2013, The Year of Promise

January 1, 2014

Hey there! This is, yet again, my one time for looking back at the year as a whole and setting some goals for the next one. Firstly, as usual, I want to thank the people in my life who have been there through thick and thin, and who continue to be there for me when I screw up. My family has been extraordinary this year in lending a hand when I am up against a wall, whether that be financially or literally. My friends have been better than ever, despite many of you living far away. I love you guys, and I don’t mean that in any kind of way beside the raw appreciation of someone who would not be where they are now without your help. My incredible, understanding, and amazing girlfriend… You go above and beyond for me all the time, and this year really showed me how important two people can be to each other. I love you.

As with all times of transition, things are lost and things are gained. This year was not without its pitfalls, both those endured directly and those indirectly. I know some of you may read this, even though we have not spoken in a while… And maybe we won’t for a while yet. I also met a lot of new folks this year, and got closer to people I hardly knew, and that is rewarding in its own way. I just hope that 2014 becomes a time where all of us may blossom into the human beings we are meant to become. Fulfill your potential this year, do yourself a favor. You won’t be disappointed.

Let’s take a look back at the resolutions I made for 2013:

1. Rewatch the television show LOST.
Thanks to a chunk of my time being largely empty this past summer, I did manage to watch almost all of this amazing show again. It’s more than just a story to me, and I know only some of you will appreciate that. And that’s okay. I’m just glad I did it.

2. Get a teaching job. For real this time.
I think I can count this one as accomplished. Starting in March 2013, I started in the Bethel School District as a substitute, and it has been so rewarding. I am doing pretty much what I have always wanted to be doing, just not in my own classroom. One day that too will become a reality, but in the meantime I am truly having a blast.

3. Continue saving money and become more financially responsible.
Saving money and trying to improve my credit and everything has been an uphill climb, but one that I have been making nevertheless. Hopefully I will only continue on this route.

4. Visit a national landmark that I’ve never been to before.
I almost thought that I would miss out on this one, but over Thanksgiving, my Mom and family went to Las Vegas (no, that’s not the landmark). One of our jam-packed days on the strip, we took time to drive out to Red Rock Canyon, and it was breathtaking. I love surrounding myself in nature, and that afternoon was really an awesome experience. Oh, and we got to have In ‘N’ Out burgers, so that was nice too!

5. Become a better human being.
Looking back, this is so subjective that I can only hope I have done it justice. I have made some mistakes this year, but to err to be human. One day, I want to get to the place in my life where I can really embrace my mistakes, and learn from them. Those two things are harder to accomplish together than it sounds. Hopefully, I have done right by you this year. If I haven’t, well, give me a chance. 2014 is a new year.

Whew. I’m glad I had the forethought to limit myself to five resolutions instead of ten. I think it will help me to focus on getting them done. I’d call 2013 a success, at least for me. Now for the hard part: figuring out what goals to set for myself in the new year. What kinds of things will I aim for in 2014?

1. Focus on financial responsibility and independence.
I’m about to turn 27, I should definitely be pretty good at this by now. I’ll be doing my best to improve my credit, keep saving money, and think about my future.

2. Read at least a dozen books.
This resolution should be pretty easy to accomplish… Just looking at my history on GoodReads has shown me that I am capable of reading at or above the level I was reading in college. And I’m thankful for that. Let’s keep it up. Also: more non-fiction!

3. Donate to charity again.
I used to donate for a short time to an organization for aid in Africa, but to be honest my donation could be anything. I could spend time working with an organization for the homeless or donate to another worthy cause, or both. I want to do my best to help my fellow man (and woman!) in need.

4. Keep writing.
This one has become a little more difficult, and at times it was tough to meet my (self-imposed) bare minimum of a new poem every month. The last couple months have been so busy that I haven’t taken time to reflect. Those of you who frequent this blog know what that time means to me.

5. Get outside my comfort zone.
I think this one really fleshed itself out on that trip to Vegas. I am often not a risk-taker. It’s just not in my blood. So when confronted with a tough situation, my usual response is to retreat into myself and work things out on my own terms. This year, I want to get out there a little more, and do things I may not always be comfortable with. (Within reason)

There it is. 2014 should prove to be quite interesting. I have called it a year of promise, but really the potential lies within us, within me, to make this year better than ever. I just hope we all make it through to another resolutions post. Until then, keep coming back to read my work, and don’t be afraid to say hello… I won’t bite! 🙂

MSBQ

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2011, The Year of Revolution

December 31, 2011

“You say you want a revolution, well you know, we all want to change the world.”

