Wednesday, March 15, 2017

An Open Letter to Publishing Companies


Dear Publishing Companies everywhere, 

First off, I've always had a love/hate relationship with you; but recently, I feel that the hate aspect of the deal has grown exponentially. Your job has always brought me pleasure in life. Books. Your job is books. Sorting through authors from all over the world. Reading some stories, brushing the other ones aside. Editing, marketing, publishing, and promoting. Books bring me happiness. I've always loved to read. There's always been something about being able to disappear into a fantasy world and shut out reality for a couple of hours... Books are pure evidence that human beings can do magic. I can't think of any other way to put it.
For something that brings so many people so much pleasure, why has the process of putting good books into our hands gone out the window?
Look, I know that the publishing process isn't easy. That's the nature of the business. So, why not focus on finding and promoting new and wholesome content?
I'm beyond serious when I say this: I'm sick of YA fiction. I'm sick of going to the library and coming home with a healthy stack of books, to be forced to slam most (if not all) of them shut, unfinished, and in frustration.
Generally, I narrow down the offensiveness of a book to 3 categories. 

• the content
• the writing
• whether or not it's interesting
(usually a mixture of the first 2 categories).

First, let's talk about content. If I had to use one word to describe the stereotype of the fiction on shelves today, it'd have to be trash. It is a rare and beautiful thing when I stumble across a novel that isn't a play-by-play description of sex in the first person OR a novel that doesn't contain explicit words. I'm not uber sensitive when it comes to swearing, but it just isn't necessary in a book. Especially when a book contains a swear word every four lines. It just harms my opinion of the book. Not only does it take away from the natural progression of the story, it distracts me from what's actually going on. As for the sexual content in books today: I'm constantly finding myself angry and disturbed at what people write. I pick up a random book off the shelf, flip to a random place in said book, and usually utter one or more of the following, 
"Whatttt?!" 
"Oh, heck to the no." 
"This. is. disgusting." 
"Whyyy would somebody write this?"
"Whyyy would anybody read this?"

etc.

Sex scenes in books aren't cool, they're distracting and unnecessary. If I'm enjoying a book and come across an explicit section, I skip over it and keep reading. And you know what the funniest thing about it is? I don't miss a thing. I'm able to follow the plot after skipping those pages. Nothing is missing. 

This just goes to show how unnecessary this type of content is. 

Secondly, the writing. As a writer, I'm a bit picky about word choice, sentence structure, and writing style. I know what it takes to write a novel. It's hard. You finish the first draft with a victory cry, take the week off to refresh your mind and then begin endless work of editing. Draft after draft after draft, taking your first draft and making it pretty. The polishing work. If something doesn't seem polished, or like it was edited at all, you can be assured that I'm not wasting my time reading it.
And publishers? Why are you publishing it? 

And lastly, whether or not it's interesting. This category seems like a mixture of the first two at a glance (and it is a lot of the time), but there's a bit more to it than what meets the eye. See, another thing that I'm tired of is going through novel after novel and finding them all to be the same. The progression of the story is generally the same. 
Boy meets girl. Girl is awkward and boy is not. Girl hates boy, boy loves girl. Boy and girl don't choose to hang out, they're forced to because of life circumstances. Girl starts to fall for boy. Boy does something stupid and breaks girl's heart. Girl shuts him out of her life forever. Boy shows up with a peace offering of flowers and chocolate and they end up together forever. 
The end. 
Before I go any further, please realize that this isn't every YA book that I've ever read. It's a generalization of 95% of the books that I've read (or started reading and hastily closed). 

What y'all need to realize is that there are good and genuine authors with beautiful and original stories out there waiting to be found and published. My friend circle is made up of quite a few young authors and I've read their work. They write eloquently and the stories that they tell are new

They've tried to go about publishing their works the traditional way. It isn't easy and many of them have been forced to publish their own writings just to be read. Self-publishing isn't a bad thing - it's a very good thing! But it shouldn't be the plan b that every good author has to fall back on because of the failure of the publisher. 

There are so many new stories waiting to be told and authors waiting to be found. Stop wasting your time on the same old rubbish that we've been reading for the past 10 years! Use your time and your resources to put good literature into our hands. Publish the type of book that will still be read in 100 years' time. 
The new generation of Classical Literature. 

