Blogmas 2018 Day 25

We were so excited that it was CHRISTMAS!!! We started opening our stockings at 8:30 and were done with all the gifts by 9:30. In my stocking, I received candy, a candle, and EOS lip balm. As far as gifts, I received money from my grandpa; two books and candy from a family friend; and an Alaska photo book Joshua made me. From my parents, I received handmade soap; a gift card to a local boutique; Romanov by Nadine Brandes (pre-order); When Chronic Pain & Illness Take Everything Away by Esther Smith; the print copy of Worlds Beneath by K.A. Emmons; and a jar of freezer raspberry jam (it’s the same jam that we had in Alaska and LOVED).

I also did a little online shopping this morning and pre-ordered To Best the Boys by Mary Weber and The Deceivers by Kristen Simmons, plus purchasing a DVD of Spiderman Homecoming and a used copy of More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer (I don’t buy books the library has… unless they’re AMAZING books that I just want to own, like this one).

I gave my mom a book by Mike and Peggy Rowe that she wanted, and I gave my dad a coaster I brought from Alaska (although unfortunately it broke in my checked bag coming home). I gave Joshua a trilogy of books by Daniel Blackaby (I bought them at Write2Ignite and had Daniel sign them to Joshua), plus a glow-in-the-dark Frisbee from one of my clients, Eastern Mountain Sports. I told Joshua it’d be his favorite gift of this Christmas, and he said it is! We gave my grandpa an Alaska photo book. I helped Joshua make a video, titled Things You Can’t Do In Real Life If You’re Not Sophie, for our mom. And for my parents, I gave them a book called Hey, I Should Dust That (and other heartfelt poems and essays by Sophie). I started writing the book in July and procrastinated up until two weeks ago, when I finally had someone format it so I could order it. It arrived yesterday.

In the middle of opening gifts, we heard a knock on the door and found a gift–some chocolate covered cherries–from our next door neighbors. I guess that by now, they’ve figured out I was the one leaving gifts on their porch for the last three years! Sophie opened her stocking this morning to find treats and a new antler, and that occupied her for a while, but eventually she started getting into stuff and had to go in her crate.

My aunt, uncle, and two adult cousins came over for lunch and to visit for a few hours which was so fun. For lunch we had ham, baked pineapple, rolls, sweet potato souffle, chocolate pie, fruit, squash casserole, chicken and dumplings, etc. I had to go to our friends’ house mid-afternoon to pet sit. When I got back it was 3:30 and my aunt and uncle were leaving. I was in pain and dead tired so I went to bed. Later I got up, read Esther Smith’s book (so good), messed around with some songwriting stuff, and my dad took me to our friends’ house to petsit again. And Christmas 2018 was over!

Here’s what I did two years ago today and one year ago today. What did you do today?

 

Blogmas 2018 Day 24

It’s Christmas Eve! This morning I finally got out of bed at nine after sleeping/resting for 17 hours. I played the piano for a while and did this workout video. After lunch, I spent some time looking for agents who rep YA historical fiction, and then I wrapped two final gifts (the one I’ve been waiting and waiting for finally arrived today!) and watched an episode of The Good Witch while trying not to fall asleep.

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We went to a Christmas Eve service at my parents’ and brother’s church at 4:00. Then we went to a service at my church (the bigger one I do small group with) at 5:30. Both services were nice and it was good to see all my friends, and we also saw some friends from our old church.

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Afterwards, we went to Krystal, which is our Christmas Eve tradition and was very fun although it’s also the tradition for me to complain about it. We’re at home now and normally watch The Christmas Story on Christmas Eve, but although it’s only eight I can’t keep my eyes open and probably won’t last long.

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Here’s what I did two years today and one year today. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2018 Day 23

Today I went to the little white country church that I went to last spring and summer, and it felt so good to be there. I sat with family friends from our old church who now go there as well. The service was so special; outside it rained, and I sat in the wooden pew under the lights and garlands and sang Christmas songs from a hymnal with my favorite ten-year-old. I was so, so happy to be back. And just look how cute it is decorated for Christmas.

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At home, our family friend Mrs. Alvalee came for lunch. After lunch I had to run over to our former pastor’s house to get instructions to pet-sit for them over Christmas. It was great to see them! By the time I got back from that, it was 4:00 and I was dead tired, so I went to bed. I meant to get up and have dinner at some point, but the nerve pain in my legs was so bad I couldn’t move. Next thing I knew it was 9:00 Monday morning.

Here’s what I did two years ago today and one year ago today. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2018 Day 22

Christmas break!!! This morning I slept in and then worked out: a five minute ab workout video, a ten minute leg workout video (lots of plyometric elements), and half of a a twelve minute bodyweight arm workout video. Then I collapsed on the floor and literally couldn’t move for a while because that’s how my body works.

After lunch we went to see Mary Poppins Returns. Some parts were dumb to me, but overall it was good I guess.

