A Month in Review: Resolution Recap

Hey, y’all. I can’t believe it’s the end of January all ready! Well, actually I can, hence I’m writing this blog post. Ha ha…that wasn’t funny, I’m sorry.

 

So, I KNOW this post will be extremely dull, especially if you haven’t read the first one, but, unfortunately, that cannot be helped, as my new-year-new-beginnings crazy self all ready told you I would do this. So here I am.

 

This month has been PACKED. As the bells toiled 12 in the AM of January first, I was surrounded by my family and church family. I bought a Fit-Bit on the second. I got back at my school work on the fourth (ugh!). This year my church started something special called Winter Warm-Up. Every Wednesday night a guest speaker preaches. I’ve enjoyed that. During the early weeks of January I survived my semester exams with pretty good grades–I think the lowest grade I got was a 90%. Not too shabby. Then, a few weeks in, I caught a cough. It didn’t start as much, but now, as I sit here typing this almost three weeks later, I have a headache. My chest is congested and my sinuses feel absolutely nasty. If I don’t drink enough water my throat is raw. As you can imagine, fighting a cold-cough combination has taken a lot out of me, so I didn’t get as much done as I would’ve liked. Anyway. On to the recap.

  • On drinking more water and no soda–Ok. I gave up soda completely on the second, but then I accidentally cheated and had a ginger ale (I didn’t know it was soda!) on the third. Then, I, with renewed vigor, tried until my friend Emmy had a going away party for college. I had two cups, maybe, of Dr. Pepper and Pepsi then. Then, when I got sick, I drank a two liter of Sprite over the course of several days, and I’m going to be on a hiatus until March 1st. Hopefully. I’m not one for extensive self control when it comes to my taste buds, as you can tell.
  • On my spiritual walk–Even though I have missed and am making up a couple of days of devotions, I really do feel like I’ve grown in the past month. I haven’t prayed as much as I’d like, either, but I feel closer to God.
  • On saving more $$$$—I have $75 dollars that I scraped together in January to put in my savings account, and only twenty of it came from Christmas. I can only think of about half a dozen things I bought in January–one of them being a FitBit (yay I can check that off my list!)–so I feel like I’ve done pretty good in this category.
  • On toning up–HAHAHAHAHA. I did well for about the first week of January. I exercised and had great intentions. But then I fell behind on my fitness challenges…and thought “eh, let’s do it next month.” In my defense, I did do quite a bit of walking at the beginning of the year and did simple exercises such as push-ups and squats for a couple of weeks. And then I kinda slacked off and then got sick and…nope, didn’t happen.
  • On running–I ran at the beginning of the month and then coughing and running at the same time didn’t seem like an extreme sport I was willing to try.
  • On organization–Actually, I’ve done surprisingly well in this category. I re-organized my bookshelves and most of my closet and fixed most of my room when it was in disarray. It’s a little bit messy now as I haven’t had ANY energy for the past week or two, but ya know. It was a good start.
  • On scheduling–I’ve been doing really well with this and have been using my planner. Go me.
  • On reading–So far this month, I’ve read a total of SEVEN novels and am half-way through a Jack London biography.
  • On music–Well, I passed three of my songs last week at my piano lesson. I guess that’s kind of self explanatory.
  • Write more–I’ve written roughly 5000 words this month, which isn’t a ton, but it’s about where my goal was. I feel like I’ve gotten off to a good start.
  • On Left Behind–Haven’t read any more of this.
  • On blogging–Check my archives, peeps. I’ll let you be the judge.
  • On eating healthily–I ate well for the first part of the month, but for the past two to three weeks, I’ve eaten terribly. I know. I’m a terrible person who doesn’t meet my goals. Shame on mwah.

 

Overall, I’ve not done terribly, but I’ve not been too good, either. I’m blaming that on chest congestion. All its fault ;D

 

As always,

Abby

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Resolutions

I’m being a nerd and posting my “New Year’s Resolutions” on January 2nd instead of on January 1st. But, here you are. And, I don’t know if any of you watch Blimey Cow, but yesterday Jordan and Josh posted a video about more or less the ridiculousness of New Year’s resolutions. Thanks, guys. Really gave me encouragement to fulfill my goals. 😉