Please, publishing companies, stop failing us. 

Sincerely, 

Petra 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

f e b r u a r y {recap} | 2017


February recap... let's go!


Compared to February in past years, I feel like this one went by all too quickly. Well, not too quickly. But just quicker than usual. I'm quite happy to be out of the boring part of the year :) 

Anywho, let's get right into it! 




I only was able to read 4 books this month. I know, I know. Pathetic, right? 


I read Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman for school and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The poetry lover in me definitely made several appearances this month and I was very excited about this particular piece. I definitely recommend it! 

Next, I read the final book in The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis. That Hideous Strength was the perfect conclusion to this trilogy and it was full of good reminders for day to day life. Again, I definitely recommend the entire trilogy! 

And lastly, I finished my reread of the entire Harry Potter series this month. The Halfblood Prince and The Deathly Hallows are just as good (if not moreso) the 4th time you read them. Just in case you were wondering. 

Favorite book of the month? 

Definitely going with the Harry Potter. Though I couldn't choose between the two. Both are vital components to the series. 


Ah, music, one of my most-used survival methods. 


Anyway, here's my February 2017 playlist, if it interests you!
I'm also still obsessively listening to musicals (cough cough Hamilton), Disney, twenty one pilots, and classical music. Not a lot of changing there.


Keepin' it simple here.

Going from left to right: The Crown, The Flash, Girl Meets World, & Lab Rats. In that order. 
The Crown and Lab Rats were new findings for me and I'm in the middle of the new seasons of The Flash and Girl Meets World. 


First things first, I began doing a cleanse/detox during the 2nd week of this month and it's going really well so far! 
Secondly, I've been busy with school (no surprise there) and sibling sports. All my siblings are playing basketball, so I've been busy going to different games during the week and on Saturdays. 
Aaaand, I don't have a lastly for you. Hah. My life was real interesting this month :P 



I'm excited for March! Spring weather comes and the end of the school year will be in sight by the end of this month. I'm still going through the process of trying to get a job (applications, and interviews, and more interviews, and phone tag, and etc.), so hopefully something will come from that. 
I'm going to finish up the 3rd quarter next week, which leads into a lovely spring break (yay!). After that, it'll be back to the grindstone. My church also has Missions Conference this weekend, so I'm very excited for that experience. Missions Conference is always my favorite week in March. 

Aaanyyway, this was what my February looked like. It's a short post, I know, but it was also a short and pretty basic month. 

Happy March, everyone! 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Character Interview: James K Bond

Heyyy, people! Happy weekend! 

Today I have something really special for you, in regards to today's post. A friend of mine swapped interviews and took turns interviewing each others' characters. You'll be able to view my interview over on her blog on Monday or Tuesday of next week. 

Nota bene: Annie came up with these brilliant questions and we used them for both of our interviews. 

Enjoy the interview! 



Annie Louise Twitchell is a homeschool graduate who is obsessed with dragons and fairy tales. She enjoys reading, writing, poetry, and many forms of art. When she's not writing, she can often be found reading out loud to her cat, rabbit, and houseplants, or wandering barefoot in the area around her Western Maine home. 

Annie's Facebook page.

James' Facebook page.

Annie's blog.











James is the main character in Annie's WIP, Tattoos and Tiaras. A single father, blogger, book reviewer, and drinker of coffee, he lives in Greenwich Village in NYC. He can usually be found at home, with his nose in a book, or playing with his daughter – her favorite game is hide and seek and so far she's knocked over the potted fern in the living room window three times.

What is your full name? James Kevin Bond. My dad was out of state when I was born, so my mother, bless her heart, named me while on pain medication. The family name is Bond and she thought it would be hilarious to name me James. I deal with it. It's not as bad as it could be.

Are you married? In a relationship? Divorced, actually. I got married in college. I was twenty, Helen was twenty two. She filed for divorce after five years. It's rough sometimes, I admit, but I don't blame her for it. She just didn't want a family or a relationship. Got in the way of her bigger plans.

