I suppose that if I were a truly accomplished blogger, I would have written this post last night! But New Years’ Day is surely just as special as New Years’ Eve, don’t you think?
This past year has been such a blur of new experiences that last night, I actually had a hard time remembering what I did in 2013!! The Amazing Europe Trip comes to mind in big bold capital letters every time I think back on this year. Most of 2013 was spent either working toward or enjoying or looking back on my trip to England, Scotland and Paris with two of my best friends. (I found the above pictures online, on CNN and travel sites – I wish that I had been the one taking the pictures as the fireworks went off!) I have never had so many lifelong dreams fulfilled all at once! Having tea in a quaint English tea shop, visiting the Kilns, eating at The Bird and Baby, navigating Paris on my own, wandering about Hilltop Farm – I can’t even begin to describe how special and meaningful that trip was to me, on so many levels. It’s an experience that I will treasure and be so grateful for, for the rest of my life!
The second thing that stands out in my mind about 2013 is all of the fears that I was forced to face. I have always been uncomfortable around crowds, strangers, and new environments. I was forced to face that fear head on and knock it flat on its back this summer, as I worked at my first full-time job. I’m the type of home-body that can’t stand sleepovers, let alone several days away from my family. This year I traveled halfway across the world for nearly three weeks. I hate being in charge of things, especially important things, yet I was put in the lead when we toured Paris during our trip. And you know what? It wasn’t that bad after all! I’ve never been very comfortable caring for older people or babies – this year, I’ve done both! Caring first for my great-grandfather, and then a new, precious foster baby has taught me that I shouldn’t have been afraid of either experience. And my last big hurdle – college – is on its way to being conquered as well. I start online classes with Thomas Edison State College next Monday. Although sometimes this year I have felt like saying, “Enough!! Please don’t send me any more scary things!! I can’t take it any more!” I was always given grace to take each new experience as it came. I really feel like the theme of 2013 has been “conquering fears with the help of the Lord.” So many times when I felt like I couldn’t go one more step, or one more hour, I was reminded: of course I can’t! I can’t make my own heart continue beating on my own – I have to rely fully on the Lord. Not only in the scary times, but in every single situation!
On a less momentous and more fun note, I’ve enjoyed so many new stories this year!
New movies I enjoyed in 2013
Star Trek: Into Darkness
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Thor: The Dark World
The Importance of Being Earnest
The Harry Potter series
John Adams (HBO series)
Les Miserables (2012)
Rise of the Guardians
New Books I’ve enjoyed in 2013:
All the Wrong Questions by Lemony Snicket
Death by Living by N.D. Wilson
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxas
Robin Hood by Paul Creswick
Miracles by C.S. Lewis
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
It’s (Not) That Complicated by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin
Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup
Tolkien and Lewis: The Gift of Friendship by Colin Duriez
Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
And speaking of stories, though I haven’t had time to so much as look at my novels this year, in 2014 I hope to have at least one of them completed, copyrighted, and printed! I have been working on editing it on and off during December, and I believe that (after no less than 10 edits) I finally wouldn’t mind putting it out there for everyone to read. Wish me luck (or better yet, pray for me) as I try to navigate the whole printing process this year!
I love quotes almost as much as I love the books they come from. I want to share a few of my favorite new quotes – some quite serious, some completely silly – with you:
“The sweetness and generosity and politeness and gentleness and humanity of the French had shown me how lovely life can be if one takes the time to be friendly.” – Julia Child
“It is never seven that you count to, before you do something difficult. It is never at the count of two. It is always three, and it is strange.” – Lemony Snicket
“If God gives you (or makes you) a joke, what are you meant to do in response? (Receive it. Laugh.)
If God gives you an obstacle, what are you meant to do in response? (Receive it. Climb it. Then laugh.)
If God gives you more profound hardship, what are you meant to do in response? (Receive it. Climb it. Then laugh. Exhibit A: His Son.)” — N.D. Wilson
“The deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly pray what He taught His disciples to pray: ‘Thy will be done.'” – Elizabeth Elliot
“Scolding must be very, very fun, otherwise children would be allowed to do it.” – Lemony Snicket
“Glory is sacrifice, glory is exhaustion, glory is having nothing left to give.” – N.D. Wilson
“And by and by Christopher Robin came to the end of things, and he was silent, and he sat there, looking out over the world, just wishing it wouldn’t stop.” – A.A. Milne
“Just speak very loudly and quickly, and state your position with utter conviction as the French do, and you’ll have a marvelous time!” – Julia Child
Happy New Years’ everyone!