  • Drink more water–I’m a pop drinker through and through. I love Coke and Pepsi Wild Cherry and Dr. Pepper–you see my problem? Starting today, whenever I get a craving for soda, I’m going to drink something else instead of it, especially water, because, believe it or not, I hardly ever drink just plain water. No wonder I’m tired all the time.
  • Grow closer to God–This year I’m trying to read my Bible every single day without fail and spend some quality time with Him in prayer.
  • Save money & buy less–I have an allowance, I deliver papers weekly, and I walk a neighborhood dog and shovel the owner’s snow. This year, I’m buying a loft bed, a Fitbit, probably a gym membership, maybe some ice skates, and possibly a phone upgrade. And last year I spent a ton between a four-hundred dollar investment known as Spike, a trip to the Mall of America, and a shopping spree in Gulf Shores. And a word processor. Also, I’m apt to impulse buy small items that I don’t need and I really need to stop.
  • Tone up–I wouldn’t call myself very overweight but I’m definitely not slim and trim. This year, I don’t necessarily want to drop any pounds but just tone my muscles and get fit.
  • Run more–Running was a sport that I found out last spring I enjoyed, and it’s a great way to get and stay fit. This year I’m going to try to run as much as possible.
  • Get/stay organized–I hate clutter. I really do. But why is my nightstand covered with it? Especially since I’m moving into my cousin’s room in May, I’m going to try to be a more organized person. The problem is, I have too much stuff, so I guess you could say purging is part of this resolution.
  • Live a more scheduled life–I have a love/hate relationship with schedules., but I really need to schedule my time this year, between writing a novel, running a blog, reading voraciously, trying not to fail high school, and getting fit. I even bought a my first-ever serious planner.
  • Read more–This is kind of an odd goal for me, but I really do need to read more. I’ve hardly finished any books over the last several months, and I have dozens on my shelves waiting to be read for the first time and other at the library. This one is more of a get-off-Pinterest-and-read-a-book type thing than anything else.
  • Improve at music–I can hear Lizzie, my dork of a piano teacher, laughing in the distance. But, seriously, this year I would to practice more this year–again part of the scheduling thing–and really improve my skills and knowledge, especially concerning music theory.
  • Write more–This one is a no-brainer. I’m trying to write one thousand words a week on Though He Slay Me until my goal date, March 31, 2018. Currently I still have three hundred left over from last week along with this week’s thousand, so I’m going to really have to work at this. Nobody ever said writing was easy, did they?
  • Finish reading the Left Behind Series–I started reading the teen version in late 2015 and the adult version in early to mid 2016, which is when I finished the teen version. Last summer I started reading the traditional last book, Glorious Appearing, and never finished it. I also have to read the final sequel, Kingdom Come, and the prequel trilogy.
  • Post more on this blog–Last year I really failed at posting regularly on here, though I had good intentions. This, again, falls into scheduling. Besides my two posts a month already stated in my last post, I’m going to post at least two others a month, one of them being a book review.
  • Eat more healthily–I love unhealthy foods. French fries, ice cream, you name it. This year I want to do what’s best for my body and eat better. Salads and kale, here I come.

I”m going to really have to work at these, and I have a feeling it’s going to be a jam-packed year. Do you all have any big goals this year?

–Abby

2017 Recap

Hello, folks! I intended to post more this holiday season….maybe next year. 😀 Sigh. But, anywho, this will be my very last post this year. WHERE HAS 2017 GONE. Ridonculous, as my bestie would say.

 

In January, I welcomed in the new year with a bang! Just kidding. I was playing Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham and had actually sort-of intended to go to bed earlier but glanced at my phone and it was 12:01. I missed it. Oh well.

 

During the first few months of 2017, I started becoming a history buff, even more so than I had been before. Though I had my struggles in my math class and seldom enjoyed biology, the World History hour was the one I looked forward to.

 

NOTE: I am adding this ten hours later because, for some reason, I completely forgot to add that in March I went to Minnesota for the first time and went to the Mall of America with my family and aunt, uncle, and cousins!!! Truly my brain needs help.

 

In May, I started blogging! Sharing my thoughts and feelings with the internet has became a new enjoyment for me and I’m hoping to continue blogging as much as possible.

 

Also in May, two good friends of mine graduated high school. Sniff. I did cry at the graduation, if you’re wondering. I also left behind my freshman year–no more biology, yipee!

 

In June, my big sister turned 17! We spent her birthday in a AC-blasted car traveling through Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama for a week excursion on the white beaches of Gulf Shores. And then Tropical Storm Cindy hit and we stayed inside for four days out of seven. Twenty-two people in one house–it did go better than I expected, though.