Do you have children? I am the proud daddy of the sweetest little girl on the planet and I dare you to challenge me on that. Her name is Kailee Mae and I've had her since she was born, four months after the divorce. She doesn't know her mother – Helen wanted it that way. We're doing well. She likes to be read to. I have to say, I'm not someone who's easily scared, but when she started walking... I was always terrified that she'd fall and hit her head or something. I was so scared, there were times I was shaking as I watched her wobble around the living room. Making me a little bit shaky just remembering it. I had to work so hard to let go and let her fall down a few times. It was so hard! She actually got mad at me once for picking her up. She can be a bit stubborn sometimes, she likes to do things her own way. She'll ask for help, but usually not until she's tried it. Shoes are a fight because she wants to tie them herself (I a big girl, Daddy! I do it!) but she can't always get it, and sometimes I have to do it for her so we're not late.

What was/is your relationship with your father? Better now that I'm older. He didn't really have any idea what to do with kids, so I just kind of got ignored. He adores his granddaughter though. My parents are happily married and live in Washington State, so we don't get that many visits, but they Skype us every week. Especially now that it's just me and Kailee.

With your mother? Mom is just... fun. She's brilliant, but surprisingly absent-minded when it comes to things like house cleaning or grocery shopping. My parents hired someone to do things like that, so she didn't have to stress about whether we had food to eat. Sometimes she'd wake me up in the middle of the night, drag me outside in my pajamas, and recite mythology behind constellations for hours on end until I fall asleep from sheer information overload.

Siblings? I had a younger sister, Kelly. We didn't get along that well when we were younger – I guess because I found her annoying. She had this habit of stealing my books and hiding them in the weirdest places, like in the box of ice cream sandwiches in the freezer. When she got older, we got to be good friends, especially after she moved to NYC too. For a while there we had this thing of going out bowling every month, just the two of us. I'd even leave Kailee with my neighbor, Grandma Rose. About six months ago, she... well, it's just me now.

How do you fall in love? At first sight? Over a long period of time? I fell in love with Helen kind of slowly. She intrigued me. There was this absolutely stunning woman, studying law. I was really shocked when she asked me if I wanted to go out, not because she had been the one to do that asking, but because I didn't really think I'd interest her. She said it was the contradictions that interested her – I'm six foot four inches, I have a bunch of tattoos, I'm a teddy bear, and I'm an English major. I had a habit of wandering around campus with my nose in a book. Anymore, though, I don't know. I don't think it's a very good idea for me to fall in love, so... I don't.

What three things would you take to a desert island? Satellite phone, water, and a solar battery, so I could get the heck off again because my little girl needs me.

When you walk into a room, what do you expect people to notice first about you? Definitely my appearance, especially my tattoos. I have a lot of them. They each have a meaning, a story, but I don't tell people about them. But I don't necessarily look like someone you'd expect to find with a toddler on his hip, reading Winnie-The-Pooh with a squeaky Pooh voice. And often that's what I'm doing.

What are you most proud of in your life? Kailee Mae. Hands down.

What are you most afraid of? Losing someone I love, someone I love getting hurt, or God help me – me hurting someone I love.

What's the most important thing in your life? What do you value most? Again, Kailee. She's everything to me.

What are you like when you stay awake all night? Actually, not that different than I normally am. I work at home, so I take naps when Kailee does, and I can get by with just a few hours of sleep.

What's your sense of humor? My neighbors, Sandra and Laura, tell me I'm snarky and occasionally mean. Rose says I'm a fruitcake. Kailee just thinks I'm silly.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? An evening snuggling on the couch, watching Princess movies with Kailee. Chocolate is a good idea too. She likes white, I like dark.

What is your greatest regret? Probably not spending more time with Kelly when she moved here. Maybe if I'd been around for her more, she'd still be with us.

What is your motto? Love 'em like He loved 'em, and take no nonsense.

-

Wasn't that an amazing interview? 

Huge thank you to Annie and James for stopping by today! 



Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Lost Girl of Astor Street Clue Hunt: Clue #9


Image result for the lost girl of astor street Ladies and Gentlemen, The Lost Girl of Astor Street is officially released today! This definitely means that I'm doing my happy dance. If you haven't ordered this wonderful book yet, please go do so right now! You don't want to miss this one, I promise.

