The End of 2017: Remembering the Little Things in Life

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Me, December 2017 (after first big snowstorm of the season)

It’s hard to believe that 2017 is finally coming to an end. For some of us, we’re thrilled and can’t wait for 2018 to start. For others, we have a lot to be thankful for and just want the final days of the year to slow down so we can reflect.

This year-end reflection will be different. I don’t want to talk about the things that dominated the news cycles, the tragic stories that left us questioning our faith in people and God, and other stories that left us feeling a whole range of emotions. Instead, I want to talk about the things I learned, the reminders I received, and the lessons that helped me remember that nothing is impossible.

Good things still happen to all of us in this life. We just need to look for them.

Me Before You (audiobook version) by Jojo Moyes

In terms of writing, I have been blessed with new opportunities to find my footing again through my current work as a Contributing Writer for HEAL(er) Mag and as a Content Creator for YAYWORLD. Having the opportunity to write for an online literary magazine and content creation marketplace where stories of positivity, healing, sharing your voice and opinions, creativity, and finding light are encouraged has been an absolute gift. These opportunities helped me dig deeper, consider my audience, and find reassurance of the route I want to take in writing my first novel. I want to thank Isabelle Marsh and Colette Bellier for these amazing opportunities and encouraging me with my gift of writing and story ideas. I’ve also been blessed to tutor my pastor’s daughter in English and see her blossom in just a short amount of time and do a 3-month internship with CourseWorld.

Another great thing writing related has been reading more books. Once again participating in the Goodreads Reading Challenge, I read 38 books, 10 more from last year. Some of my favorites included The Little Paris Bookshop and The Little French Bistro by Nina George, Cross Roads by William Paul Young, Stardust by Neil Gaiman, The Mistletoe Inn by Richard Paul Evans, Her One and Only by Becky Wade, and The Tomb: A Novel of Martha by Stephanie Landsem. I also looked into eBooks more courtesy of the Kindle store, BookBub, and some great deals on Amazon. Audiobooks have recently piqued my interest, too, after receiving a free copy of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (which I hope to finish later today) in exchange for a free trial on Audible. Thanks to an unused iTunes gift card, I found 5 audiobooks that I can’t wait to start listening to in the new year! I can’t wait to see what books will be memorable for me in 2018.

David Archuleta, Time Out for Women Worcester, September 2017

On September 16th, I became a believer in the impossible coming true through God’s Grace. As some of you may know, my dream of seeing my favorite musician and role model, David Archuleta, was put on hold in 2016. Frankly, I wanted to give up altogether. Where some dreams and prayers were being answered, this one seemed to elude me. Yet, I didn’t want to quit. I somehow dared to hope in the impossible when at that point, the dream was, well, just a dream.

After 7 years of praying, hoping, and doubts, the hard-fought dream finally came true. I was blessed to see David at a conference he’s spoken and performed at in the last few years called Time Out for Women. Along with him, I was inspired by the other incredible speakers/presenters there including Brad Wilcox, Laurel C. Day, and Alissa Parker. I also made some new friends! For the first time in over a year, I was smiling, laughing, and feeling really good about myself and my relationship with God. I would drive home that evening filled with peace, closure, hope, joy, and…some much needed perspective. Now over 3 months later, I still process that day and how God took a dream I wanted so much and transformed it into an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.

But that wasn’t all that happened. Besides seeing David perform and speak…I also met him. After 7 years of seeing him just through pictures on social media and videos on YouTube…I was finally standing before him myself. He was worth the long wait. Plus…he really is one incredible man. If you ever get a chance to see him near you, go. You will be glad you did. You can check out his official website for his upcoming tour dates for 2018. Thank you, David, for being one of the people to restore my faith in goodness and in the impossible. Again, it was an honor and privilege to finally meet you. Also, a special thank you to the organizers at Time Out for Women for coming to Worcester and being awesome!

Image: Jack Moreh (

Another big highlight was a little article I wrote on LinkedIn. As I found myself becoming more and more frustrated with the job search, I decided to write about it. I didn’t think much of it because I also felt my words didn’t matter to people, that unless you were super famous no one would care. I wrote what I did to get it out of my system and finding no other way to really express myself.

The response was unexpected. About a week after posting the article, it went viral in a sense. Soon, I was overwhelmed by numerous comments, views, and likes of my post!! For those who love numbers, here are some stats as of this writing:

  • 8,287 clicks/views
  • 111 reshares

But that wasn’t what caught my attention when my article was gaining traction.

The stories did. People from all walks of life, whether a recent college graduate like myself to mid-career professionals, read my post and shared similar struggles in the comments. Others offered me encouragement and spoke about the feelings they’ve had during the job search. I even had one person say my article gave them a boost to try one more time.

I cried at my desk. That article, for me, was reassurance that my words mattered, my words impacted many people, and my words helped others. My article also helped me make a connection or two to redefine my career going forward. Like those who shared with me that they felt heard and less alone, I felt that as well. We really never know what struggles people are going through with certain things, and it takes quite a bit of courage to express those thoughts at the risk of receiving a negative reception. To all who read, commented, reached out, and so on, thank you. I am forever grateful my words were a comfort to you just as yours were to me. Please keep going.

Things will work out.

Some of my books

A few other highlights of 2017 include my best friend returning home safely from studying abroad in Italy, stepping out of my comfort zone and getting more involved in my church, and some much needed cleaning. I’ve also been checking out opportunities book and writing wise to help me get writing again, including Hallmark Publishing. I look back on this year as the year of adversity; some things fell apart but others came together.

