Monday, December 29, 2014

New Years' Tag!

  It seems almost unbelievable that it was already a year ago I did this tag before! Wow. 2014 has come to a close, and we're on the brink of a brand new year! Yikes! It's so crazy, but really super exciting as well. The past year has been quite a doozy-- so many wonderful things have happened, so much excitement, so many ideas have bloomed, so much good, as well as bad. My head is spinning just thinking of it all. ;-P And here we all are-- one year older, and I hope all the wiser for it. 2014 has definitely been a challenge and a joy for me. I'm feeling really excited for the new year, and what it will hold. God can do amazing things, and I'm feeling so excited and honored to be a part of His grand story!
   So I did this New Years' tag last year, and I just had to do it again. :-)

What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?

  • I auditioned for and got a lead role in a musical, which was one of the most amazing experiences in my life to date 
  • I started seriously writing a novel, and wrote more than ever before
  • I met my best friend
  • I bought a laptop
  • I went to see a professional musical
  • I learned English Country dancing and went to two balls
  • I sewed a period dress (don't laugh-- I actually did, you know)
  • I started writing poetry (just a little)
  • I climbed a mountain. Well, I thought it was a mountain
  • I saw a ballet by a professional company
  • I saw a professional opera (it was scary)
  • I went to a national conference
  • I went to a summer music camp for a week 
Sadie and I when we went to see Les Miserables in the Spring

Did you keep your New Years' resolutions, and will you make one this year?

   I've never been in the habit of making resolutions, at least not strict ones....I did do lots of things this year that I'd hoped to, but also let the ball drop on a few. ;-P I have made a few resolutions this year-- we'll see if I live up to them!

My colonial-era dress that I MADE. 

Did anyone close to you give birth?

  Not anyone very close to me....some people I know, but no close friends.

Did anyone close to you die?

   An elderly family member on my mom's side died this fall, but I had only met her a few times and didn't know her very well.

What countries/states did you visit?

    I went to Indiana! Whoo-ee! A tie (with Virginia) for the farthest I've ever been away from my little valley here. I also went to Pennsylvania a lot, which is nothing new, since we're right on the border and have family there who we visit a lot. Mostly I just stayed home. Happiness. :-)

What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

   More patience! You know, as far as material possessions, there's nothing I really want that I don't have. 

What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory?

   Oh, golly. So many things have happened this year. So many memories and special moments. Definitely January 26th, going to Wicked, and September 3rd which was my first rehearsal for Les Mis. I'll always remember my first audition, too, and the second. There were lots of days that were perfectly ordinary but will always remain with me because they were just so special in one way or another. One of them is the day I read half of To Kill a Mockingbird at the university where my sister takes violin lessons. One is the day we picked beans with our cousins, then went with them to pick strawberries and back to their house for the afternoon. One is June 21st, the day I started my novel and realized that I HAD to do this. 

Did you move anywhere?

   No, thank the Lord! 

What was the best month?

   I feel like January was really awesome....I'm realizing how much I love those late winter months. Also June and July. And August. Sheesh, I can't pick a best one! Oh, and November was utterly amazing for obvious reasons. ;-P

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

    I was Eponine in Les Miserables!!!!!

What was your biggest failure?

   I can't think of anything really significant, except not being as kind and patient and all the rest as I should have been. These are things I continually have to work on.     
Did you suffer illness or injury?

   Nothing serious, which I'm so grateful for.

What was the best thing you bought?

    My laptop!  I bought him in July, which literally changed my life, but in a good way. :-) His name is Cal Trask and he's been a good friend these past several months, although he has a few laptoppy issues (like being super slow sometimes.....) which of course he can't help. ;-P
   I also bought the Lonesome Dove soundtrack, which has been a source of happiness and bliss and writing inspiration and lots of other awesomeness. Same with the True Grit soundtrack. And I bought some good books. So, the usual. :-) And I bought a beautiful blue vintage dress, which I found at my favorite little consignment shop, that I wore to my audition and I'm going to wear it to a ball in a few days. :-)

Whose behavior merited celebration?