In celebration of the book release, Stephanie put together a scavenger hunt for you, the readers. Once you've collected all the clues and reached the last post, you'll be entered to win a signed copy of the book! How cool is that?!

Today, I'm stop number 9 on the hunt and I have something very special for you. Stephanie has very graciously agreed to answer some questions about the book in an interview today. 

Enjoy!

-
Stephanie Morrill Low Res





Stephanie Morrill is the creator of GoTeenWriters.com and the author of several young adult novels, including the historical mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street. Despite loving cloche hats and drop-waist dresses, Stephanie would have been a terrible flapper because she can’t do the Charleston and looks awful with bobbed hair. She and her near-constant ponytail live in Kansas City with her husband and three kids.





Q: What gave you the inspiration for this lovely novel? 
A: My initial idea for The Lost Girl of Astor Street came while I was putting away laundry, of all things. My mind was wandering (as it often does during chores), and I started thinking about different stories I like. I thought about Veronica Mars for a while, and then something triggered a thought about Downton Abbey, and I thought, “I wish there was something out there that was like Veronica Mars but in a Downton Abbey kind of setting. Oh, maybe I could do that!”

Q: The clarity of Piper's character came through quite strong as the novel developed... Have there been any people who have provided inspiration for Piper's character?
A: Thank you! I had so much fun writing her. Early on, she felt a bit like I was writing Veronica Mars fan fiction, but by the end of the first draft she had definitely developed her own personality. The only direct influence from my real life came from something my friend Kelli once told me. She said she hates slow dancing because she always tries to lead, and I thought, “That’s so Piper!” So I put it in Piper’s mouth.

Q: What is your favorite part about this time period/era to write about?
The 1920s is so unique because it’s bookended by major historical events (World War 1 and the stock market crash/Great Depression). Plus there were so many political changes happening, like women having won the right to vote and prohibition going into effect. Just with these events alone, I think there are endless story possibilities!

Q: What was your ideal writing situation for this novel? (Favorite writing food, beverage, music, setting, etc.)
This novel took so long to write and edit, that I did a lot of the work during two separate writing retreats. I finished the first draft sitting next to Roseanna White, which is appropriate because she was so helpful and encouraging when I said I wanted to write a historical. And then I did a ton of my edits on a retreat in Lake Tahoe with Jill Williamson and Shannon Dittemore. Other than that, I was in my office with a growing pile of research books and a cup of coffee!

Q: Did you find this idea easy to develop?
My enthusiasm was easy. I had never been so excited about a story idea. But turning my idea into a finished product was very difficult!

Q: What has been your favorite experience in writing, publishing, & promoting The Lost Girl of Astor Street?
A: The first time I held my hardcover book was when my editor handed me hers and asked me to sign it. We were at the American Library Association Midwinter Exhibit, and my publisher invited me there to to promote the book. That was a pretty incredible experience.

Q: Who is your favorite character in this novel?
A: It’s probably a bit silly to pick Piper as my favorite character, but I loved writing her. The way she saw the world was really interesting and enjoyable for me to write.

Q: A lot of people are probably asking this, but based on the last line of the book, is it safe for us to hope for more of Piper Sail in the future?
A: I have not signed a contract for another Piper Sail book, but I would love to write one in the near future. But I want it to be the right kind of sequel, so I’m being patient with it.
-

A huge thank you to Stephanie for stopping by, answering my questions, and putting my curiousness to rest :)

Remember to order your copy of the book today!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

j a n u a r y {recap} | 2017

Experimentation time! And what I mean by that is simply this: I've surprisingly never done a monthly recap post, so here's Petra's attempt to summarize the first month of our new year. 


Phew. 

What a month. 

Did January FLY by for anyone else? 

Lot's happened for me, so let's get started. 

Let's start thing off in the right way, moving straight to books that I read this month. I read 7 and 1/2 books this month! As you may notice, not all of them are on display on my Goodreads profile, simply because 2 of them were rereads. The "1/2" tagged onto the end was finishing the second half of Perelandra after coming back from Christmas Break. 