 

In July, I watched an incredible airshow, turned 15, bought my first laptop, and went to my church’s annual Summer Jubilee. I also got hooked on Nancy Drew Mystery Games and shared a short story on this blog for the first time. And I started volunteering as a librarian.

 

In August, I posted my first devotional to speak of. I learned what God wants me to do with my life. And a good friend of mine, who, as afore mentioned, graduated in May, went away to college. SNIFF.

 

In September, I began my sophomore year of high school and watched An Affair to Remember for the first time. And I forced my bestie to watch The Princess Bride and a Star Trek movie. Needless to say, she liked them. AND—I started reading the Ascendance Trilogy! SO GOOD.

 

In the later fall months I took my first hunter’s ed course. We learned everything from how to cradle a gun to how to skin a rabbit. October came and went. I finished the Ascendance Trilogy. AND I ALMOST FORGOT MY COUSIN GOT ENGAGED. I’m a terrible person.  I went to an apple fest–and bought a $15 dollar antique book which I thought might be an original and wasn’t–and almost threw up after coming off one of the rides. Good times.

 

In November, I published an original poem on this blog for the first time. I also went to a pumpkin patch when it was approximately twenty-five degrees outside. On the bright side, there was a zipline. On the downside, I was wearing a skirt. We had a great Thanksgiving dinner, and I finished almost all of my Christmas shopping on ‘Black Friday.’

 

December came…and is still here, for today, at least. I played a song during one of my church’s services, which was the first time in about a year. I participated in my choir’s Christmas cantata. I gave and received many Christmas gifts and had a glorious holiday, complete with snow. And now I’m on Christmas break. YIPEEE.

 

Well, that about sums it up! Next year will be even busier, with my sister and cousin graduating, a different cousin (the one who got engaged in October) getting married, and myself moving into a different bedroom with a roomie for the first time in five years and hopefully starting a summer lawn care business and *DRUMROLL, PLEASE* FINISHING THE FIRST DRAFT OF MY NOVEL, THOUGH HE SLAY ME, IN MARCH! If I stick to my word goals, of course. YAY.

 

What has happened in y’all’s lives this year? Comment down below to let me now!

 

Have a blessed New Year!

 

–Abby

 

Though He Slay Me Ramblings: Part II

In my last post along these lines, I pretty much gave E.R. Burroughs full credit for the inspiration for my novel-in-progress. Then, not long after I posted that, it hit me that I also have another author whom I should probably be thanking. This post, as usual, has a little bit of backstory.

 

When I was young, I was a tomboy. Big-time. I still am, in many ways. But that’s besides the point. When I was about five, I fell in love with horses, and by six it was ranch life in general that fascinated me. I wanted to be a cowgirl. My room gradually shifted from being decorated with flower prints and dolls to leather skins and model horses. I was in deep. My sister, on the other hand, was my opposite. She loved pink and frills and Victorian style everything.

 

I had always loved reading and was in a constant state of looking for new books to read. I liked American Girl and The Boxcar Children but I never really found any good books with the shoot-’em-up cowboy action that I wanted. My sister was into Anne of Green Gables and was trying to convince me to read the series but I wasn’t buying. I thought it was dumb. (Don’t worry, I’ve changed my ways.) She was also reading a book with a big kid riding a horse on the cover? I thought it was dumb, too, some sort of Victorian romance rubbish. That is, until I read it.

 

The book was called Tucket’s Travels. She finally got me to pick up her battered copy and I was in love by the end of the first page. This book had it all. Rifles, little sisters, mountain men, Indians (if you’ll pardon the expression), buffalo, cowboy types. I was hooked. It wasn’t a ‘cowboy’ book, per say, but it was awesome anyway, or so eight-year-old me thought.

 

I still think it’s awesome, actually. Written by Gary Paulsen, it is a compilation of a five- book series that tells the story of a fourteen-year-old boy, Francis, who was kidnapped by the Pawnee after he strays too far behind his wagon train when he receives a new rifle for his birthday. It follows his journey from boyhood to manhood and from frontier to home. I loved the way it showed me Francis and his horse and especially his rifle. I loved how Francis was always getting himself into nasty predicaments beyond his control. I loved how it made the reader feel what Francis was feeling, whether it was fear, anger, love or any of the other emotions that a teenager’s roller coaster heart feels.