   My grandparents and parents and aunts and uncles and cousins, who are all amazing people.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

   Some of the people closest to me, unfortunately.

Where did most of your money go? It's awesome. *nods head*

What did you get really, really, really excited about?

  Being Eponine in Les Miserables!!!! Going to see Wicked live in January, getting my first real letter from my bestie across the ocean (and every one since), writing my novel.....this year was super exciting. Epic. 

What was the best concert you've been to this year?

   If Wicked counts as a concert, then there you go. And of course, our production of Les Mis, which was absolutely fabulous, but I'm pretty sure that doesn't count since I was in it. ;-P I saw a lot of area high school musicals last spring, the best of which was The Music Man.  The Kevin Costner concert I went to with Daddy was actually pretty cool-- mostly I enjoyed listening to Lily Costner. :-) I saw the Booth Brothers in May, which was really nice, and the Collingsworth Family in December. It's taken me a while, but I've found out that I'm not really much of a live concert person-- that is, I enjoy them, especially if I really like the person/group, but it's not my favorite thing. I used to wonder, sometimes, why I wouldn't get more excited about going to concerts....well, I guess it's just not my thing. ;-P

Lily Costner and Kevin Costner

What song/album will always remind you of 2014?

  Defying Gravity from Wicked....

 Caledonia sung by Celtic Woman....

Send Me A Song sung by Celtic Woman....

 .....and basically every Celtic Woman song I love so much now. Oh, and every note of every song from Les Miserables. :-)

Compared to this time last year, are you:
1. happier or sadder? happier, most of the time. There are things going on around me that could get me really depressed if I let them, but I'm learning not to let circumstances determine the position of my heart. Actually, I feel like I'm happier and sadder both. I just feel things so much more intensely now. Um, that was a really long answer. I'm sorry, what were you saying?
2. thinner or fatter? about exactly the same?
3. richer or poorer? personally, poorer. But basically the same.

What do you wish you'd done more of?

    The old answer: WRITE. Also pray. And talk. 

My cousin Rebecca and me :-)

What do you wish you'd done less of?

   Worrying is one of my lifelong struggles, and it really doesn't help anything.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

   I uncovered sooooo many good musicals this year-- most of them from the deep dark uncharted terrain that is the music section at the library, half of which has been officially confiscated by yours truly. ;-P A few of them are Shenandoah, The Scarlet Pimpernel, 1776, and Bonnie and Clyde. 
   I also recently discovered Mary Black, who is now one of my top favorite singers. I LOVE her voice and her style, and she sings a lot of popular Irish songs. My favorite is her Song For Ireland, which I literally canNOT stop listening to.

How did you spend Christmas?

  It was a rather unusual Christmas, actually. Our plans had to change at the last minute, but I ended up spending the day with my family and my grandparents and cousins, so it was great. We spent the afternoon at my grandparents' house, and then came home and watched Home Alone. I almost died laughing.

How are you spending New Year's?

  Well, if all goes as hoped, we might be watching a certain 4-hour movie called GONE WITH THE WIND with my cousin Mary.....*crosses fingers*

Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?

   Heehee. I'm scared of the phone. It's just a scary thing. You never know who might be on the other end....oh, I get scared just thinking about it. Anyway. I really don't talk one the phone much, because A) I don't like it and B) no one ever calls me and I never call anyone (well, hardly ever), which suits me just fine. I did have a few really long conversations with Mary, though.

What was the best book you read?

  This year has been epic for good books. It was almost overwhelming. As always, I can't possibly pick one best book from all the unearthly awesome ones I read this year, so I'll just give you a list, which has been narrowed down as much as I possibly could. You love my lists, don't you?

   ~To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Oh my stars. There is a reason why this is such a celebrated classic. It's that good. I finished reading it and then wanted to read it all over again. Then I just kind of walked around in a trance for about a week afterwards, because I was still living in Maycomb, Alabama.

