year in review: 2016.

{this post is finally done.  i feel like it’s taken me forever to write it, and it’ll take you almost as long to read it.  so i’m sorry, and if you read the whole thing… bless you.}

Can we agree that 2016 was just an all-around bad year?  I mean this for the world in general.  So many deaths and shootings – not to mention the atrocity that was the US presidential election.

{Side Tangent: In a previous draft, I said something about Carrie Fisher being okay.  Well, that’s not true anymore (for Debbie Reynolds, either) and I don’t know how to process that.  I’ve thought about it a lot and I think the reason there have been so many celebrity deaths this year is because God’s reminding us that our time here is so limited.  When we were young, we felt so infinite.  The days were long and death seemed so far away.  But that’s not true.  I’m not going to remind you to spend your time wisely because I know you’ve heard it before.  So just… cherish it.  And know that we’re all a little less infinite than we think we are.}

My personal year wasn’t quite as bad, and I think it ends up fitting with my year-long prayer, taken from this song:

“God, it has been quite a year-
I’ve lived a little bit and I’ve died a little more.
I know that I’ve asked it before,
But please let the scale tip here in my favor.”

I think it has.  This year has been full of disappointments and things that stress me out (pretty sure I had a full-on anxiety attack back in July and let. me. tell. you – that was not fun).  Even so, this year has been full of really good firsts – first crush I’ve told people about, first trip to Universal (and two trips to Disney whattheevenheck), first girls-only trip…  It’s been good.  Though I’ve had my fair share of bad things, I know I’m better for it.  While I wish some things hadn’t happened, I’m glad they shaped me into the person I am today.

Regardless of how terrible the year has been, at least we made it this far, right?

As always, this yearly review is mostly just for me to look back on throughout the year, and you can read the whole thing or just skim it.  (And, if you’re interested, here are the links to the other years I’ve done: 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015.)

January

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my siblings and i // first day at disney

February

  • Studied a heck ton, nannied a heck ton
  • Younger siblings went to a retreat, so I had a special time with my older sister and my parents, watching movies that they’re not allowed to watch yet and talking about Stuff.
  • Hosted a single-girls Valentine’s Day party (where we ate cookies and watched Julie & Julia) and chaperoned (from afar) as my sister got roses from a guy.
  • Discovered About Time – aka one of my favorite movies ever.
  • Went to Disney World for the first time in 15 years with the fam
  • Met the Taylors
  • Studied: American Lit CLEP (1/16-2/16) // Principles of Marketing CLEP (2/16-3/16) // BYU’s Writing for Children and Adolescents (2/16-6/16)
  • Read: More Happy Than NotThe Help, and Me Before You
  • Favorite Blog Posts: my thoughts during a Starbucks study session and my unplanned Valentine’s Day series – twelve ships I ship, a mushy snippet from my novel, and my thoughts on love

March

  • Again, studied and nannied a heck ton
  • Bought Jordan Taylor’s album (because I felt more connected after meeting him, duh)
  • Rediscovered Sherlock (long story)
  • Freaked out about all of the Mother’s Day posts on Instagram, only to discover that it was just Mother’s Day in the UK.  (However, since I was out of the house, I bought flowers and surprised my mom with them.  I’ll definitely be doing that again this year.)
  • BECAME A SENIOR
  • Ups and downs with my sleeping habits (definitely something I’m going to fix next year)
  • Discovered Downton Abbey and Mission Impossible
  • Watched the livestream of Daddy Long Legs, one of my favorite musicals
  • Uploaded first video to YouTube (you’ll have to hunt it down bc I’m not leaving the link here LOL)
  • In charge while Mom & Dad went to a marriage conference for a week (during which I watched too much Downton Abbey and stayed up too late)
  • Studied: Principles of Marketing CLEP (2/16-3/16) // BYU’s Writing for Children and Adolescents (2/16-6/16)
  • Read: The Boxcar ChildrenFar from the Madding Crowd, Frindle, A Thief in the Theater, Red Rising, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikryand The Bronte Plot
  • Favorite Blog Posts: my big post about my thoughts on Harry Potter, my “flatmates” story, my thoughts about romanticizing the past, and my 5-years-in-the-making blog post, “movies i don’t like.

April

  • Watched the High School Musical movies with a friend
  • Went to the first wedding of the year (and first since 2014, I think)
  • Started watching more movies by myself (bc I’m tired of waiting on my siblings and bc I have a brother whose opinion we have to consider) (movies include 17 Again, 13 Going On 30, and Napoleon Dynamite)
  • Literally have a note in my journal that says “2pm-3pm – Question Everything.”  Basically, yeah.
  • Discovered The Great British Baking Show.  HECK YES.
  • Had coffee with a friend and talked about her recent engagement, told her I didn’t have any guys in my life and wasn’t going to be interested in any until I graduated, Discovered A Guy that night (again, long story)
  • Officially met one of my new best friends
  • Studied: BYU’s Writing for Children and Adolescents (2/16-6/16)
  • Read: Roomies, All the Bright Places, After Youand Golden Son
  • Favorite Blog Posts: my uber- nostalgic “favorite childhood movies” post, the snippet from my novel, The Boy and the Theatre Girl, and my ranty defense of CollegePlus students
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me & the twins