The books I read this month are as follows: 


Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau
Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (reread)
The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (reread)
The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill 
& The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

My favorite read this month has to be The Lost Girl of Astor Street. I received an ARC of this lovely novel for launch team promotional purposes and I can just that I was mesmerized by every word. This isn't one that you'll want to miss! In fact, you should definitely go preorder it right now! Click the photo below for more information :)

Image may contain: text


Onto Music of the month! 



      

Pretty self explanatory: Hamilton and not Hamilton. 
xD

Current TV shows I'm enjoying:

SUPERGIRL:
*dies of more feels*


Last Days of Downton Downton Abbey s6. Michelle Dockery, Allen Leech and Laura Carmichael ..:
*dies of feels*



            Some lessons that I learned this month have included the importance of time management and how to make coffee not taste bad. We also have a new President, as of the 21st of January. I've refrained from making any political comments on the internet because a) I value my sanity, b) my journal is full of them, c) I have no time for Facebook debates ;). I'll say one thing and leave it at that: 
God is faithful. 
He has been faithful. 
He will continue to be faithful. 

My future doesn't depend on the character of our President. 
My future has already been decided by the Maker of the stars. 
Almighty God is fighting for my heart and no matter what happens, that will remain true. 

And the same thing goes for you. 

And with that dramatic end, this post has come to an end... which leads me to some 
questions. 

What did you do this month? When are you planning on preordering The Lost Girl of Astor Street?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

My Normal: A Week With Petra


Today I'm going to do something a little bit unusual. I've never done this type of post before, but the concept seemed a bit interesting to me. Some of you may find this type of post boring; but it's something new, so I thought why not? 

I've been blogging for over a year now, but I feel like my schedule has made it near impossible for us to get to know each other. You don't really know me, aside from the fact that I enjoy scholarly things, ranting about books while trying to write them at the same time. And you may or may not have picked up my love for photography, depending on how observant you are. I also realized that I don't really know you. So, friends. This is an attempt at bridging the gap between fact and fiction and bringing a dimension of realness to this space. I hope you enjoy! 

Note: My school schedule happens to be that Monday/Wednesdays and Tuesdays/Thursdays mirror each other. My mornings and evening Monday-Thursday are the same. 

 

5:00 AM - Wake Up Call! The alarm clock goes off and I immediately groan. I grab my reading light and my devotional book My Utmost for His Highest and I read the little tidbit of the day. I then fill whatever time is left with quick prayer to begin the day and a bit of Harry Potter reading. Reading something familiar really helps wake me up. 
5:30 - Good morning, Dad! Around 5:30, my dad pops his head in and whispers, "are you coming to the gym this morning?" I mumble a confirmation and he leaves. I splash water on my face and pull on my workout gear. I chug down several ounces of water and we leave. 
5:45-6:45 ish - Work it! I hit the gym hard, generally starting with my cardio. I usually run for anywhere between 30 and 50 minutes, depending on the day. I get to watch the news while doing this, which is nice because I usually have no idea what's going on in the world. I move straight from cardio to strength training, with a circuit of weight lifting and then stretching. After about an hour, we head home to continue the beginning of the day. 
7:00-7:20 ish - Getting ready. I take care of showering and personal hygiene as quickly as I can, trying to buy extra homework time. 
7:20-7:30 ish - Breakfast. Breakfast is either made by yours truly, or my mother. If she's not making breakfast for everybody else yet, I fix my own and get started on school related things. 
7:30-9:30 - Miscellaneous. Whatever homework I have due that day and didn't happen over the weekend happens right now. Usually last minute Precalculus, Chemistry, and Rhetoric. 
9:30-11:00 - Precalculus class. Starting the day off strong with math. Right now we're doing Trigonometry and I'm enjoying that quite a bit. 
11:00-12:30 - Chemistry class. Yep. I know. I jump straight from math into a math-based science on Monday morning. It's lovely
12:30-2:00 - Rhetoric I class. Usually I have lunch either during Chemistry or during Rhetoric I. It depends on the day. 
2:00-3:30 - Miscellaneous. Homework for my last class of the day and for Tuesday usually happens in this time slot. Think reading things by C.S. Lewis, studying for a Spanish quiz, or doing Precalculus homework, which was assigned earlier in the day (but I usually procrastinate that, so that doesn't happen very much). 
3:30-5:00 - My favorite class of Junior Year; Get To Know C.S. Lewis. I love, love, love this class. We have such good discussions about literature and Theology, which is an instant YES
5:00-5:30 - Break time! Yes, I give myself a break after this long day of classes before starting on my homework. I probably should just get it all done after classes end, but my brain is usually pretty tired. This is the time I use for replying to messages and checking social media. Pinteresting also happens. 
5:30-6:30 - Family dinner. Pretty self explanatory. Dinner with my family. 
6:30-7:00 - Dinner clean-up. Dishes, mostly. 
7:00-9:00 - Miscellaneous. Homework for tomorrow and chilling. 
9:00-9:30 - Prepping for sleep. All that fun stuff. Face washing, teeth brushing, pajamas, etc. 
9:30-10:30 (or 11) - Reading. Sometimes for school, sometimes for pleasure... It just depends on the given day. 
11:00-5:00(AM) - Sleeeeeeeeep. 
The only difference between Mondays and Wednesdays is the occasional youth group attendance on Wednesday evening. But that doesn't happen very often. 