 

I loved the way it described everything in perfect detail. How Francis narrowly escaped death, lied to save his hide, found happiness, and learned how to be ‘savvy’. I loved Jason Grimes as Francis’s mentor and was angry when he screwed things up. I loved how it illustrated the life of a survivalist in a cruel wilderness.

 

I can’t pinpoint exactly how this novel of Paulsen’s has shaped my writing style, but I can tell that it has. It influenced parts of the plot of Though He Slay Me and showed me how to write in a descriptive way I wouldn’t have thought of had I only been going off of Burroughs. It doesn’t really make sense, but it has. I think every writer picks up different styles and techniques from almost every author they read. For that matter, I’m sure parts of my writing style is similar to that of Beverly Lewis, Jerry Jenkins, Ron Roy, Kate DiCamillo, and so many other novelists that I have loved and may be loving still.

 

I did this post mainly to give credit where credit is due and it somehow turned into a rambling account of my book reading habits as a child. Anyway, I really do owe some recognition to Gary Paulsen. If I hadn’t have read Tucket’s Travels, I probably wouldn’t be writing. Like I said, I can’t pinpoint why, but it has definitely influenced me. Maybe I’ll do another post similar to this once I understand what makes it different out of all the hundreds of other books that I’ve read. It’s fascinating to think about, the way one book can touch and change so many lives while being irrelevant to so many others.

 

–Abby

Though He Slay Me Ramblings

I have decided that I really need to give an explanation for why I am writing Though He Slay Me.

 

Really, all the credit for inspiration should go to Edgar Rice Burroughs.

 

I was ten when I first picked up a copy of the original Tarzan of the Apes. I fell in love with John Clayton and was devastated when he died, along with his lovely wife. But then, there was a son who survived.

I followed that son on his journey from childhood to manhood. I loved how he was raised by apes who loved him as their own. I loved how he was smart and quick and agile, how he was caring for those he loved, especially his mother. And how he survived.

 

That was the part that really got me.

 

Survival in the jungle, I realized at age ten, was harder than I thought. Tarzan battled lions and apes with his bare hands, yet he know that being a man set him apart from the other animals. He knew that eating human flesh was wrong, so he ate deer and whatever else he caught with his rope or stabbed with his spear or killed with his strength.

 

Another thing that fascinated me was how he moved.

 

In all  the movies I had seen, Tarzan flew through the trees on vines. Not so. He climbed and leaped from branch to branch or swung on boughs, not vines. He was as graceful as a swan yet as strong as ox.

 

And when I was eleven, I decided that jungle life sounded fun.

 

I wanted to go to Africa, I told myself. I want to live like Tarzan. I want to run through the jungle being chased by apes and leopards. I want to leap from branch to branch in the treetops. I want to hunt, using only organic matter and my wits. I want to exist where few men dare to exist. I want to be in constant danger of my life and have fun.

 

And then, an idea known as Katie Riley was born.

 

couldn’t go to Africa, I knew, despite my daydreams. That was out of the question. I had no money and wasn’t born into a wealthy family. There was no way my parents were going to be able to pay my way, and probably not allow me to go, either. Nobody wants their teenage daughter in the jungle with no communication to the outside world. My being able to survive out there was highly illogical, anyway. The jungle wasn’t what I had dreamed, anyway. It was a lot more dangerous and frightful.

 

Ways I could get around this started forming in my mind. What if, for some reason, I was flying over central Africa when my plane crashed? Everyone else would be unconscious, and I wandered off, never to be seen from again, until several years later when I was finally found.

 

And then the Idea, the great, wonderful Idea occurred to me.

 

 

What if it wasn’t my plane that crashed?

What if it was a character’s?

 

I had tried to write once or twice before. I had started Soldier Boy and had written a few short stories and poems. But this was my first real inclination to write a full novel. So I started plotting.

 

Katie (or Jamie, I couldn’t decide) was a twelve-year-old girl who lived in Cairo (I was enthused by Egypt) as a missionary to the entire African continent. (How this would be possible, I have no idea. I was eleven. Bear with me.) When her favorite brother, Jack, was lost to the jungle after a plane crash in a tropical storm, Katie sets out to find him, as she cannot imagine life without him. (Talk about cliche.) Katie’s Search and Rescue chopper crashes in the jungle, also. As she is the only survivor, she must learn to live on her own, this learning many Tarzan-like skills.