May

  • Submersed myself in blog posts about singleness and contentment due to aforementioned guy
  • Changed DSST after studying for a month (a first and a last)
  • Texted aforementioned best friend’s younger sister (with whom I’ll become good friends but won’t meet ’til September)
  • Learned how to cheat the system with college coursework – aka befriend the prof and say yes when she lets you submit part of your novel instead of several different assignments.  FISTPUMP.
  • Started a tough time with one of my best friends (drama goes down)
  • Dad’s intern arrived for the summer
  • Started officially going to a church
  • Discovered Friends and Taylor Swift (entire discography instead of just the ones on the radio)
  • Made a summer bucket list for the first time
  • Enrolled in Thomas Edison State University
  • Studied: BYU’s Writing for Children and Adolescents (2/16-6/16) // BYU’s Creative Writing (5/16-7/16)
  • Read: Golden Son, The Raven Boys, and The Rest of Us Just Live Here (which I loved enough to review on my blog as well)
  • Favorite Blog Posts: my reasoning behind taking off my purity ring (which got so much more feedback than I ever expected ohmygosh), my review of the gloriousness that was Captain America: Civil War, and my addition to the flame war behind that random dude’s “open letter to Rey” (which by the way, lemme say again, ugh)

June

  • Younger sister graduated from high school and we have a pretty awesome dance party
  • Taught myself how to play ukulele
  • Started going to Starbucks with my sister during the second hour of church (since there isn’t a Sunday morning class for college/career young adults)
  • Discovered Waitress during the Tony Awards (Hamilton won the other 11!)
  • Surprised with a weekend visit from one of my best childhood friends
  • Gave in to the stereotypes and got a Snapchat
  • Broke ground on our new house
  • Drove back and forth with my sister instead of staying at our grandparents’ for a whole week like we usually do (a first)
  • Had two entire days to myself, in which I did school, watched movies, cooked lunch for myself, and blasted Imagine Dragons
  • GOT A FRIKKIN LETTER FROM LIN MANUEL MIRANDA
  • Studied: BYU’s Writing for Children and Adolescents (2/16-6/16) // BYU’s Creative Writing (5/16-7/16) // Marriage and the Family TCEP (6/16-7/16)
  • Read: The Rosie Project, Extraordinary, and The Rosie Effect
  • Favorite Blog Posts: fangirling about tøp after being a fan for a year and a short story I wrote for school (“my best friend’s brother”)
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our awesome car on the way back from WIT

July

  • Studied and wrote like crazy
  • WITAlive again, this time without my older sister and with a car of friends (and I was a co-leader at a table this year!)
  • Wrote some poetry for the first time (including a sonnet based on Gilmore Girls)
  • Watched my “little” brother star in The Pied Piper of Hamlin at a local theatre
  • Had a movie date with a friend every two weeks or so (during the entire summer)
  • Witnessed the beginning of my sister’s relationship with my dad’s intern
  • Finally started accepting and actually loving my body, even its flaws… and it wasn’t until then that I started losing weight
  • Forgot to journal for two weeks, so I completely don’t know what happened except I know a lot of studying was done and a lot of books were read.
  • Studied: BYU’s Creative Writing (5/16-7/16) // Marriage and the Family TCEP (6/16-7/16) // BYU’s Writing in the Social Sciences (7/16-9/16) // BYU’s The American Novel (7/16-9/16)
  • Read: Salt to the Sea, The Vintage Book of Contemporary Poetry, The Art of the Personal Essay, Imaginative Writing, The Marriage and Family Experience, If You Find This Letter (which became my favorite non-fic book by the fifth page and I literally bought four copies to give to friends for Christmas – seriously, READ. IT.), and Everything, Everything
  • Favorite Blog Posts: another post about love & waiting & purity & stuff, my first post on writing advice (“what do do when {you think} your writing sucks”), and another snippet from The Boy and the Theatre Girl

August

  • Dad caved and finally got Netflix for us – YESSSSS
  • Started reading classics for my lit course and developed a deeper appreciation for classics
  • Went book shopping one Saturday with my sister (to two bookstores) and then had a fries taste-test – a day that will be remembered with fondness in both our hearts
  • Took my “little” bro to his first co-op and greatly enjoyed getting stuff done so early in the day (although I didn’t enjoy getting up so early)
  • Hosted a surprise sleepover for my friend (my first sleepover since I was six)
  • Started meeting new friends at our new church
  • Figured out the situation that caused the anxiety attack back in July (something I highly recommend – figure stuff out, guys; save yourself the stress; even if you do. not. want. to, it’ll be so much better in the long run, I promise)
  • Repaired more friendships – YAY
  • Had some bro time with my “little” brother while our sisters went to a camp for a week (we watched movies without them #oops)
  • The Furies happened (and we continue to talk about feminism and movies and relationships and generally just kick butt in all areas of life and I’m so happy to have such a close-knit friend group like this)
  • Blew through so many classics in such a short period of time – such a good feeling
  • Volunteered to play in an orchestra concert… the day before
  • Shared my testimony for the first time in a class at church
  • Studied: BYU’s Writing in the Social Sciences (7/16-9/16) // BYU’s The American Novel (7/16-9/16)
  • Read: The Coquette, Hope Leslie, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Scarlet Letter, Benito Cereno, The Outsiders, Life in the Iron-Mills, The Problem With Forever, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Washington Square (DANG THAT’S A LOT OF BOOKS)
  • Favorite Blog Posts: fangirling about Stanley Tucci, a peek into my life, and some rambling thoughts about Friends and the validity of your opinion.

