There is something clean and satisfying in having 2016 end neatly on a Saturday. But at the same time, I’m sorry to see it end at all. Goodbyes aren’t easy. I usually like to bid each year farewell by looking through my calendars and remembering highlights of the year. It’s amazing what can happen in only twelve months.
I like to write down the best of what I’ve read on the back of my calendars. I’ve been doing it since 2014. Notable books finished this year include:
- Failstate: Nemesis- John W. Otte
- Draven’s Light- Anne Elisabeth Stengl
- Queen Elizabeth’s Wooden Teeth- Andrea Burham
- The Moving Finger- Agatha Christie
- Macbeth- Shakespeare
- Crosswinds- Steve Rzasa
- 20 000 Leagues Under the Sea- Jules Verne
- Call the Midwife- Jennifer Worth
- How Green Was My Valley- Richard Llwewllyn
I tried to put up (and follow) a writing to-do list. I didn’t always stick to it, but it does record some interesting points and highlights (and lowlights). For example, this report from November 10th: “Only squeaked in a little bit, 89 words. (Character) ate cake.” Or the one before it, November 8th: “(character) meets the young cook, un-named as of yet. It was fun, with knifes, screaming, chasing, and cake! 485 words.”
My most productive day was November 16th: “Had (character) finally come face to face with (character), and they butt heads over who gets to take (character). 176 words. I also showed (character) trying to do some thievery, but the theft fails and she gets in trouble with her employer. 482 words. I even added a bit to the percolating story I have in ‘Prompts’, and some to the story with elves and airships. All in all, it added up to 1006 words! I even worked on some character design drawings. Good day.”
My largest word count was 1379, on January 26th. According to the records, that whole week was a good one. I even record the night I did a little late writing at 2:30 AM. I wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t sleep that night, so I figured I might as well make use of my wakeful hours. That time will go down in my memory as the writing session that ended with me bent over a bucket. Good times, good times.
I finished the first draft of two children’s stories; one early in the year, one at the end. Not as impressive as 2015’s success, when I finished a novel as I finished a year, but it’s still something.
Speaking of writing…
I launched this blog in April of this year. For some time I had been thinking of having a place to put my thoughts and ideas. But it took some time for me to gather enough nerve to make it all public. I still need practice with sharing my work; I get a little dragon-natured and hoard it. I must admit that I didn’t even tell most people about the blog until last month. There was no good reason for the secrecy. It was just habit. But that’s a habit I hope to see broken.
In my first two posts, I referred to the blog as a starship. A friend pointed out that ships aren’t meant to stay in one place. I have a long way to go still, but I’m learning to venture into the deep. Here’s to continuing the adventure!
While I’m on the topic of adventures, I should mention that I had some outside of blogging.
I found a new job in the spring. It’s nothing exciting, but still nice. Working at a garden centre has helped me discover several new favourite flowers. And in that peaceful atmosphere, I can cultivate stories as well as plants.
It was a good year for theatre, and I can mark two plays off my bucket-list. Thanks to my brother, who managed to get some good tickets, I finally saw Newsies! I also was able to see the Lion King. The cast of home-schooled kids put on a show worthy of Broadway! Some may accuse me of being biased, since my cousin played Rafiki, but I could honestly say that this show set a high bar.
At the tail end of Summer I crossed over the pond to visit family in Wales. I hiked through heather fields with my little cousins. They stuck some of these tiny blooms into my hair, along with some bluebells they found. I had never seen bluebells growing wild before, and I loved the way I could find them sprouting from old stone walls.
After spending some time in Wales, I visited my mother’s cousin in Switzerland. We ate meals of hearty bread, meat, cheese, and Ricolas in between high mountain treks. We also saw St. Bernard’s pass, which I had read about two years previous in Little Dorrit.
If I were to summarize 2016’s lessons in faith, it would be about the sovereignty of God.
During the first part of the year, a certain theme kept appearing here and there. It was a message of trusting God, regardless of whether or not his plans lined up with mine. Lauren Daigle’s Trust in You pretty much nails it. But I never expected where this journey of trust would lead.
I won’t understand the sovereignty of God unless I can respond with surrender. It hasn’t been easy, and it’s a progress that may take some time yet, but I’m hopeful. I had to learn a new meaning to the phrase ‘give your heart to Jesus’. Whether that means getting over my fears of ‘uncomfortable lovey stuff’, or forever flying solo; Christ is in control of my life and my heart. I can trust his choice.
But surrendering my heart wasn’t enough. Christ must rule my mind as well. I like pretending I’m Thomas Aquinas, delving into books and finding arguments ‘that will destroy the Manichees’. But apologetics isn’t there to just make me look clever, and fighting to be right was the wrong battle. I’m more likely to forget head knowledge anyhow. I’d rather have something deeper, ‘heart knowledge’. That’s far more important, and not as easily forgotten.
To be sure, I hope to never forget it. Last year was filled with so many lessons, and I hope to see them carried on.
2016 wasn’t a perfect year. But it was still beautiful, and full of discovery.