Living in the Present

Sometimes, we like to spend our time worrying about the past. We look at where we came from and think about how awful we were, or how we wish we could go back. Other times, we look forward and worry about our futures and all the unanswered questions we have.

I’ve decided to live in the present. At the end of the day, I’m not supposed to be anxious for the future. Looking back on who I used to be is a waste of time. What’s not a waste is saying, “This is where I am. God is taking me somewhere new. Everything I am doing now will have been for a reason later.”

Motivation to Clean

I’ve come to understand there are two types of homes in America–the ones that look lived in, and the ones that are spotless and have one horrifying, off-limits room.

So, for the homes that happen to be a bit more on the messy side of the spectrum (which my house is), what could possibly motivate us to clean? Some people (like myself) tend to be packrats, who have little nooks and crannies stuffed with things that, hey, I might need someday. What could create enough of a drive to pick up the towels off of the floor, move that pile of magazines off the kitchen table? One word.

Company.

I don’t understand this need for strangers/visitors to not know that we live in our house. I’ll probably get it once I’m a mom, but until then, I’ll continue to be as cheerful as possible while we make the house look more presentable than it has in four months.

Except for my room. Mine is the catch-all place when company comes. But hey, I’m sure I’ll find a place to sleep tonight, after I move the clothes, boxes, and piles of trinkets.

I just won’t be able to get out of bed again in the morning.

My Five Favorite Authors

The funny thing about authors is that they usually have been inspired by other authors. No matter how many favorite books you hold, some of the minds behind them speak to you. Here are some of my favorite authors.

1. Robin Jones Gunn.

When I was about ten or eleven years old, I got the first volume of the Christy Miller series at a used book sale. I was hooked within the first chapters. It told the story of an unsaved girl raised in a Christian household, only a few years older than me. It covered faith, love, boys, friendship, and it influenced how I saw the world. I searched for the rest of the volumes so I could finish the series. To this day, I’ve read all the books following Christy Miller, along with her friends Sierra and Katie. If I hadn’t had these books when I was a young girl, I think I would approach relationships very differently. Thanks to Robin Jones Gunn, I have a unique outlook that I’m not trading for a worldly view.

2. Jenny B. Jones

I didn’t discover these books until I was well into my teen years. And no, this isn’t the series about the adorkable Kindergartner who calls her teacher Mrs. No, this is another woman entirely who writes some amazing novels. As I writer, I’ve discovered she has a formula for her books; but why kill something that works? I got sucked in with Katie Parker, utterly trapped with Bella Kirkwood, and became a happy captive after reading There You’ll Find Me. I recently read I’ll Be Yours in two days and revived my passionate love-hate relationship with romance novels. Regardless if she has similar characteristics in her books, she tackles difficult issues with a flowing, connected plot and lovable characters. I will continue to read the books she puts out because I aspire to write with the skills she has.

3. Andrew Peterson

This one is a newer find. In fact, I didn’t even find him: some friends of mine did. They brought his Wingfeather Saga series in to Robotics, and then forced me to read it against my will. By the second book, though, I was operating fully on my own. Those books were some of the best I’d ever read. Not only because of the hilarious footnotes, but because they filled me with a hope and a love that only Narnia and Lord of the Rings had done. I’ve aspired to write a series in my own world, and Andrew Peterson has done it very artfully. He as a person inspires me: read his Amazon Author Bio and you’ll see why.

4. Gail Carson Levine

This impact was on a smaller scale. From a young age, I’ve loved the book Ella Enchanted. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, there’s a book. It’s not just a movie. I don’t know how the author personally feels about the film adaptation, but I find it to be one of the most outrageous insults to literature that I’ve ever witnessed (but that’s another rant for another time). What’s important is that the book about Ella is so rich: the author created her own world, and she takes us for an amazing journey. I love this novel. Another novel by her that I enjoyed, The Two Princesses of Bamarre, has magic in it. As a kid raised in the church, magic is pretty much a no-no. But the artful way she wrote, the story she told, is so enchanting to me that I overlooked the magic to admire it book itself.

5. Anita Valle

Many of you–or, probably all of you–have never heard of Anita Valle. She’s a very small, independent author who writes rich, expressive novellas. I had the favor of reading her book, Maelyn of The Nine Princess Novellas, and falling absolutely in love with the idea, characters, and writing. She’s now about to release the fourth book in this series, and I’m thrilled. Personally, this author has impacted me in a way that none of the other authors have because she’s an indie author. I have actually been able to communicate with her, and she has given me excellent advice that I’ve put to good use. When authors become large and commercial, their writing doesn’t necessarily change, but their interaction with their readers does. This author is still small enough to reach her readers and fellow writers in a way that no one else can. Though, I still wish her the success that the others on my list have enjoyed.

 

These are some of my favorite authors, who have influenced me in their various, inspirational ways. I’m glad I found them. And I hope, someday, that a young writer will be able to say that they’re glad they found me.

Regrets

There is something about knowing you did your best that is freeing. Regrets usually like to pop up and nag you, remind you that you could have done better.

I traveled to Tennessee for a Robotics competition this past week. It was our last competition, and we were determined to win. It was a little awkward, being so far out-of-state, but most of the staff were very friendly.

Long story short, we didn’t win. Our competition season is over now.

Yet, our finish filled me with so much pride, I nearly burst.

So many obstacles stood in our way, and there we were. Facing off the first and second ranked robots. A giant stood in front of us, and I knew I had to try and bring it down.

We didn’t bring it down. But we hindered it so much that its lowest play-off score was when it faced against us.

Did we lose? Maybe everyone else says we did. I say, we won. We did our best. My voice was heard. We went down fighting, and I am very, very happy.

There is nothing to regret.