 

From then on, my Idea blossomed.

 

Katie was definitely going to be her name. She was no longer twelve, but somewhere in the 14-15 age group. Her family and some others ran a small mission on the edge of the savanna. The goals of the mission were to reach ‘natives’ (for lack of a better term) to Christ. Incidents in the jungle realm changed, too. Though she was still to learn several Tarzan-like skills, her main crisis was her faith. She wanted her brother back badly, and everything she tried to do to find her why home and hopefully see her brother again (as she had a feeling he was found) seemed to be futile. Nothing was working. She was surviving, yes, but she was lost in the green abyss of the rain forest surrounding the Congo River. Finally, she would come to a breaking point where she knew she had to give it all up and give it to God. Whether she finds her family and gets home is still untold. (Mwahahahaha)

 

 

There are also several aspects to her breaking point (why she’s so afraid to lose Jack, etc.) and probably waaay too many subplots for a novel. But at this point,  I don’t really care. I plan to finish the rough draft before January 1st, 2018, and start editing soon thereafter. Hopefully I didn’t give too much away. Sometime I’ll do a post about why I like writing in general, but I love Katie’s story because it inspires me.

 

And it’s all because of a man named Burroughs wrote a novel that caught my attention and ultimately changed my life.

 

–Abby

Character Interview–Katie from Though He Slay Me

Me: Hello, Katie. It’s nice to finally be able to meet you after all these years. Did you know you were originally going to be named Jamie?

 

Katie Riley: Yes, Abby, I had heard that from my parents. I’m glad they named me Katie. Jamie is okay, but I prefer Jayma, especially for a middle name.

 

Me: That’s interesting. Anyway, since I want to ask you a few questions, I’ll start off with some simple ones.  How old are you and how many siblings do you have?

KR: I am fourteen. I have six siblings, four brothers, two sisters. I’m a middle child. My brothers are two sets of twins, one pair five years older than me, the other three years younger than me. Alice is the oldest and Becky is the baby of the family.

 

Me: Wow, that’s a lot. Do you have many interests, hobbies, or obsessions?

 

KR: *laughs*  You could say that I do. Music is one of my interests, I suppose. I play violin, so I guess you could say that it’s a hobby, too. A few other interests would be soccer, skiing, aerospace dynamics and engineering, carving, and molecular biology. To name a few hobbies…reading, obviously. I love to read. Ummm…reciting poetry, quoting Shakespeare, flying, tackle football with my brothers, riding Troop, playing chess, watching old war movies from the 40s.

 

Me: So, an obsession of yours would be…?

 

KR: I guess I don’t really have any…well, I guess you could say I’m obsessed with Jesus. *grins* He’s a noble Person to be obsessed with, isn’t He?

 

Me: He surely is. Speaking of Christianity, is it true that your family and a group of others is moving to Africa in a few short weeks?

 

KR: Yes, that’s true. We will be leaving for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We plan to set up a larger mission on the edge of the forest and gradually migrate into a smaller mission in the interior. The mainly untouched tribes will be who we are trying to reach primarily.

 

Me: How do you feel about this intercontinental move?

KR: *sighs* It’s okay, I guess. I mean, I know God wants us to go, but I’m going to hate leaving my extended family, some of my friends, and of course, my horse.

 

Me: I take it that Troop is your horse?

 

KR: Yes. He’s an old retired racehorse my dad bought for a few hundred at an auction. He’s really sweet.

 

Me: He sounds dreamy. You must love him a lot.

 

KR: Yeah. We’re giving him to my uncle before we move. He has a farm in Idaho.

 

Me: Potatoes, huh?

KR: You got it. Potatoes, a little bit of corn, some beans, alfalfa, a few hogs, two cows, and, sooner or later, Troop.

 

Me: So, what would you say it is your most embarrassing moment?

 

KR: Ummm…*laughs nervously* When I was seven, I thought this guy was a police officer….I was mad at Jack at the time…anyway, he wasn’t a police officer, and he thought what I said to him was hilarious. He picked me up, put me on his shoulder in the middle of the cold foods section of Walmart, and yelled out what I had said to everybody who would listen.

 

Me: Well, what did you say?

 

KR: I’d rather not let that cat get out, if you’ll pardon the expression.

 

Me: No problem. That’s the all time I have, though. Can we do this again sometime?

 

KR: Sure. God bless.

 

–Abby