September

  • Started the month out with my car breaking down.  Yay.
  • Nannied three days in a row – including a 9am-11pm day (which was my favorite day of the three because I took the kids to see Pete’s Dragon with my sister and then put them to bed early and watched movies ’til their parents got back)
  • Started watching Stranger Things with my sister… at 11pm at night… all by ourselves…  (protip: not a good idea)  (still, we finished the show within a week)
  • Hosted some friends for a weekend and had an absolute BLAST
  • Saw a friend star in You Can’t Take It With You
  • Went shopping with some girlfriends and actually bought something.  And not just anything.  A DRESS.  I DON’T EVEN KNOW.
  • Got baptized : )
  • Started practicing music with friends for two weddings (and started calling ourselves The Last Page)
  • Introduced some friends to Lord of the Rings (which they loved, obviously)
  • Cut my hair super dang short (and loved it)
  • GOT A NEW PHONE HECK YES
  • Stopped journaling (haha whoops)
  • Studied: BYU’s Writing in the Social Sciences (7/16-9/16) // BYU’s The American Novel (7/16-9/16) // Marketing Communications TCEP (9/16)
  • Read: Ethan Frome, My Ántonia, Marketing Communications, Absalom Absalom, Pale Fire, and Writing in the Social Sciences.
  • Favorite Blog Posts: blogged the results of my summer bucket list, talked about bad boyz (even though my opinion on Jess Mariano has changed so much because he turned out to be the best guy for Rory), continued to ramble about love & feelings & stuff, and rambled about life in general (which y’all liked so I started doing it more)
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failing at a jumping pic with ‘the last page’

October

  • Started a course on theatre which is just *heart eyes emoji*
  • Started planning my very first girls-only trip with The Furies
  • Gilmore-bounded with my frens (which is honestly still one of my favorite events of the entire year)
  • Introduced my other siblings to Stranger Things
  • Lost enough weight to fit loosely into a dress that didn’t fit me a month before *sunglasses emoji*
  • Played in two weddings with The Last Page (twas lit)
  • Had an impromptu brunch with people who came in for aforementioned wedding and hosted almost twenty-five people
  • Deepened friendships and fell in love with people in general
  • Started planning a watch party with friends for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (obviously including soda and Chinese food and poptarts and all kinds of junk food)
  • Scott Gordon Patterson (Luke from Gilmore Girls) liked our Gilmore-bound picture (!)
  • Did Halloween for the first time in over a decade (thank you, younger adopted siblings)
  • Again, studied and read like crazy
  • Studied: BYU’s Intro to the Theatre (10/16-12/16) // BYU’s Playwriting (10/16-12/16)
  • Read: Writing in the Social Sciences, The Strangeness of Beauty, and Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour
  • Favorite Blog Posts: fangirled over Stranger Things, made a list of songs that make me happy, and rambled about life again

November

  • Studied like crazy – including writing three plays (!!!)
  • Talked to dozens upon dozens of people about the presidential election
  • Voted in the presidential election for the first time (but not my first time voting)
  • Read books on top of my car overlooking the mountains (heck yes I did)
  • Visited a friend at his college with my sisters and another friend and talked about hard stuff for over four hours (“It’s rough all over“)
  • Bashed around Charleston with mah girls
  • Visited a friend for a week, in which I stayed at their house and basically became a member of their family
  • Went to a movie theater and watched a recording of Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet
  • Went to Disney and Harry Potter World at Universal – and had an absolute blast
  • (Charleston, becoming a member of another family for a week, Hamlet, and Disney/Universal all happened in the same twelve days and it. was. magical)
  • Had the Gilmore Girls watch party with my frens
  • Studied: BYU’s Intro to the Theatre (10/16-12/16) // BYU’s Playwriting (10/16-12/16)
  • Read: The Cherry Orchard, Anything But Typicaland Hamlet.
  • Favorite Blog Posts: expressed my thoughts about the election, converted a play I wrote into a short story (and y’all loved it, which just makes my year), and offended some people after writing about courtship (lolz whoops)

December

  • Finished my schoolwork the day before my birthday – HUZZAH, AN ACTUAL CHRISTMAS BREAK FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THREE YEARS!!!
  • Turned 22
  • Watched Return of the King with friends for my birthday
  • Basically just chilled for the entire month.  Read a lot of books, watched a lot of movies and TV shows, but mainly just lived.  I made cookies and brownies with my baby siblings twice, and cleaned the kitchen and my room a lot.  It was really fun to just relax and live life without the pressure of schoolwork looming over my head.
  • Went to a young adults Christmas party at our new church and had such a great time
  • Realized that my blog turned seven – w h o a
  • Celebrated Christmas four times – with each of my parents’ families, my family, and an extended family Christmas (and had my sister’s boyfriend do Christmas with us, so that was An Experience)
  • Went to my grandparents’ house for an extended weekend before New Years and partied hard with my cousins and aunt & uncle (who talked with my siblings and I about stuff for hours upon hours, which was a blessing)
  • Rang in the new year with friends and a headache
  • Studied: BYU’s Intro to the Theatre (10/16-12/16) // BYU’s Playwriting (10/16-12/16)
  • Read: The Bad Beginning (Series of Unfortunate Events #1), If You Find This Letter (re-read bc I bought four copies for friends and wrote in them like my friend did for me), and Crosstalk
  • Favorite Blog Posts: hosted a Christmas movie marathon because I love movies and posted some Stucky fanfiction (part one / part two) that I wrote a few years ago

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    le fam (+ sister’s boyfriend) at church on christmas day


Whew.

Honestly, it always blows my mind whenever I write these posts and look back at all of the amazing things I did.  (And hOW DANG LONG IT TAKES ME OH MY GOSH.  This one took me several sittings over several days – and I know I didn’t over everything.)

