf were better than in their own book, and Iko made me ridiculously happy.
I almost considered reading Winter immediately afterward, but decided not to on the singular basis that I probably couldn't finish it before the end of the year, and then it would have to count toward 2017's Goodreads challenge. (Yes, I am particular like that.)
|(sorry for the fuzzy picture quality; this is the only|
one I could find of my cover)
Treasures of the Snow // Patricia St. John
Rereading this childhood favorite right after Christmas was like sipping hot chocolate whilst bundled up in a cozy quilt. I had forgotten portions of it, but the general direction and feel of the book was very familiar. The themes were more overt than I tend to enjoy, but this book is a classic to me, and so for nostalgia's sake I forgive it all. It really does have some profound things to say about forgiveness and pride. Five stars.
Paper Crowns // Mirriam Neal
I was surprised to find this little gem wrapped under the Christmas tree this year! I've been meaning to get it ever since my lovely blogger friend Mirriam announced it was being published. I'm not quite to the end--though I hope to finish tonight--but so far it's been a light, fluffy, adorable book! I adore Hal. And Azrael. And Salazar. And basically everyone but Maven. I know I'll be giving this four or five stars.
|I was blessed by an EPIC Christmas book haul: Paper Crowns, Quiet (a nonfiction book about introverts), The Calling,|
Reapers, Five Magic Spindles, and Golden Daughter. ^_^
11,734 words in The Prophet's Quest this month! Most of that, as you can imagine, was done in the latter half of the month. I have for sure crested the halfway point. It's a relief to bring all the characters back to Demetria at last. I'm hoping the return to a purely fantasy setting will help the words flow better in the future.
I had plans to hit 80k before Christmas holidays, and then use my break to reach 100k. I'm behind schedule, since I didn't hit 80k in time, but I still want to write as much as I can while I have time. Without running myself ragged, that is. I do need to rest during this break as well.
This recap will cover only life-y stuffens and writerly stuffens. (That is my own invented word, if you were scratching your head and wondering what sort of typos this supposed 'writer' just made. It's more fun to say than stuff, don't you agree?) I almost decided to list bloggy stuffens, too, but decided those highlights would be better saved for the next blogoversary celebration. Keep an eye out for an upcoming Books of 2016 post, though!
For now, prepare for lists! Because lists are life. And lists are easy to write, easy to read. Lists keep overweight blog posts from becoming positively obese.
- was a bridesmaid at a best friend's wedding
- watched Lord of the Rings trilogy for the first time
- went on a young adult/youth retreat in the spring
- bought my first car
- got promoted at my job
- went to a Piano Guys concert
- started college, which included . . .
- another retreat (much more intense than the other one)
- public speaking
- projects (like chapels and hampers)
- youth ministry
Things I Did:
- finished some minor edits in The Prophet's Quest
- researched some literary agents and some book stuff (like psychology, delusions, airplanes, and exotic locations)
- discovered my novella, The Brightest Thread, was a top ten finalist in the Five Magic Spindles contest
- bought and started Ted Dekker's The Creative Way writing course
- won the 100-for-100 challenge
- revamped my publishing plans
Things I Actually Penned:
- Wrote various little flash fictions/short stories/poems, such as these . . .
- Ann Marie
- When Love Runs Red
- To Fool the Court
- The Cage
- Wrote 83,000 words in The Prophet's Key
It's been quite the year! Don't let me give the false impression that 2016 was one glorious highlight after another, though. Monotony, weariness, and blandness made their mark on a number of days in between.
And yet the storyline weaving through the last twelve months was undeniably one of growth. The fast, painful, stretching kind . . . and the slow, gradual, imperceptible kind. The sandpaper days are smoothing a few of my rough edges, and yet the more I learn, the more rough edges I discover.
I've become a more confident person.
I've become a better writer, largely through the sheer keep-on-keepin'-on element of my writing life lately.
I've become a better public speaker, even though I'm still working on inflection and talking more slowly.
I've invested into myself.
I've been learning how to work hard, and how to keep working hard when I think I'm too tired to go on.
I've been learning how to rest, and not feel guilty for resting.
I've been learning that excellence is doing the best I can with what I have, and that there's no reason to beat myself up when I can't do more.
I've seen how very patient my Father God is with me. How faithful His love is, even when I am not. How deep His grace is, how perfect His plan is.
2016 was not an easy year by any means. But looking back over my shoulder, I can see that it was good. It was sandpaper to raw wood, fire to a forge, and in between, it was breath to oxygen-starved lungs. 2017, you will be even better.