Winter Bucketlist 2018

Since we are almost halfway through winter, I should probably have put this up on the ol’ blog a while ago or not at all, but whatevs. I like winter, and I haven’t even gotten to most of the stuff on this list, so it’s basically new.

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  • Finish Draft Five of Beasts. Yeah, this old rag. Right now I’m doing a lot of re-evaluating of themes and characters. It’s an unruly story, and if it’s not careful, it will get torn down and rebuilt again.
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this gif makes all the blood, sweat, and tears I’ve poured into Beasts okay

  • Reread The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber. The sequel–Reclaiming Shilo Snow–comes out on March 6, so I need to refresh on this beautiful, difficult story.
  • Reread Unblemished by Sara Ella. The final book in the trilogy comes out this May, and so I need to start in on the reread of Unblemished and read Unraveling so I’m all set for when Unbreakable comes out (I’ve had Unraveling for several months, but I decided to wait until closer to Unbreakable‘s release to read it since I’ve heard it’s a heart breaker).
  • Register for Realm Makers. (Done!)
  • Memorize Psalm 46. There are so many Psalms I want to memorize, but Psalm 46 is currently one of my favorites. It’s only eleven verses, so I think it shouldn’t take me too long to get this baby down.
  • Submit two pieces for publication. (one down, one to go)
  • Some sort of polar plunge thing. Apparently all the official polar plunges take place on New Year’s Day. In case you hadn’t noticed, that’s already long gone. SO, I’ll probably wait until some of the ice melts on the lake and just go jump in with a few people hanging around to make sure they can drag me out in case I black out from the cold. (Fun fact for you: this is actually research for Flickering Lights.)
  • Visit an art museum. (Done!)
  • Read a book about French impressionists. As it turns out, I enjoy French impressionist paintings a lot. So I’m on the lookout for a good book about those French geniuses.
  • Go ice skating. I’ve only done it once before in my life. I had a very up-close and personal relationship with the ice and a bunch of bruises by the time I left the rink, but it was fun! I definitely want to try it again.
  • Go on an early morning walk in the snow. This needs no explanation.
  • Walk on a frozen lake. (Done!)
  • Go sledding. This is mainly because I recently rewatched The Giver and love the wonder of the main character when he goes on his first sled ride. I want to relearn some of that wonder.
  • Go snow skiing. I’ve also only done this once before–maybe I’ll tell you guys about that adventure sometime–and I MUST DO IT AGAIN.
  • Electronic detox. E’rebody needs one of these periodically, and it’s about time I had another one.
  • Watch Black Panther. No explanation needed.
  • Rewatch Gifted. I cannot stop thinking about this movie. I must rewatch it and take notes. So good.
  • Go to an open mic. Probably not to perform anything but just to get out of the house and do something I haven’t in a while.

What about you? Are there any things you want to do before spring melts the snow??

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – nine days until Valentine’s Day, people.

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The 6 Stages of a Weekday [if ever there was a post to be a gif-full post, it is this post] [seriously, though, we’re looking at less than 200 words]

This is a #realtalk post, my friends. It’s about weekdays.

Let’s get to it.

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Stage One: Waking From Slumber.

Alarm #1.

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*gently snoozes*

Alarm #2.

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*snoozes less gently*

Alarm #3.

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*failing to silence alarm #3*

Stage Two: Waking From Slumber [the sequel].

Actually up.

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Profound words.

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Food is our friend.

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Coffee.

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it’s all better now

Stage Three: Assessing the To-Do List.

On first glance…

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After further contemplation…

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A little bit later.

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sometimes I get some earthshaking revelations

Stage Four: Work.

(Disclaimer: I enjoy my day job immensely, but it requires departing from the the house. Thus…)

At first.

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Suiting up.

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At work.

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because I can

Stage Five: The Revenge of the To-Do List

Approach #1.

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Approach #2.

procrastination 2

Approach #3.

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Approach #4.

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Approach #5.

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Approach #6.

doing stuff 4

wait a sec. I think something might be happening.

doing stuff 2

oh wow

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you better believe it

doing stuff 5

boom

doing stuff 3

yassssssssssssssss

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MWAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

Stage Six: The End of the Day.

Reading.

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Food.

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More reading.

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General merrymaking.

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The End.

Yeah, that basically sums it up.

Does any of this apply to you wonderful people? Which stage do you find yourself caught in the most? What stages do you experience that I do not?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – congrats to Lisa from Inkwell on winning the magazine giveaway! Watch your inbox for an email from me! :D

17 Things from 2017 & 18 Things for 2018 [that’s a grand total of 35 things] [but, never fear, this isn’t a giant post] [oh, wait. it is.]