Anyway, I’m always so blown away with what I’ve been able to do in a year.  Even though the year was ridiculously crazy at times, I wouldn’t trade any of the craziness for the world.  Even though the year was rough, it still had some amazing experiences for me.  I invested in friendships more than I ever have before (including at three people who are 5-8 years younger than me), I’ve learned more about relationships (the good and the bad), and I’ve learned to be authentic, to be honest, to give second chances, to know when to stop pouring myself into toxic relationships, to let go of grudges, and, obviously, I’ve learned how incredibly far I have to go.  I know I won’t ever get there, but it’s nice to look back on a year and know that I’m a better person than the selfish idiot who wrote last year’s Year in Review post.

2017 is going to be incredibly interesting and I can’t wait to see where God leads me!  My word of the year is “excelsior,” and I explained why on my Instagram, so I’ll just link to that and keep this from getting any longer!

Can’t wait to see where God has me at this time next year!

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continuing the tradition of taking pictures of myself in the bathroom mirror on new years day even tho i didn’t feel like putting on makeup or doing anything to my hair or fixing my christmas nails but i won’t apologize bc this is how i look kthxbye

twelve couples i’ll always be in love with.

First of all, Happy Valentine’s Day!

I thought for a good five minutes about what I wanted to write about today.  I usually do a post on contentment and singleness, but I think I’ve said all I need to on the subject.  (See those posts here, here, and here – all of which, I realize after re-reading all of them, bemoan the infamous Valentine’s Day Banquet of ’13 – LOL.  They’re actually pretty decent, too, so if you want to hear my thoughts on contentment, they’re worth a read.)

But today is not about being single.  Today is about relationships.  And if we’re not in relationships, we can at least obsess over those who are, right?

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Today, I’ve decided to write about book and movie couples that are in love and that I am in love with (because that’s way less depressing than dwelling on how single I am, lol).  (Just kidding; I’m actually totally content right now.  So yay.)

These aren’t couples who are just cute together (because I could write about cute fictional couples for dayzzz).  These are couples who have stuck together through thick and thin and love each other despite the trials they go through.  They fight for their relationship and defy the odds.  They may not have fallen in love at first sight, but their relationship lasted because of the circumstances that brought them together and kept them together.

In no particular order (cuz you guys should know by now that I hate picking favorites), here are the twelve fictional couples that have basically defined all of my relationship goals.

Honorable Mentions:
Lulu and Liam {The Little Women Letters}
Mac and Rose {Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom}
Flynn and Rapunzel {Tangled}
Cath and Levi {Fangirl}
Katniss and Peeta {The Hunger Games Trilogy}
Kathleen and Joe {You’ve Got Mail}
Alexander and Eliza {Hamilton and also a real-life couple}
Roy and Dale {the Roy Rogers movies and also a real-life couple}

(And Clintasha would be right at the top but Joss woN’T STOP BLOWING HOLES IN MY SHIPS.  GAH.  *Hulks out*)

Shirtbert {Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe} | Anne of Green Gables

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These two.  GOSH, these two.  Ever since they first met in Anne of Green Gables, I knew they’d fall in love.  Except Anne was so blind to how much Gil loved her (and she was so deluded about what love really is) that it didn’t happen for a while.  *shakes head*  Silly Anne.  I mean, the guy gave up his position at a school for her!  He also saved her in a boat and NUMEROUS other amazing things.  Together, they make such a great couple.

“Anne, you have tricked something out of that imagination of yours that you call romance. Have you forgotten how he gave up the Avonlea school for you so that you could stay here with me? He picked you up everyday in his carriage so that you could study your courses together. Don’t toss it away for some ridiculous ideal that doesn’t exist.”

Copanga {Cory Matthews and Topanga Lawrence} | Boy Meets World

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OKAY.  I’ve been a huge fan of Boy Meets World for about two and a half years now (although it seems like longer) and their relationship is just so. many. goals.  They were friends for years and years before they got into an official relationship in the second season.  Their relationship withstood high school, the first two years of college, three break-ups (not including Topanga’s parents’ divorce).  Fourteen years later, in Girl Meets World, they’re still together and just as much in love as they were when they first started dating.

“Over half of all marriages fail.  It’s even worse for people our age.”
“Every statistic that you throw at me is going to be about other people.  I don’t care about other people – I care about you and me!  If every marriage failed except one, I’d guarantee that one would be ours.”

Laurie x Jo {Theodore Lawrence and Josephine March} | Little Women

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Okay, this is the only couple in this entire post who didn’t actually end up together.  (Jo and I may agree on everything else, okay, and I’m sorry, but I’ll ship this ’til the day I die.)  From the start, their friendship just screamed “ROMANCE!” and it seriously irked me that they didn’t end up together.  Because they totally should have.  They were so alike in so many ways, and they may have fought a lot, but what couple doesn’t?!  Ugh.  Anyway, I ship them like there’s no tomorrow.

“I have loved you since the moment I clapped eyes on you. What could be more reasonable than to marry you?”  (THAT’S WHAT I SAID.)

Knighthouse {Emma Woodhouse and George Knightley} | Emma

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Emma is my favorite Jane Austen story because the love interests shaped each other more than any other of her couples.  (Did Darcy have the influence on Lizzie that Knightley did on Emma?  NO.  I rest my case.)  I love stories that do this so. much.  Why is a person in your life romantically if not to mold you into someone better?  Food for thought.  If ever a couple was destined to be together, it was Emma and Knightley.  Even though he’s like seventeen years older than her.