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When we got home from that, I quickly cleaned my room and wrote a THC blog post, then watched some YouTube videos and read Downriver by Will Hobbs. After dinner we drove around and looked at Christmas lights, and I made everyone listen to Justin Bieber’s Little Drummer Boy.

I finished the evening with a couple of episodes of The Good Witch on Netflix. It’s a Hallmark show about a small town with an even smaller touch of magic, and although I’m barely halfway through season 1, I like it! It has Bailee Madison in it, and I’ve always loved her; the show is clean, funny, calming (which sounds weird, but it is to me), and I just really like it.

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Here’s what I did two years ago today and one year ago today. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2018 Day 21

I let myself sleep in and get a late start this morning because it’s my last day of work before break and I didn’t have too much to do. I’ve decided I’m going to take off work until January 2nd. (I have a few small things to do such as updating my website and getting things together for my assistant who will be starting in January, but not much.) I’m going to spend my break reading, watching movies, hanging out with friends, making a plan of action for querying World on a String, working out, organizing my room, and analyzing my reading data for the year (I am RIDICULOUSLY excited to make charts and graphs of all the books I’ve read this year).

This morning I finished up my magazine feature on saving money on your dog, and I finished my Territory Supply buying guide on hiking boots under $100. I had a meeting with an online retailer of board games that needs a marketing copywriter (it went well!) and then my grandpa, dad, and Joshua and I went out to lunch at a local pizza place because we didn’t have any food at home that wasn’t dessert.

The pizza was really good, but we didn’t get home until 2:30. I finished up my feature for Blue Ridge Country Magazine on Sleepy Hollow Gardens and got that submitted. Then I wrote a blog post for PetFirst Pet Insurance, one of the new clients I signed with this week, on how to keep your outdoor dog safe and warm during the winter. This wasn’t part of my plan for the day, but the post is going up on January 2nd for national pet safety day, and I didn’t want to write it next week during break–so I banged it out today, since I had time. By 5:30, I was done with work for the next twelve days!! I haven’t had a break from work that’s this long since August, when we went to Alaska.

After dinner I played the piano, played the dulcimer, and read Wild Blue Wonder by Carlie Sorosiak in one sitting. IT WAS SO DARN GOOD.

Well this was so. darn. good. It made me sob. (Shoutout to Hanne for recommending it.) I am a complete sucker for summer stories, where one summer changes everything, and this story had all the summer vibes and an amazing plot to boot. I love the Sawyer family and their camp so much! This book had such a powerful emotional impact and I absolutely loved the beautiful writing–it was a pleasure to read. Huge props for the beautiful title, too, and I also super loved the marine biology aspect of the book (I love marine biology almost as much as astronomy). Wild Blue Wonder kind of felt like a mashup of We Were Liars (E. Lockhart) and Every Soul a Star (Wendy Mass), and I loved every word of it.

“Everyone was a thousand selves in one skin.”

“I’m not the only one who thinks the world is a sweater that’s three sizes too tight.”

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(Still stuck in my head today, playing incessantly literally all day long: Mercy, Shawn Mendes.)

Here’s what I did two years ago today and one year ago today. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2018 Day 20

Another morning where I was exhausted, had zero motivation to do anything, and just wanted to stay in bed.

9:00 — managed to pull myself out of it a little by finishing my China wholesale piece, listening to Sabrina Carpenter and Shawn Mendes, and getting a super nice Christmas ecard from a client

10:00 — wrote the bulk of my magazine feature on Sleepy Hollow, the place I visited yesterday

10:45 — worked on a small paid test project for a potential client about content marketing 2019 trends

Then I went to tap class. As usual, tap was physically a killer especially since I’m still getting over my cold, but it was also just so fun! I have always loved dance so, so much. After class I came home for lunch and to apply to a few jobs, and then it was time to leave again for the library and the school. I picked the two little girls up and we went to get fro yo (it was freezing and raining, but that’s what they wanted to do to celebrate the last day of school).

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4:00 — finished working up the big batch of pitches for a new client that I’ve been chipping away at; came up with several pitches for another new client (a pet insurance company–excited to start blogging for them in 2019); and answered emails (that’s all I ever do lol)

Stuck in my head today (singing in the shower, blasting in the car, tap dancing to): Treat You Better, Shawn Mendes. (And to a lesser degree, Mercy and Nothin’ Holding Me Back are also stuck in my head.)

After dinner I started watching The Spectacular Now on Netflix but it was dumb, and I started watching some show about a performing arts school but it was dumb too, so finally I reverted to YouTube to watch this kind of thing which was very decidedly not dumb and needs to be a full Netflix series.

Here’s what I did two years ago today and one year ago today. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2018 Day 19

Today I had to drive to Blairsville and shoot some pictures for a magazine feature. I still have a cold and don’t feel great, so I slept in first and then Joshua and I got on the road. It was an hour and a half drive and we basically just went up there, took the pictures, and turned around and drove back.