 ~ Dawn's Early Light by Elswyth Thane. This book took me by the legs and hung me upside down, it was so good. I will forever be indebted to Goodreads for finding the Williamsburg series, which have become some of my very favorite books. Elswyth Thane is also now my second-favorite author. What else can I say about it? I won't go on and on about the book now, because I've already done that and if you're interested in reading about it you can here. But the best I can say is, just go read it. It will change your life.

~ All She Ever Wanted by Lynn Austin. Wow. This book literally blew me away. It was one of Lynn Austin's books that I'd been less eager to read (which maybe had something to do with the fact that it's technically a contemporary novel...silly me.) Now I'm tempted to say it might be one of her best. It was heartbreaking, inspiring, epic, tragic, depressing, engrossing, and completely captivating. I read it and then felt like I needed therapy of some sort, but it was totally worth it. Another book that will change your life.

~ Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson. I love this book! It was sweet, but serious enough to make me like it. It wasn't a love story, but there was a fair bit of romance and it was well-written, not predictable or sappy like Janette Oke most Christian writers these days. One of the best Christian historical novels I've read, actually. Read my full review here.

Did you fall in love in 2013?

    No. I'm fifteen years old. *smiles sweetly* That is, I assume we are not including fictional characters in this analysis....

What was your favorite TV show?

   *drumroll* Was and IS and forevermore will be....

  What did you want and get?

   A lot of CDs and a lot of books. :-) And my laptop, Cal!

What did you want and not get?

  Well.....there was this certain necklace that I really wanted for Christmas, but it didn't happen. I might not be able to handle it and buy it for myself for my 16th birthday. :-)

What were your favorite films of this year?

   I did watch some pretty awesome movies this year, but the best of all was undoubtedly GONE WITH THE WIND (which henceforth will always be typed in all capitals because...well, just because). It blew me away. With the wind. Ahem, that was lame. Anyway, I completely ADORED it and I can't wait to watch it again!
  Some other really good movies I watched were Fried Green Tomatoes, Walk the Line, Silverado and Broken Trail. Lots of westerns. Yup yup.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

   I turned fifteen on February the 2nd and had a lovely day with my family. It was a Sunday, so we went to church and then went to my grandparents' house and saw my aunt and uncle, and then we watched a lame movie in the evening. Actually, if I remember correctly, there were two lame movies involved...? Anyway, it was nice. :-)

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?

   *in Mr. Molesly's voice* "My WHAT?"

    Heehee. Good question. I don't really think about fashion much, to be honest, but I hope my personal style has been simple and classy and sort of western-ish. That's my goal, anyway. ;-P

This is what I want to look like :-)

What kept you sane?

   Long walks through the woods and the creek.....good writing. I have discovered this year more than ever that, as well as being my God-given gift and my calling and my passion and my absolute FAVOURITE thing to do, writing is totally therapy for a weary mind. Sometimes I get so full of emotions, good and bad, that I just have to get them all out on paper or else I might explode. I've written down everything this year-- the good, the bad, and the ugly. And man oh man, does it help to write it down! Passion is just so hard to handle sometimes, and when I write things out it really helps me get my thoughts in order and not implode from all my violent feelings. ;-P

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy most?

   You know, there really wasn't a specific one this year. I know, shocking. Well, I suppose, if I were to think really hard on it, and if you were to look at my pinterest, you might be able to come up with some sort of answer....

  And there's always this guy.....

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

    One thing? Being able to talk honestly with people, being able to bear my heart and soul to someone without feeling apprehensive about it. 
    What political issue stirred you the most?

  Nothing big happened, so yeah....nothing.

Who did you miss?

   I missed my friend who's moved to Turkey. We write letters and emails occasionally, but I haven't seen her in over a year.

Who was the best person you met?

   That's not hard. My kindred spirit and bestie dearest, Naomi. She's the best, sweetest, cleverest, most imaginative and wonderful friend I've ever had, and ever will, and has been an enormous blessing in my life. We're two of a kind, Naomi and I, and yet we're so incredibly different. It's crazy, and it's amazing. I love you, Naomi! :-)

Tell a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.


Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

  I'm through accepting limits cuz someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change, but till I try I'll never know!
Too long I've been afraid of losing love, I guess I've lost
Well, if that's love, it comes at much too high a cost!
I'd sooner buy defying gravity! Kiss me goodbye, I'm defying gravity! 
They'll never bring me down!
So if you care to find me, look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately, everyone deserves the chance to fly!
So if I'm flying solo, at least I'm flying free
To those who'd ground me, take a message back from me....
Tell them how I am defying gravity!
I'm flying high, I'm defying gravity!

~ Defying Gravity

You get glory in the midst of this
And You're walking with me
You say I am blessed because of this
So I'll choose to believe
As I carry this cross, You carry me.

~You Carry Me, Audrey Assad
    Five personally significant events of 2014:

  • Playing Eponine in Les Miserables
  • Writing my first real novel
  • Getting to know my best friend Naomi better
  • Stepped out of my little hermit shell and actually getting to know some people
  • Going to see my first professional musical

Five things I want to do in 2015

  • Be in another musical
  • Finish the first draft of my novel
  • Be better at communicating and keeping in touch with friends
  • Get my permit and learn how to drive

    Also, something really super exciting, is that I'm going to see Celtic Woman in concert this March!!!!! How amazing is that?!? :-)

Five people I'd like to know better in 2015:

    My readers! I've met so many swell girls through blogging that I'd love to get to know better. It's so awesome.

    Happy New Year, everyone! I wish you all the very best in the coming year. Thank you so much for being my dear readers, and such good friends! I love you all and am so grateful for you. Here's to a smashing, wonderful, exhilarating, super-duper 2015!!! :-)     


  1. In which I hardly ever comment but I've followed you for a while. :) I just wanted to say I completely agree on Dr. Quinn as well as Gone with the Wind. I've seen the movie COUNTLESS times, & have read the book four times. It's my favorite novel EVER. I really hope you like the book. I got so excited when I saw it on your to-do list for 2015! :-D

  2. Hey, hey, it's not New Years' yet. *shakes head* Ach, you're never exactly on time.

    Just teasing.

    I've filled in my answers already, but it's still in my drafts. I plan to publish it on Thursday, when it 2015. :-P

    Okay, I'm going to comment long. I love this tag - the questions are lovely and so fitting. I'm definitely going to fill this one in every year. I did it last year too, but in one of my blank books, seeing as I didn't have a blog and all that.

    "I climbed a mountain. Well, I thought it was a mountain." Haha. Was that your exquisite trip you made several days ago? I wish I had been there with you. Felicity, it would have been, as Marianne says.
    I'm going to make some resolutions too. Such as writing loads. Even more than before, despite me having more schoolwork. I. can. conquer. this.
    I'm so in love with that dress you made - the bodice bit, especially. It looks so much fun to wear.
    Haha, the question 'did someone close to you give birth' is a question I've been able to answer 'yes' to every year of my life. This year I've had two new cousins. Not not normal.
    Oh yes, I need patience too. I'll make a new years resolution about that, and really work for it.
    Wicked still doesn't look like something I'll ever watch. Haha. What's that green face?
    YOU WERE EPONINE IN LES MIS. Gah, I'm so happy for you about that.
    WAIT... YOU'RE GOING TO ANOTHER BALL!?! Wut. Explain. Is it like, with English Country Dances again. Envy, envy. Belgium is so boring. :-( America is so quaint. It has balls. HAHAHAHA.
    I know... OUR LETTERS ACROSS THE OCEAN were so epic. :-)
    I don't think I've been to *any* concerts this year (not counting my horrible piano exams). I just really don't enjoy them the least.
    Celtic Woman concert though, that I would enjoy. :-)
    I'm poorer too, than last year. What with post and package, and all that, haha.
    Oh, you watched Home Alone on Christmas? You did that last year too, right? We saw it last year - not on Christmas, but somewhere in the season - I personally thought it not-really-my-cuppa-tea. Sigh. I'm so picky, right?
    Oh, Mary's going to watch GWTW!!! Enjoy that, dear. Tell her that I tell her to watch out (in a good way, of course) for the dresses. :-)
    The best books I read this year were definitely the Refiners Fire Series. So blown away.
    Oh MY. YOU NEED THAT EPONINE NECKLACE. It's just SO YOU. You need it. badly.
    I snickered at your lame joke, and that's something. :-P
    Oh, I love the 'that's what I want to look like' picture. Especially the scarf. Even I like that outfit. I; who doesn't care for westerns that much.
    My dear, when you write 'favourite' in capital letters, please - to oblige me - add a U. In the question 'what kept you sane' you wrote FAVORITE and, well, I kind of frowned. :-P
    Not in a bad way, of course. I love Americans. :-)
    Aww, the thing you said about me. Just awww. Thank you so much, darling - I LOVE YOU SO MUCH YOU'RE SUCH A SWEETUMS. And at first I thought you put up the picture with our heads on it... but then I saw it was the original picture and I was like, 'Oh, of course she wouldn't have done that.'
    And that last sentence of your post... Naomi-approved. I love long lists of fitting adjectives. I would have added 'golden', though.