“So, tell me, have I no chance of succeeding?  My dearest Emma, for that is what you always have been and you always will be, my most beloved Emma.  I cannot make speeches.  If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more, but you know what I am.  I have lectured you and scolded you and you have born it as no other woman would have.”

(I also desperately love Cher and Josh from Clueless, and their relationship is defined so well and I love them and baby Paul Rudd is just the sweetest little cinnamon roll.)

Julie x Eric // Julia x Paul {Julie and Eric Powell, and Julia and Paul Child} | Julie and Julia

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These two couples are new additions to my stock of Relationship Goals, but I knew they had been added the first time I watched Julie and Julia.  I love the distinction between the two relationships!  Julie and Eric are blissful newlyweds, and Julia and Paul have been married for several years but they’re even more in love than when they first got married.  When I first watched the movie, I told my sister, “Julie and Eric have what I want my newlywed married life to look like, and Julia and Paul have what I want my married-for-thirty-years married life to look like.”  #goals

“You are the butter to my bread and the breath to my life.”

Steggy {Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter} | Captain America: The First Avenger

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Er. mah. gursh.  This is definitely the most tragic couple in my entire list.  They loved each other so much and they didn’t end up together (not married, at least) and that just breaks my heart.  Peggy loved Steve just based on his character, before he was the insanely muscular dude he is halfway through the movie, and if that’s not true love, I don’t know what is.  As soon as Steve said his “I’m waiting for the right partner” line, I was hooked.  (And so was Peggy.)  If ever a couple deserved to be together, it’s Steve and Peggy.

“I’m gonna need a rain check on that dance.”
“All right. A week next Saturday.  At The Stork Club.”
“You’ve got it.”
“Eight o’clock on the dot. Don’t you dare be late. Understood?”
“You know, I still don’t know how to dance.”
“I’ll show you how. Just be there.”

Anastasia x Dimitri {Anastasia Romanova and Dimitri Sudayev} | Anastasia

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When Anastasia and Dimitri first meet, they’re both really just using each other to accomplish their personal goals.  It’s hate at first sight.  When Anastasia and Dimitri have their first angered exchange (“Do you really think I’m royalty?” “You know I do!” “THEN STOP BOSSING ME AROUND.”) and Anastasia sticks her tongue out at him, I’m always just like, “Ohhhh, you two are gonna have it so bad.”  And they do.  They’re always slightly at odds, but in an endearing way.  In the end, Dimitri sacrifices his ambition to find the lost Russian princess for Anastasia (who, spoiler, is the lost princess) and they end up eloping and it’s just beautiful.

“That, uh, that dress looks really good on you.”
“Do you think so?”
“Yeah. I mean, it looked nice on the hanger but it’s even better on you. Y-you, you should wear it!”
“I am wearing it!”
“Oh, oh yes, I was just, um, trying to give you a… a…”
“Compliment?”
“Yeah.”

Robin x Marian {Robin Hood and Lady Marian Fitzwalter} | Robin Hood (1932)

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I grew up with the 1932 version of Robin Hood (here’s the trailer if you haven’t seen it), and I’ve always loved the relationship that Robin and Marian have.  There’s just something about a classic tale of the love between a knight and his lady that I fall for every time. She’s hesitant at first, and he’s madly in love at first sight.  He wins her love by being the dashing hero he is, and she falls for him.  (And then, in the original tale, he dies.  I like this version better – they ride off into the sunset and it’s wonderful.)  It’s just a classic tale of love and I love it muchly.

“Tell me: when you are in love, is it hard to think of anybody but one person?”
“Yes, indeed, m’lady, and sometimes it’s a bit of trouble sleeping.”
“I know! But it’s a nice kind of not sleeping!”
“Yes. And it affects your appetite, too. Not that I’ve noticed it’s done that to you, ‘cept when he was in the dungeon waiting to be hanged.”
“And does it make you want to be with him all the time?”
“Yes. And when he’s with you, your legs are as weak as water. Now, tell me, m’lady: when he looks at you, do you feel a kind of pricky feeling, like goosey pimples running all up and down your spine?”
{Marian blushes}
“Then there’s not a doubt of it!”
“A doubt of what?”
{Robin swings in through the window where he was eavesdropping} “That you’re in love!”

George x Mary {George Bailey and Mary Hatch} | It’s a Wonderful Life

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I’ve been in love with George and Mary ever since I watched It’s a Wonderful Life for the first time (which was so many years ago that I can’t even remember when it was).  We watch the movie every Christmas Eve and I’ve always loved watching George and Mary’s relationship start to build from their childhood to thirty years (and four kids) later.  They’re still so in love and love each other so much despite all of the hardships they go through.  Their trials bring them closer together and idk but that’s what I want more than anything else.  #actualrelationshipgoals

“What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.”
“I’ll take it. Then what?”
“Well, then you can swallow it, and it’ll all dissolve, see… and the moonbeams would shoot out of your fingers and your toes and the ends of your hair… am I talking too much?”

Percy x Marguerite {Sir Percival Blakeney and Marguerite St. Just} | The Scarlet Pimpernel

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M’KAY.  The first time I read The Scarlet Pimpernel (and then binge-read most of the other Scarlet Pimpernel books), I knew I’d ship Percy and Marguerite ’til my dying days.  And, honestly, their relationship is one of the most brutal that I’ve ever seen.  Marguerite loves him even when he thinks she betrayed the St. Cyrs.  And then (in the book, at least) he risked his life to save her (just like he does for others *sheds a single tear*), and it always makes me cry so many happy tears.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Sir Percy.”
“This beholder is enchanted.  If I were to tell you that I adore you, would you have me do so stintingly?”
Adore me?”
“Or would you have me declare it as I feel it?  With all my heart?”
“But you can’t be serious – you know nothing about me!”
“Exactly so.  Which is why I yearn to know everything.  You must tell me all about yourself, in every detail, but oh so slowly, so very slowly, so that it takes a very, very long time.”
“I don’t know whether you’re mad or…”
“Desperately in love?  ‘Tis all the same.”