There is no intro for this post. Only greatness. (Am I being serious? No, but it sure sounds real swanky to say “There is no __ for __. Only greatness.”. You know I’m right. You know it.)

17 and 18

 

First, the seventeen things from 2017.

The six best books I read in 2017. 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You by Tony Reinke – Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer – On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King – The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction edited by Tara L. Masih – Havah by Tosca Lee – The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson.

The six pieces of flash fiction I submitted for publication. The Necklace was accepted and published in this issue of Havok Magazine; the core of the story is the idea that all people are created in the image of God, and as such, we have the potential to mirror his image in all the purest ways despite the pull of our fallen nature.

Sense of Red, a dramatic piece that helped me deal with and express the boiling and red of jealousy, was rejected.

I wrote Captain-ish-ness to have lots of fun, but it ended up not being just funny to me. It was also about stress, not being what you’re supposed to be, not doing as well as you’re supposed to, and how when dreams come true, they aren’t always as shiny as you thought they’d be but that can be okay because of the people in the dream with you. And it still makes me laugh every time.

The Power of Nothing clocked in at eight drafts. Eight drafts. And we’re not talking about switching up sentence structure here and there. So many point-of-view changes, stopping and starting at so many different parts of the story, and trying to figure out if it made any sense at all. The sense it made to me was this: what we choose not to do is just as important as what we choose to do in our pursuit of doing to others as they would do to us.

In my personal opinion, Star-rise is the best flash fiction I have written to date. Gift giving, pure hearts, and true friendship are at core of this little story, and it makes me so happy whenever I think about it. Captain-ish-ness, The Power of Nothing, and Star-rise were all rejected, which was tough because I think they’re some of my best work.

Cap-tivated was the other story I submitted, and it was also rejected. As I look back at Cap-tivated, I can see that it isn’t much. At it’s best, it’s cute. At it’s worst, it’s cliched. And no matter how many times I reread it or think about it, I can’t find any sort of actual meaning to it. *shrug* Oh, well. The interesting thing is that I didn’t try to put anything into any of these stories; I found the themes and abstract ideas after I finished them, not before (or in the case of Cap-tivated, I found nothing whatsoever).

Three people and what they taught me.

My Grandma read through the entire Bible twice in 2017. Twice. TWICE. I’m doing well if I get most of the way through the Bible once in a year. Not Grandma. She went through one reading plan, but instead of patting herself on the back and putting up her feet for the rest of the year, she started in on another plan and finished that one several days before the end of the year. And another thing–Grandma doesn’t boast about anything (except maybe Grandpa’s raging good looks), so the only reason I know about it is because it came out in an offhand comment over Christmas. So three things to take away: 1) Grandma kicks reading plan butt and is more amazing than I had already presumed, 2) don’t ever be done reading the Bible, even if you’ve already read it once this year, 3) there is something incredibly noble, attractive, and godly about people who do beautiful things in secret.

This was a tough year for me, but as much of a tough year as it was for me, it was about five times tougher for my dad. He faced 8/10 same things as I did plus 8 of his own battles. It was one thing after another on nearly all fronts all. year. long for Daddy. Instead of folding up and crying in a corner (which is what I would do), he just kept moving, kept rolling with the punches, kept getting up in the morning, kept leading meetings, kept going no matter how messy or stressful or hard or all of the above things got. And he hardly ever said anything like a complaint. He exemplifies Christ-like perseverance.

There are many things that Luke says and does that have a profound impact on me, but this year, the One Thing would probably be a phrase I first heard him use on Thanksgiving break: “All things for the sake of the Gospel.” All things for the sake of the Gospel. All things for the sake of the Gospel. Including looking silly and clumsy since you can’t dance in order to make someone you don’t even know know that you value them enough to dance just to make them feel more comfortable. Including moving fourteen hours away from your closest friends and family to see Christ proclaimed somewhere where he is unknown. Including a hundred other things no one but God will ever know about. All things for the sake of the Gospel.

18 of the my goals and resolutions for 2018.

(We’ll revisit these on Penprints at the end of the year.)