But the biggest lesson was appreciation for the little things. After catching up with my best friend before Christmas, we spotted a gentleman playing Christmas songs on the saxophone. He was amazing! After donating some money, I found myself saying to my best friend how things in my life could be a lot worse than they were, realizing how grateful I need to be for some of the things I have. I may not have gotten everything I wanted this year, but there are people who have little to nothing right now, and they deserve as much love and compassion as everyone else. My problems will never compare to the ones others go through every single day, and that’s been one lesson I really needed to understand.

My final highlight is this blog. Over a year later and this blog is growing, had a makeover, will be looked over for further improvements, and so on. I am thankful to all of you who read and check out this blog. It is much appreciated and I hope you gain insights into your own writing life, find some books to check out, and feel comforted when times get tough and find the strength to try again.

Image: StuartMiles (

I’m not sure what 2018 will hold for me, and for once I will not worry or dwell on it. I will not make resolutions or plan anything. I do have opportunities to consider and will do my very best. I will find my heart in writing again. I will become stronger and grow from all this.

This is a time to trust in God. I’ll end this with some lyrics from one of David’s new songs, “A Little Goes a Long Way,” from his latest album Postcards in the Sky:

“Oh, it’s been a long road
To learn ‘bout the little things” (Source:

Oh it certainly has been that’s for sure!

God Bless You all this New Year’s weekend, and I wish you the best for 2018.

Happy writing!


Here Comes Winter! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Red Christmas ornaments
Image: CatCampbell (

I just want to take a moment to wish you all Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

May you enjoy time with family or friends. If you are alone this holiday season, please know that you are loved and I’m sending a hug. If you take time to help others during the holidays, thank you for volunteering your time. Make sure to take a break from writing to enjoy new books, too! Our creative brains deserve a rest and time to recharge.

Also, if you are in the Northeast like I am, please stay safe during today’s icy weather and the big snowstorm we have coming Christmas Eve into Christmas Day. If you plan on traveling, give yourself extra time.

This isn’t my final post for 2017. That will be coming next week where I reflect on the year and what I hope for in 2018. Stay tuned!

Happy reading and writing!


Writing Prompt: Holiday Season

Image: Adamophoto (

With Christmas just around the corner and Hanukkah beginning earlier this week, I thought another quick writing prompt would suffice. The holidays can be busy, and as writers, we struggle to make time, even if just a couple minutes, to write. Please consider this prompt to keep your momentum and creativity going.

Some Ideas to Get You Started:

  • Create a flash fiction piece while listening to a favorite Christmas song
  • Talk about a holiday memory from your childhood
  • Write a short story about an object like a Christmas tree, ornament, mistletoe, snow, the Menorah, or Kinara (used during Kwanzaa)
  • Write a piece of your choosing that takes place during a White Christmas
  • Talk about a family tradition that helps you usher in the holiday season
  • Create a retelling of a favorite Christmas story
  • Free write!

Happy writing!


Rediscovering Yourself During Difficult Seasons

Image: Lindsay Niles (

There are times in our lives where things suddenly become difficult to bear. These times can make us question our passions, our faith, and even who we are. We even lose sight of the things that make life joyful and beautiful.

Consider how many times these questions entered your mind:

  • If I were someone else (more outgoing, better off, etc.), would things be different for me in my life?
  • If I was interested in something that would guarantee success from the get-go without many struggles, would I be happier and less worried about my future?
  • These things (i.e. reading a book, doing a crossword puzzle, playing an instrument) make me happy. Why do I neglect them if they bring me joy?

In June 2016, I wrote about being an English major for a website called Dear English Major, founded by Alyssa Christensen. In my interview, I talked about how despite my doubts, fears, and any possible setbacks, that I didn’t regret being an English major. Writing, literature, and making connections with fellow majors and writers made me hopeful about my future and dreams. Many of you that have read this blog, my posts on LinkedIn, and other writing endeavors (especially this year), know that I am a writer, avid book lover, and also enjoy other hobbies that bring me joy, like music. I shared that story to say that the events and classes I took part in helped me remember why I was an English major in the first place, and why I loved it.

I’m sorry to say that during difficult times, I still neglect the things that make me happy for various reasons. But when I stumble upon them again, whether by accident or when I’m looking for something to do, I remember.

Every single time.

Image: Merelize (

As a writer, it can be tricky at times when we get writer’s block, lose our inspiration, face rejection after rejection, and even lose heart at one point because you worry about likes, trends, and other factors that define “success.” We stop reading books we love, the writing goes in a drawer to never be looked at again, and we compare ourselves every time we see an article or post online about someone achieving the success we crave. We also wish that we could write every day, that we were more confident in ourselves, and didn’t let other things bother or distract us.

I have found myself thinking a lot about who I am this week. How I had so many books on my shelf and tablet but didn’t take the time to read them, that I only saw the bad things in myself instead of the good that my friends and many others did, the mistakes that were made this year and last, and why I just can’t write! Turning to things that gave me joy made me feel I was just fantasizing about what may never be.

That thinking is wrong. The things we love and who we are deep down inside should inspire us to persevere during the hard times. Ground us in our truth and remember ourselves. Consider what we’ve done so far and how those things impacted other people. Taking time to think about improving our work and enhancing our voice.

So, my readers and fellow writers, please turn to the joys of your lives when you feel stuck or lost. Remember how amazing you are and the words from those who know you best. Look in your heart and think about how you can encourage other people just by being yourself. Reach out for inspiration and guidance.

You will find your way again, I assure you. You just need to put in the footwork.

Happy writing!