Remadora {Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks} | Harry Potter

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This one’s a new one, too, but it’s impacted me just as much as the others.  When we first meet Remus Lupin, he feels worthless and unlovable.  Tonks thinks otherwise, and loves him despite what he is.  He protests, but she loves him even more.  Remus and Tonks’ love taught me that there will always be someone to love you, despite the circumstances and despite everything you think that’s wrong with you.  *cries many tears*

“You see!” said a strained voice. Tonks was glaring at Lupin. “She still wants to marry him, even though he’s been bitten! She doesn’t care!”
“It’s different,” said Lupin, barely moving his lips and looking suddenly tense. “Bill will not be a full werewolf. The cases are completely-”
“But I don’t care either, I don’t care!” said Tonks, seizing the front of Lupin’s robes and shaking them. “I’ve told you a million times….”
And the meaning of Tonk’s Patronus and her mouse-colored hair, and the reason she had come running to find Dumbledore when she had heard a rumor someone had been attacked by Greyback, all suddenly became clear to Harry; it had not been Sirius that Tonks had fallen in love with after all.

Finally, to all of the above couples, here are some wise words of advice from Josh Dun.

year in review: 2014

Wow.  When I think back on all of the things God has done in my life in 2014, I can only say one thing about this past year: WOW.

It’s been so crazy.  Absolutely insane.  I’ve done more this year than I have in my entire life.  I’ve had more opportunities, more blessings, more trials, and more responsibilities this year than ever before.  I know I’ve been changed for the better and for good because of what’s happened.

~January~
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  • My older sister, “Arwen,” left before the New Year to help a mother of four who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, leaving me as the oldest at home.  She would be gone through June.  (The mother is doing much better, praise God!)
  • A good friend of the family passed away suddenly right after New Year’s Day, leaving behind eight children.  Prayers for their family would be appreciated, as the one-year anniversary is coming up.
  • A calendar event at 11am on January 1st simply says “Discovered coffee.”  This is probably more accurate than I’d like to admit.  🙂
  • Started working with my second CollegePlus coach after my first coach started maternity leave.
  • Started covering for Arwen with her two-day-a-week nannying job.  Promptly fell in love with the kids.  (The first day I picked them up was that big ice storm down here that you might have heard about.  You know, the one where all the Northerners laughed at all the Southerners for freaking out?  Yeah.  I’d like to see all of THEM try to drive on icy roads – that can’t really be fixed because we only have five ice trucks for the entire STATE – with two scared toddlers in the backseat.  My car spun out, but I saved it from crashing and killing the three of us.  It was insane.)

~February~
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  • Left for a week-long trip to Kentucky and Ohio.  Visited the Creation Museum again and stayed in Maysville, where Rosemary Clooney was born and raised.  My siblings and I still frequently reference all of the crazy things that happened during that trip, one of the better stories being that I finally got them addicted to Boy Meets World.  We watched an entire season in less than a week.  (We also got to watch a lot of the Sochi Olympics, and I really enjoyed seeing Meryl and Charlie compete!)
  • Struggled through my least favorite CLEP so far – Western Civ I – and finally finished it after two months of study.  *facepalm*  I took a week off after I passed it with flying colors (how that even worked out is still a mystery to me – I failed SEVEN practice tests and rescheduled it five times).

~March~

  • Started with my third CollegePlus coach (in less than a year).  Still working with her and love her to bits and pieces!
  • JellyBean’s first birthday and first Gotcha Day party!

~April~
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  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out.  Feels ran rampant.
  • Nailed down my degree choice – Humanities with an emphasis on English and writing courses.
  • Started the first Leadership Course with Dr. Jeff Myers.  LOVED it.
  • Arwen came to visit.  We went to a wedding (my dad’s first that he officiated) and saw The Lion King.

~May~
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  • Although still pretty hectic, May became one of my more normal months.  No major things happened, and I focused on studying and editing Becoming Nikki.
  • Invited myself to ride with a friend and her family to Texas for the CPE3.  Plans are not laid down for several months, but I kept my fingers crossed ’til they are.
  • Started a new blog, feelsy feels, with Eva and Miss Jane.
  • Became a Sophomore in College.

~June~
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  • I and a few of my siblings volunteered for the children’s program at a homeschool conference, including being leaders of groups of children and participating in several skits.  Needless to say, we had a lot of fun.
  • Started the second Leadership Course.  Didn’t love it as much as the first one, but I still enjoyed it.
  • Failed my first CollegePlus test.  😦
  • Traveled to Texas with Mom to get Arwen.  I drove fourteen hours total, including one six-hour streak.  I started reading the Hunger Games trilogy (for the first time) the day we left and finished it in less than a week.  Again, feels ran rampant.

~July~
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  • Participated in NaNo for the third time, starting The Art of Letting Go based on an idea I got during the trip to Texas less than a week before.  Surprisingly, I still won.
  • My siblings and I went to Camp GrandmaHoney at our grandparents house with our cousins and, as usual, had a great time.  While we were there, I found out that the nannying job is mine for the keeping – YAY!