  1. Devotions every day.*
  2. Write every day.*
  3. Finish draft five of Beasts and hand it off to betas.
  4. Launch newsletter (yeah, finally).
  5. Read 50 books.
  6. Read through the entire Bible (thanks, Grandma).
  7. Draft one new novel.
  8. Get through draft two of False Gods.
  9. Be discipled.
  10. Blog once a week.**
  11. Revisit Flickering Lights (yeah, this might turn into a novel).
  12. Write two letters/notes of encouragement a month.
  13. Discover and develop my spiritual gifts.
  14. Submit nine pieces for publication.
  15. Write two short stories (not flash fictions; short stories are longer).
  16. All things for the sake of the Gospel.
  17. Love people well. 2017 was the Year of Love in the Vague Sense (aka: no bueno). 2018 is the Year of Love in the Startlingly Specific Sense Laid Out in 1 Corinthians 13. I’ll botch this one sometimes (or a lot of times), but it isn’t a lost cause with the Holy Spirit.
  18. Rejoice in God. Jesus is the reason and source of all true joy, and it’s time for me to fight for my joy in him, to stop looking at the joy of my salvation as something that comes and goes but as a constant with and because of God.

* – I’m giving myself 15 “burner” days. Meaning, I have 15/365 days to miss on these things and that’s it.

** – continuing with the “burner” idea. I have 3/52 weeks to miss for the blog.


Let’s conquer 2018, kids.

What are your highlights from 2017? What do you expect from 2018? What will you make of 2018?

With love,

Rosalie <3

P.S. – If you made it to the end of this post, let me know by giving someone who inspires you a shout out in the comments. I’ll give a shout to two people–Nadine Brandes and my boss, Anne. Nadine inspires me with her words of life, and Anne inspires me with her generosity and kindness in all things.

12 Surefire Methods For Getting In The Christmas Mood

There are exactly two weeks until Christmas Day (for those of you who are behind on your gift-buying, you’re welcome for that bone-chilling, adrenaline-kicking, stroke-inducing reminder).

For some reason, I’ve had a bit of a hard time getting into The Christmas Mood. I don’t know what it is, but I only really managed to snag the Christmas cheer this past week. Today, for anyone else whose spirits might be flagging, I’m going to share 12 surefire methods that are sure, beyond all shadows of any doubts, to get you in The Christmas Mood (because they’re basically science).

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Oh, look, a red snowflake. How festive.

1. Wrap a present. (Note: if you don’t have any gifts for wrapping yet, wrapping a present to get into The Christmas Mood will not exactly work since it’s not, strictly speaking, possible to wrap a gift you don’t have–unless of course you wrap a metaphorical gift, in which case, use your imagination and make it look real good). For those who struggle with gift wrapping, you may refer to this incredibly therapeutic post from Penprints a couple years ago (you’re welcome in advance).

2. Take a drive after dark to see the Christmas lights. It is so fun and cheering to admire the lights that so many enterprising, Already In The Mood people have taken the time to decorate with. So, don’t be afraid to go out after dark; instead, take advantage of any opportunity to see the lights.

3. Invent your very own festive playlist. This one is new to me this year, but I’ve got a specialized playlist for Christmas on Spotify. I encourage you to do something similar because there’s nothing quite like music to usher in Mood and Anticipation. Since the beginning of December, I have added at least one song a day to my playlist (you can listen to it here; for cute and fun, I recommend “Hey Moon“; for nostalgic, go for “To Be With You“; for haunting and hopeful, “I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day” and “End of Exile“; for abstract and reminiscent of the tender tone of some of the O.T. prophecies, I can’t recommend “I Will Find a Way” enough).

4. Decorate with red and green and garland and lights and nativities. If I need to explain this one, well, I’m sorry for your childhood (or lack thereof).

5. Say “Merry Christmas!”, especially to strangers. You can’t use “Merry Christmas” more than five times without feeling The Mood come upon you. So say it.

6. Take quiet time away to reflect on Jesus and His birth and the hope of Him. Hope is so essential to the Christian life, and this time of year especially will be hollow if we don’t take time to recognize and reflect on what it meant back then and what it means today.

7. … And respond with joy. C. S. Lewis said that joy is not complete until it’s expressed. SO, when you’re thinking about everything Jesus’s coming means and the sheer joy of it hits you, express it. Sing. Extol God. Pray. Tell someone. Smile. The explosive joy of God is sometimes too much to explain or share, but try to communicate it anyway–to God, to your family, to your co-workers, to everyone.

8. Snuff some peppermint essential oil. Trust me, this is pure genius from yours truly. Bring up a chair, my padawans. Essential oils aren’t just about wellness.

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Essential oils are about Mood, too. So, go out to your local Store and pick up some peppermint essential oil. There are a few ways to benefit from the fragrance. Put some in a diffuser necklace for easy access. During a hot shower, drip 2-3 drops on the shower floor. If you have a diffuser in your home, put a few drops in there and enjoy. It’s like inhaling candy canes and sleigh bells.