When we got home, my grandpa was arriving from the airport at about the same time. We had lunch (and too many desserts) and I took a shower and a nap. Today was exhausting; in the afternoon, my legs were numb and I couldn’t move them for hours. Late afternoon I made myself sit up in bed to answer some emails and do a few small work projects. After dinner I played the piano, watched YouTube videos, and journaled/processed. Today’s song: In My Blood, Shawn Mendes.

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Here’s what I did two years ago today and one year ago today. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2018 Day 18

Again, all I wanted to do today was stay in bed alone and not talk to anyone and not do anything–especially because my cold got way worse overnight–but I couldn’t. We had haircuts first thing. I got about three inches off and added some layers. Then I got to work around 11:30.

I didn’t plan my workday hour by hour, I just did stuff; I feel like I was really unproductive and mostly just watched YouTube videos and tried not to fall asleep. But I did send LOI’s, apply to jobs, work on my dog article, brainstorm for a short content marketing piece (a paid trial piece for a potential client), work on my current product review for Territory Supply, work on some article pitches, and close on two new clients. So I guess the day wasn’t a total throwaway.

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By the end of the day I wasn’t feeling any better physically. I’m a wimp when I get a cold. It exacerbates my usual medical problems and saps my energy even more. But I did want to get out and do something fun, namely my small group’s Christmas party… but I didn’t, because I didn’t want to get anyone sick. Which is a shame, because I had a really great white elephant Christmas gift. Instead I messed around on Tumblr and YouTube and then fell into bed because I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer.

Here’s what I did two years ago today and one year ago today. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2018 Day 17

I wasn’t in the mood to get back to work this morning–I would have much rather stayed in bed alone all day–but had to anyway.

8:30 — emails, proofreading for GA Family, prepping for upcoming meetings, breakfast

9:45 — began writing my feature on how to save money on your dog; knocked out over 1,000 words of it

 11:00 — had a short first-round job interview with AuthorityHacker, worked out (this video… first time in weeks that I’ve felt good enough to get in a decent workout), took a shower, had lunch

12:20 — went to counseling (which is 45 minutes away, so it’s a big chunk of my day)

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3:00 — emails, invoices, contracts, admin stuff

3:30 — finished editing the podcast transcript I started on Friday

4:30 — worked on some article pitches

5:00 — procrastinated my way through a Territory Supply piece and then we were having dinner earlier than I thought, so I didn’t get anything done on it. Go me

After dinner my dad and I went to Marietta and walked around the square and sat in a coffee shop.

Here’s what I did two years ago today and one year ago today. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2018 Day 16

I woke up this morning feeling pretty out of it with a cold. I stayed home and listened to a Passion City Church sermon, “The Gospel Starts with GO,” which was so good and spoke directly to something specific in my life I’ve been debating about. Some of my notes:

Acts 10, 35 A.D. Joppa was more than a day’s walk. In our world, we have the opportunity to go–we no longer have to walk from town to town–but we often hesitate. Peter shared the Gospel with Cornelius’ family, Gentiles, and history was changed because Peter went. You have a moment of clarity hearing the voice of God, and clarity leads to conviction. When you feel it, look at Scripture to make sure your feelings align with truth. Seeing and believing lead to going.

Clarity –> conviction –> courage. 

But often, the space between conviction and courage is a valley that some people never cross. See it, believe it, take the step. The enemy wants to tell you the valley is filled with your failure, but that’s not true. It’s filled with your inaction. Have courage to do something with your conviction. Decide you’re done living in that zone where you’re worried about the outcome, and just trust Him and take a step. 

Our world elevates preference over obedience, but that’s not how it should be. The enemy wants to sell us less that feels like more–but if you prioritize your preference, you’ll wake up each day and realize you chose less. Following God takes us down a path of more and better. Choose go instead of no. Embrace obedience. See it, believe it, then do something with it. Gospel. Don’t let the gospel stop with you; if you do, the world won’t change. As your excuses line up, the valley gets deeper. Take the step. It’s worth it. God is going to come through.

I also watched the movie Good Will Hunting on Netflix and absolutely LOVED it. It was so raw and powerful (and rated R for profanity, fair warning). I related to Will so much as he processed his past and tried to navigate his present and figure out the future in light of his past, and I was obsessed with the overall aesthetic and feel and soundtrack of the film. It was so, so, so good.

“You can do anything you want. You are bound by nothing.”

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But when I say I “loved it,” I mean I related to Will so much that it gave me Emotions™ and then I had to spend time writing and processing and almost having a panic attack. Emotions are annoying.

I cleaned my room, put away my laundry, cleaned the bathroom, had dinner, spent time listening to movie soundtracks and browsing Pinterest writing prompts, and read through World on a String for the first time in a while which made me so, so, so happy. Over Christmas break, I’ll do some final edits and make a plan for querying agents.

Here’s what I did two years ago today and one year ago today. What did you do today?