~August~

  • Started playing with the Reinhardt University Symphony Orchestra for the sixth year in a row.
  • Started talking to Morgan about helping me publish Nikki.
  • Hosted my first piano recital.  Both of my students played marvelously, and we had a night in while the parents went out for a double-date.
  • Discovered my hero, Louie Zamperini, after reading Unbroken for the first time.  I promptly started recommending it to everyone I know.

~September~
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  • Traveled to the beach with the family, have a blast for the first time in a long time.
  • Studied for and passed a test in five days.  🙂
  • THE CPE3 HAPPENS, WHICH WAS THE MOST AMAZING FIVE DAYS OF MY LIFE.
  • Found my best friend, who had been right under my nose for the past four years – I just didn’t know it because we never really talked.  All it took was a twelve-day cross-country trip.  Now we’re besties forevah.
  • Traveled for most of this month – home only eight days out of the entire month.  O_O

~October~

  • Started doing study dates with my BFF every Thursday before my nannying job.
  • Finished editing Nikki at three in the morning before my deadline, sent it off to Morgan, officially started the publishing process.  (!!!!!)
  • Passed the CollegePlus test I’d previously failed – WIN.

~November~
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  • Decided not to do NaNo in lieu of the fact that I knew I’d be swamped with publishing stuff.  (Boy, I was more right than I thought.)
  • Auditioned for a play, even though I didn’t get the part.  (Now I’ve got the acting bug.)
  • Played in my first wedding with Arwen.  It goes really well!

~December~

  • Attended a Hunter Hayes concert.  : ))))))))))
  • Graduated from being a teenager – YUSSSSSS.
  • Published my first novel, did my first blog tour, got my first paycheck related to my novel.  Things haven’t calmed down since.  🙂

So, yeah, my life has been pretty crazy over the past year.  So much happened in such a short amount of time!

IMG_4554Looking back, I still can’t believe all the things that have happened.  All the firsts, all the lasts, all of the memories and friends made…  It’s been a crazy ride.

My verse for the year was Joshua 1:7-9: “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

It’s been pretty amazing to see God work through this verse and make it so real to me in the craziness of the past year!  Yes, a ton of things have happened, but God has been so faithful and has given me strength and courage to do all of the amazing things I’ve been able to do this past year.  I’m so blessed!

Can’t wait for even more craziness in 2015!

i’m thankful for…

… my amazing family.

… the opportunity to play at my first wedding.

… the Georgia mountains in the Fall.

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Becoming Nikki‘s 2-week-away publication date.  (!!!!!!!!)

… books.

… the awesome kids that I babysit.

… John Green.

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… my friends.

… chocolate.

… the Lord, Who has helped me through so many things.

… Louis Zamperini.

Louis Zamperini

… the gift of music.

… fun play auditions.

… CollegePlus.

… Allen Russell “Phil” Phillips.

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{Phil was, in a sense, the bigger hero of ‘Unbroken’ because HE kept Louis going through their trial on the raft and HE prayed for Louis’ salvation and HE was a light to Louis, which culminated in Louis’s conversion and the 180-degree spin that happened in his life}

Boy Meets World (and Girl Meets World).

… Christmas trees.

… hedgehogs.

… and, finally, this little mess-maker.

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North Carolina Trip- Days One, Two, Three, and Four

As I write this, we’re driving down Highway 485. We just left our friend’s house, where we had an awesome time eating, talking, and playing ‘Settlers of Catan.’ It’s also my younger brother’s 11th birthday, so he got sung to at their house. (They stuck candles in a few pieces of sheet cake from the wedding. Creative, right?) Anyway, the reason I didn’t write every night was because I was way too busy to post anything at night- or any other time- as you’ll see in the following post.

Day One

This day went a lot like the first day of our trip to Florida about two weeks ago, except we were traveling north, not south. My younger brother and I babysat for the same Bible study kids and had a lot of fun. (By the way, never ever let two-year-olds eat those little pastry things filled with creme. Not a good idea!) About an hour after getting back from that, we were packed and ready to go. Dad and my younger brother had to get a haircut, so us girls- and my other little brother- went to Target. (See the similarities?) Actually, my little brother and I stayed in the car. I attempted to work on something I was writing while he took a nap, but I couldn’t concentrate. It was too hot! By the time we picked up my dad and younger brother at the hair-cutting place, it was about 3:30, and you know what time that is… rush hour time! It took us an hour and a half to get about thirty minutes into and back out of Atlanta. My younger brother and I watched a movie in the car, sharing headphones. It was pretty awesome, and I remembered something about the movie I’d forgotten. My name was listed in the orchestra that preformed the music- same spelling and everything! Not only was I in the violin section, but the firsts! (Well, I’m not that good, but I’ll be in the firsts if you really want me to!) That was really cool. So we didn’t actually get to our friend’s house until about 10:30 that night. When we got there, this awaited us.

Pretty cool, huh? My younger brother was so excited! After we partied for a little bit, we watched Jullian Smith videos on YouTube, then clips from Apostles of Comedy. Then, we played Dumkoph, which was a lot of fun, especially since I hadn’t played it in forever. At about midnight, our parents said we had to go to bed. Uh, that didn’t actually mean we had to sleep, did it? Good, ’cause my friend and I needed to catch up. We talked about anything and everything that popped into our heads! My two sisters fell asleep long before we did, which was funny. Wanna guess just how late we stayed up? 3:45 am! No kidding! It was probably one of my favorite parts of the entire weekend. (Later, my friend and I referred to it as out ‘Deep, Theological Discussion.’ It sort of was… but not really.)