5:00 AM - Wake Up Call! The alarm clock goes off and I immediately groan. I grab my reading light and my devotional book My Utmost for His Highest and I read the little tidbit of the day. I then fill whatever time is left with quick prayer to begin the day and a bit of Harry Potter reading. Reading something familiar really helps wake me up. 
5:30 - Good morning, Mom! Around 5:30, my mom pops her head in and whispers, "PETRA. WAKE UP. It's time to get up!" She pulls on my blankets, smacks me a few times, tickles me, and then leaves when I'm up and at 'em. I splash water on my face and pull on my workout gear. I chug down several ounces of water and we leave. 
5:45-6:45 ish - Work it! I hit the gym hard, generally starting with my cardio. I usually run for anywhere between 30 and 50 minutes, depending on the day. I get to watch the news while doing this, which is nice because I usually have no idea what's going on in the world. I move straight from cardio to strength training, with a circuit of weight lifting and then stretching. After about an hour, we head home to continue the beginning of the day. 
7:00-7:20 ish - Getting ready. I take care of showering and personal hygiene as quickly as I can, trying to buy extra homework time. 
7:20-7:30 ish - Breakfast. Breakfast is either made by yours truly, or my mother. If she's not making breakfast for everybody else yet, I fix my own and get started on school related things. 
7:30-9:30 - Miscellaneous. Whatever homework I have due that day and didn't happen over the weekend happens right now. TGC 6 reading, Latin translating, or writing a summary of my history reading. 
9:30-11:00 - Latin III class. It's so. Much. Fun. I love it. We have an awesome time translating and jokingly complaining about how hard language is. 
11:00-12:30 - The Great Conversation VI class. Another close favorite. This class is coincidentally all-girls, comprised of mostly seniors with a few juniors sprinkled in. In other words, it's a lovely, mature, well-read class, where everyone can relate to each other. And our teacher is completely wonderful. She loves having good discussion about good literature and she takes advantage of the male-absence and teaches towards girls. It's amazing. It should be illegal to have that much fun in school. 
12:30-2:00 - A Closer Look at the War for Independence class. Another super fun class! We discuss our source reading and summaries, as well as battle strategies and maps. It's time well-spent, that's for certain. 
2:00-3:30 - Spanish I class. You'll never guess what I have to say about this one. Hmm? Wait... how did you know that I love this class? Whatever would have given you that idea? Ha. Ha. Yes. Ahem. This is another class that I adore. My teacher is wonderful and it's so much fun to learn another language and speak it at the same time. 
3:30-4:30 ish - Break time! 
4:30-5:30 - Family dinner. We eat quite early on Tuesdays and Thursdays, because my siblings have sports practice later on. 
5:30-6:00 - Dinner clean-up. 
6:00 - 9:00 - Miscellaneous. Homework for the next day and catching up with friends. 
9:00-9:30 - Prepping for sleep. All that fun stuff. Face washing, teeth brushing, pajamas, etc. 
9:30-10:30 (or 11) - Reading. Sometimes for school, sometimes for pleasure... It just depends on the given day. 
11:00-5:00(AM) - Sleeeeeeeeep. 