9. Following along the line of sniffing Christmas, light up a Christmas tree scented candle. Even if you have a live Christmas tree, there is never enough Christmas tree smell, and candles add to ambiance and Good Moods with the longer nights of winter. Plus, matches never get old. (If any of you thought we were going to make it through this post without a reference to fire, you were sorely mistaken.)

10. Write/design a Christmas card or two or three. This is good for you and good for the person(s) you send the card to.

11. Watch a Christmas movie. While Charles Dickens did not invent Christmas (obviously), The Man Who Invented Christmas looks like it would be a fun, festive one to go see in theaters this year. Other popular Christmas movies aka: the classics we watch almost every year at my house include: The Nativity Story, Elf, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (basically a Christmas movie), The Very First Noel, and The Muppet’s Christmas Carol.

12. Some sort of advent. There are so many options. Come Let Us Adore Him by Paul David Tripp is one that my mom is enjoying this year, but there are countless other resources available online and in bookstores.


And that is the most comprehensive, exhaustive, complete, surefire of all surefire lists of Christmas-y things to do you’ll find on the internet nevermind that Christmas cookies, caroling, jingle bells, Christmas pageants, snowmen, and like 300 other Christmas things were never mentioned.

What do you do to get in The Christmas Mood? Any favorite traditions? What is something new you’d like to try this season?

With love,

Rosalie <3

P.S. – To all you lovely people who took the time to leave comments these last couple of months: I shall enjoy re-reading your thoughts as I finally reply to all your wonderful comments this week. I love getting and reading your comments, but for reasons unknown, I never reply to them in a timely fashion. I know. I’m a very bad blogger person.
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I shall make it right.

P.P.S. – Just another friendly, give-you-heart-spasms reminder: two weeks until Christmas.

Glossary of Terms

It’s about time Penprints gets a glossary, don’t you think? (It doesn’t really matter because I think it, so it’s happening. ‘Tis the power of a blogger (and, no, I’m not a petty tyrant).)

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– WIP: Work-in-progress; my current writing project.

Beasts: my retelling of Beauty and the Beast; the fourth draft is sitting in a vault in a hole so deep that earth’s core is starting to melt the vault box somewhere until December.

– An Idea: a white-hot spark of story fragment that’s growing into Something.

– Editing: the spawn of lightning and death (wait, that’s Toothless, and he’s delightful) the part of writing where the Something is painfully, intentionally, ruthlessly carved into a Story.

FG: my WIP for October 2017; some of this story astonishes me; I think I might love it.

– Flash Fiction: remarkably short stories (1000 or less) which I’m a little mad for.

– This gif:

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no explanation necessary

– Fire: ignited matter that feeds off of oxygen and produces light, heat, and beauty; my muse.

– The Oxford Comma: the little guy who should always (always.) come after the second item in a series of three (so help me).

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: only one of the most galvanizing movies to ever be made; one of my favorite movies.

– Winter: the most glorious of the four seasons.

– Copious, Long, and Confusing Parenthetical Statements: I have an affinity for the bit a grammar that goes like this: (-). And I also like nesting my parenthetical statements (sure, I could use commas (because one can never have too many commas, right?), but commas aren’t nearly as fun as parentheses (you know I’m right)).

– Bullet Journal: the nigh magical system that has brought a measure of order to my chaos and spawned this post, this post, and then this post (notice the Oxford comma?).

– The Middle Distance: actually, I’ve never referenced The Middle Distance anywhere on this blog, but sometimes you just have to throw something in for The Lolz (aka: this entire post).

Tony Reinke: only one of the best nonfiction authors of my lifetime. Start with Lit! and then go for 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You; you can thank me later. (It’s later.)

Nadine Brandes/The Out of Time Series: lololololololol, if you’ve been around Penprints for more than two seconds, you know what this is. For those of you who’ve been here for less than 2 seconds, I shall briefly explain. Nadine Brandes is an incredible author, and The Out of Time Series is her equally incredible debut series. So now it’s been explained; go read it and thank me later. (It’s later.)

– TBR: the infamous To Be Read list of books that is ever-growing and only diminishing in increments of not at all.

– Truth: I’m quite attached to truth when it suits me, and when it doesn’t suit me, I’m quite uncomfortable with it. In both cases it usually ends up on Penprints at some point or another.

And that’s it for now, kids.

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – the Glossary will be updated as needed and will be available in the menu for all newcomers.

P.P.S. – I’m feeling like I’m forgetting terms that I mention all the time. Did I miss anything (besides God because He’s a given)?