Day Two

My friend and I slept in, which means we were downstairs eating breakfast by 8:30. TeenPact really messed me up! I can’t sleep in any more! (Seriously, can’t I get up on time on a school day when I’m supposed to be up around that time?!) Anyway, we had French toast that my friend’s mom made with bread that I’d made the previous Monday. I didn’t have any, but I’ve been told it was good. After that, we walked around outside by their creek and played Follow the Judge to Court. After that, we played Pit, which I’d never played before. Sadly, only about forty-five minutes after that, we were out of their house and off to our friend’s house. (It was their daughter/sister/niece/granddaughter that got married.) We had a blast!! We ate a little bit (at The Immature Table!), but that was all the sit-down time we wanted. What we were really there for was to play a practical joke on the groom.

Awesome, right? It was upside-down, so we had to fix it. But then the groom made us un-fix it. (Like, literally, made someone.) Anyway, after that, we went outside and took random pictures of leaves and flowers near The Fort (did we ever actually name it?), then Arwen gave the bride and groom a gift- matching pajamas! The bride got to try hers on and we all agreed the nightgown looked really cute on her! After parting, we visited our old house to check on our renters there. It was my first time meeting them and they all seemed really nice! They really liked the house, neighborhood, community, and their church, so that was good! We visited another family that lives in that neighborhood and it was good to see them again. We then picked up a pizza and took it to our hotel. It was yummy! Then, we watched a movie that I’d never seen before- Megamind. It was so funny! Sure, there was a little bit of the typical Dreamworks potty humor that wasn’t even funny and a small bit of language, but, overall, it was a good movie. We went to sleep probably a little past midnight and had a great night of sleep, which was good, because we were going to have a big day the next day… Wedding Day!!

Day Three

We got up at about 8:30 again (well, technically, I got up at about nine), took showers, threw on our clothes, fixed up some makeup (ew), and were on our way with some friends to the reception place by about 10:45. It took us a good hour and a half to set up everything the bride wanted there, but it was worth it!


The Candy Bar- YUM!!

The Beautiful Bride!

I remembered why I didn’t like high-heels at the set-up for the reception… Ouch! They were like that for most of the reception and banquet- not on my feet. : )

After finishing up there, we walked across the street to where the actual wedding was going to take place. See, the best thing about weddings is the fact that all of the out-of-town people get to see all of their friends that still lived in town. That was awesome! I got to see so many people that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to see.

Then there was the wedding. I have to say, it was probably the funnest wedding I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a lot. The bride just could not stand still! The groom wasn’t quite as bad, but almost. We all laughed several times throughout the ceremony. The music was so gorgeous! The bride was a cellist, so she had about five other cellos and a piano play all of her music. I’m not a cello fan (probably because Arwen plays), but let me tell you what… it was so pretty, I think I’m going to have a half a dozen cellos play at my wedding!

The Happy Couple

Fast-forward a few minutes later to the reception. The bride came up with the wonderful idea of having a Candy Bar, which was a huge hit! But guess who got to serve? Me, Arwen, and my younger sister! That’s right. It was a ton of fun, but my back was so sore by the time about eighty kids (and a few adults!) went through, I could hardly walk around at the actual reception! I did manage to take a few pictures, though. Have a look!


After the bride and groom left, most everyone followed suit. But not us! We had to tear down and set back up at the banquet place! It was actually better this time, because tearing down is easier than setting up and the people at the place where the banquet was at did most of the work. (Yes!) A few friends and I got to mess around a little bit, too.

Since everything was mostly set up at the banquet place, we mainly just goofed off and stood around, waiting for people to get to the banquet. After everyone got there, we mainly just had fun. There are way too many stories to tell them all, though, so I’ll just say that we had a blast. We ate, danced, goofed off some more, and lit up sparklers for when the bride and groom left for the second time- not to return this time until after the Honeymoon. My family stayed afterwards for about an hour just talking to people, then we crashed at our hotel. The day had gone by so well (except for that few minutes after someone knocked over a picture of the bride- the glass shattered!), and we were all so happy for the bride and groom.

Day Four

(Wow, was that all really just a few days ago? And what I’m going to write was just this morning? Time flies by way too fast when you’re having fun!) So, this morning, we all packed up our stuff that had accumulated in our hotel room and drove down to Waxhaw to visit our church. It was so good seeing everyone again, because everyone knows that if you haven’t seen anyone in a while, you can just talk to them for forever. The sermon was really good and the time of prayer we had afterwards was equally so. (Oh, how I missed it!) After church, we stood around and talked to people. It was fun, because they hadn’t seen my little brother in a few months, and he’s really sprouted up. He can say quite a few words now, and is very particular about who he wants to hold him! He wouldn’t let me take him away from someone until I told him who we were visiting next- the same person we’d seen all weekend. Then, after a few sad goodbyes, we drove a little bit down the road to the bride’s family’s house. We ate more food, played ‘Settlers of Catan,’ and just talked and caught up. It was a lot of fun!

All in all, the weekend was a huge success and a lot of fun for everyone. Here are a few random pictures that didn’t fit anywhere else.

Ah, yes…. While we were all eating at our crazy table, a friend and I started feeling bad about the groom’s licence plate still being upside-down. My younger brother (somehow) located a screwdriver, and we fixed it. We all feel better now.


Our crazy table at the banquet (minus one, because he was leaning back too far)

Okay, so after the bride and groom left, I glanced around, and this is what I saw…

I was like, Kodak moment!!


Concentrating on the game Friday morning…

Oh… I said it could go On The Blog, so here it is, my friend! : )

We are Settlers of Catan!

Until my next random post…

~Eowyn~