    Don't laugh.

    ~ Naomi

  3. Marianne,
    Yes, I'm so excited to read GWTW as well! I completely ADORE the movie to shreds (as you probably picked up on), but I haven't gotten to the book yet. I don't normally do well with long classics which require a lot of endurance-- heehee-- but I desperately want to read it. "I shall conquer this. I SHALL." :-) Thanks for commenting and happy new year!


    I know, I know it's not 2015 quite YET. But I wanted to get it done and out of the way while I had the time so I could do other stuff. You understand.
    No, the mountain I climbed was back in July with my cousins, not the hill behind our house. (I may have imagined it was a mountain, but it's not really. ;-P) I know, there was nothing I wanted more than for you to be there with me the other day on the hill. There would have been no felicity in the world superior to that. ;-P

    Don't judge Wicked before you see it-- you might be surprised at how good it is. The music, at least. It's epic. And seeing it live was like WUUUUT. Yeah. Really amazing.

    Yes, I'm going to a New Year's Ball on Jan. 9! Why didn't I tell you about it?!? I must have forgotten! I'm really excited, as it's going to be at the same place it was last year and it was so much fun. I can't wait. :-)

    I know, that's how I feel (about the necklace)!!! Wait until your birthday, Emma. Actually, Sadie knows I really want it, so she might drop a hint, and who knows....

    Home Alone is hysterical! I don't normally like movies like that, but it's so funny and the little kid is sooooo cute and I just love it.

    You like my western outfit! Hey, Sadie, Naomi likes my western outfit! *does happy dance*

    Behold the 'U' in favourite. Only for you, dear.

    Thank you. I love you too. I know, I WANTED to use the picture you made, but then I thought, no, that's too weird. Plus I knew you'd rather I didn't.

    Thank you for your deliciously long comment. Happy New Year, Naomi!!! :-)

  4. Happy New Year! I'm so glad your 2014 was so joyous. This is a really great tag, and I only wish I had time to fill it out myself. I really enjoyed reading all your answers :-)

    Here's to a delightful 2015!

  5. Happy New Year Hamlette! I hope your year is great and full of every good thing you can imagine! (Which is quite a statement for those of us who have such extensive imaginations.) :-)


  6. You have a new header too! I love it. One of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies.

    The great thing about having a splendid imagination is that even if you don't get all the good things you can imagine, you can still imagine them!

    So here's to a year of wonderful imaginings :-)


I'd love it if you'd drop me a line or two! I always enjoy receiving comments from readers and friends. I ask that you please keep your comments clean and God-honoring, and please don't write anything you wouldn't want your grandmother to read. Also, if you are commenting under anonymous, please do leave your name (or some sort of moniker so that you aren't totally nameless). Thank you so much and have a lovely day!

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