Fridays are a bit odd for me. There's no structure, at all... which is a nice break, from the four previous days of strict scheduling. Fridays are reserved for tests, papers, big projects, and other homework that has been put off until now. We also schedule doctor/dentist/chiropractor appointments on Fridays. When my family is actively taking music lessons, these also take place on Fridays. If it's more of a relaxed day, I'll spend lots of time doing the few assignments that I actually have to do, listening to Hamilton, and watching shows in the evenings. It's a lovely thing when I have a lazy Friday. 


Saturdays are much like Fridays, but without school (usually). Sometimes we have plans with friends and sometimes we stay home and watch movies or clean. 


Sundays begin with a mad rush to get ready for Church. We have Sunday school from 9:30-10:30, church from 10:45-12:00, and our return trip puts us back home around 1:00. We eat a family lunch and then either relax or grocery shop. Two complete opposites, but it's true. There's no in between. Sunday evenings usually involve watching shows and planning for the next week. I try to get to bed early to get a headstart on the next week, but that doesn't happen very often. Then 5 AM on Monday morning and it all starts over again. 


So... what did you think? Do you like this type of post? 
What does your schedule look like? 
Do our schedules look anything alike? 
Let me know in the comments below! 

Monday, January 2, 2017

two birds with one stone (recapping 2016 and looking ahead to 2017, how efficient of me)


Well, aside from me totally disappearing of the face of the planet (twice), 2016 was a pretty good year overall. 
Dang, was it ever hard sometimes, but it was pretty good. 

I laughed a lot. 
I cried a lot. 
And the cycle went pretty much just like that. 

Here are a few memories from Petra's 2016: 



































Camp NaNoWriMo in April... totally empowered me as a writer and taught me quite a few lessons (you can read them hereherehere, and here).

#WHALINK2016 - My school's annual gathering, which was superb.

I helped out with VBS at my church. 

I MET HANNAH! SHE IS A LOVELY, SWEET, FUNNY, AMAZING HUMAN AND I LOVE HER SO SO MUCH ♥
We interviewed each other and you can view those videos here and here :)

I was blessed with the lovely opportunity to travel to Virginia and meet up with some online friends for 5 days. We ate, slept, laughed, swam, kayaked, goofed off in the Chesapeake Bay, visited the birthplace of George Washington, and laughed some more. This included my first solo flight (with layovers and everything), which was scary and left a lot of bad memories of airports involved panic attacks. They kept delaying my flights argh. It really wasn't that bad, but it wasn't a top-notch experience for my first time flying by myself.... but the trip itself was worth all the terrible airport experiences in the world.

I flailed and failed my way through season 3 of Cross Country :P

School started in September, thrusting me face-first into 8 classes. 24 hours of class a week and double that in homework, plus tests and projects. That's actually why I disappeared xD

I turned 16 in October! My family and friends surprised me with a lovely sweet sixteen birthday party... It shocked the living daylights out of me and needless to say, I guess I'm not as observant as I once thought :P

I'm now a licensed driver, so y'all might want to stay off the roads for a little while... :P

NaNoWriMo happened in November and I didn't reach my goal, but I did make progress. And progress in writing with my insane school schedule is a victory in my eyesight. I still would have loved to have written 50K words, but it just didn't happen. And that's okay.

December. December was INSANE. It just was. I had 8 exams to complete in 6 days and one of those days was traveling. It was rough. My brain died at the end. But I got them finished and then moved from that to family stuff. The holiday season was cram packed with stuff. I'm actually more mentally exhausted now than what I was before break. It was well worth it though. We were able to plan a surprise party for my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary. It was pretty special :)

2016 was hard. It was really hard. But it was good. 
I learned so much this year and I'm looking forward to the lessons I'll learn this year. 

So... what exactly did I accomplish in 2016, in regards to my goals? 
Here's last year's post for New Years. 

"If all goes well, I will have... 

Learned how to drive with a permit and be a licensed driver - I turn 16 next fall, so YAY! Also, being able to drive myself places will make life more flexible for my family. 

 Read through the whole Bible once more Bible-Gateway has some AWESOME reading plans for the new year... You can make the choice between a deep study per month, studying one proverb per month, reading through the New Testament and/or Old Testament in an allotted period of time... It's quite amazing for accountability and people *hem* like me, who tend to get distracted. I'm excited! 

 Be immersed in the exact middle of my junior year - Next year at this time (considering that I don't completely fail my sophomore year, which is a liable option), I will be at the halfway mark in my junior year. That means a ton of homework (yay) and *shudder* college searching/visits. 

Have run another year of cross country - And hopefully, I'll avoid those time-killing injuries! I actually have been training... ;) 

Read through my local library again - Seriously, it's a task keeping fresh reading material in front of me. 

Finished some new writing projects and edited some - I would love to be given the precious time to be able to write more often, I really would. But if this one doesn't get done, I'll survive. Writing is a big part of my life, but there are other things, which demand my attention. So, fingers crossed for writing!

Working a job - College is rapidly approaching, and it ain't exactly paying for itself. I've begun filling out applications.... Fingers crossed again!"

Out of this list, I accomplished 4 of these 7. I'm a licensed driver, I'm in the middle of my Junior year, I have another year of cross country under my belt, and I've kept my library on their toes. I didn't make it through the entire Bible this year, because honestly that way of studying didn't really work for me. Hannah recently invited me to begin a Bible study with her on the subject of Praise. I'm really really looking forward to it! 

What are my goals for 2017? 

I'm glad you asked. 

I thought about different ways to approach this year, but the one I chose is by far my favorite. 

I decided to pick a word and focus on areas that pertain to that word, working on character. 

My word for 2017 is  f  a i t h f u l n e s s 

When this thought first struck me, I didn't like the idea, simply because it seemed too impossible. My thoughts followed with, all the more reason to try. So, friends, here I am, at the start of a new year. The resources for my goals are readily available, it'll just take me being faithful to see these goals through. I've picked some areas for improvement and specific outlets to help me pursue them. I've specifically examined things from the past and picked ways that I know will work for me. 

Areas for improvement (looooots of improvement): 

Studying God's Words in depth: beginning with Hannah and the Praise study.
                   Working on Prayer: I absolutely love to journal. It's something that comes easily and naturally and it's something that I do a lot. Instead of trying to focus on praying for 15 minutes (which has never worked for me... my attention span is about the same as a goldfish), I'm planning to begin a prayer journal. This will help with perspective and organization of thoughts, as well as communication with God. 
                "Working the Temple": My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and it's so vitally important to keep it healthy and working hard. I have a gym pass, which takes care of the resource part. I need to work on faithfulness in dragging myself out of bed at 5:30, even and especially when I'd rather get extra sleep. 
              "Working the Mind": Basically I'm going to work on study organization and planning time more efficiently. I'm also planning to read one classic novel (outside of school) per month. I'm going to begin blogging again... I'm aiming for every Saturday, because I have no time during the week xD. I'm going to begin studying for those college entrance tests (ACT, PSAT, SAT, etc.). I'm also hoping to begin studying with a friend on the side of everything. This won't be anything specific, just random topics that we're curious about and want to research together. 
         "Working on Organization": Keeping my personal world in order. Bedroom, school space, and schedule. It all has to work together for my sanity to remain slightly sane xD. 
           "Physical Self-Improvement": Back to the "working the temple", I'm planning to hit the gym more often. 
I'm getting back to my normal clean eating. The holidays have been pretty tough on my body food wise xD I know that I have several allergies and intolerances, so I need to get back to avoiding the foods that make my body hurt. My normal diet looks something like: no gluten, no dairy, no refined sugar, with avoiding certain nuts; lots of protein and complex carbs (veggies, fruits, starches, and sprouted bread). I'm also going back to my strict water/tea only rule. 
8 hours of sleep every night is something that my night owl, introverted personality needs to work on. 
       "Kill 'Em With Kindness": And, yes, I might have named a few weapons "kindness", but that's not what I mean. I'm going to be working on unconditional kindness this year. I'm thinking that this isn't going to be an easy one to work with, but that make it even more important. 


Faithfulness. Yikes. This isn't going to be easy... But I've learned that the best lessons in life are never easy. 
Anyway. 

I'm beyond excited to see what's in store for this year... 
HAPPY NEW YEAR, FRIENDS!