Once again, it is the time of year where it is common to be nostalgic and think about the events of the past twelve months. It’s been quite a year for this planet Earth, and I think we can all agree that it won’t be one that is forgotten too easily.

As for myself, I think the overwhelming sense of déjà vu is what struck me the most. I am one test away from finally escaping graduating college for good and becoming a bonafide teacher. I’ve spent the last ten days in Laurel, Maryland visiting with family and enjoying some time off. I feel so blessed to have so many people in my life that have stuck by me, and I want each of you to know that I couldn’t have done any of this without help.

Reading through my past resolutions, it has also struck me that I have been so stubborn about where I’m going and “making things happen on my own steam” that I have fallen short of my goals. It is because I have people in my life who make me smile and tell me to get back on the horse that I have achieved everything I have thus far. So thank you. If you’re reading this, I probably talked to you or thought about you or, heck, even dreamt about you. Thank you for making 2011 a crazy year!

Let’s take a look at what I said I’d want to do last year:

1. Go to at least 5 live concerts this year.
I’m tired of always hearing about the most awesome show in the world. I WANNA GO!
While I didn’t make it to five shows, I did get a chance to see my favorite band live with my younger brother… and what an awesome show it was!

2. Talk to a publisher of some sort about putting out a collection of my work.
Who knows? Maybe someone out there will like what I have to say.
Getting your name out is harder than you would think. Thankfully, this last June, the poetry blog called Anatomy & Etymology published a handful of my work. My friend, Gabriel Gadfly, also published me via his site this year. With luck, there will be even more in the future.

3. Visit California, including the Happiest Place on Earth.
No dice here. I never got a chance to make the trip south this year. I still would like to though!

4. Help out a stranger in need.
I feel like I made a pretty distinct effort to help people out this year. Whether it was one of my students during my practicum or just talking to someone who needed an ego boost, I did my best to keep the morale high this year.

5. Graduate from SPU.
Hmmm. This continues to elude me. Those of you closest to me will know that this has been something I have truly struggled with this past year.

6. Start saving some money.
HA! Yeah, still not doing this one… But I’m getting better with what money I have, which, in its own right, is a major step in the right direction.

7. Get my own place again.
See, on this one I think I took a step backwards. In September I moved back in with my parents. They were gracious enough to accept me and have been more supportive than I probably deserve. Truth of the matter is that the stubborn, independent Capricorn side of me really just wants to spread its wings!

8. Sponsor a child in a third world country.
Check this one off the list. Twice this year, through an organization called PLAN, I donated money to education and survival needs of kids in central Africa. If I had the income to do a monthly donation, I would. This is something I think we can all benefit from as the human species.

9. Get a tattoo.
Nope. I think it’d be cool, but to be honest I think the pain issue has been as much of a factor as the financial one. Maybe this year will be the year I finally get inked?

10. Get a dog.
Thanks to the tumultuous summer I had, this one was quickly crossed off the list as not feasible. When I do have my own place, this one will be taken care of.

 

It’s funny how things work out, isn’t it? I have worked so hard and so long to become what I believe I meant and meant to become, and yet I still have a ways to go. Yeates once wrote that “education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” The more I have learned about myself, the more I have burned to become a better and brighter flame.

 

Let’s take a look at my resolutions for this year:

1. Get my bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate.
Pretty simple. I want to put SPU in the rearview mirror for good.

2. Continue to get my work published.
I really like sites like the ones who have already published me and I think it’s good for me to have the critical review.

3. Work on and/or finish the short-story I have already started.
It’s going to take some effort, but I think I’ve got what it takes.

4. Travel outside of the country (legally).
I’m not talking “Into the Wild” or anything. I just want to see somewhere new.

5. Send hand-written letters to my friends abroad.
I think there is something to be said about getting snail mail these days.

6. Read the Tolkien trilogy again.
I’m not sure how many times I’ve done this already, but I want to read it again.

7. Meet a famous author/poet face to face.
Listening to Neil Gaiman’s city hall lecture really got me inspired for this one.

8. Move back to Seattle.
I love my folks, but I feel like the emerald city is where I belong.

9. Get my own classroom.
Even if it was just as a substitute, I want to do what I love this year.

10. Start saving for my future.
I’m turning 25 in little over two weeks. It’s time I start thinking ahead.

 

Although I may not be at the local party with you, or giving a toast at your house this New Year’s, know that I am with you all in spirit. It’s my favorite holiday, after all. A new beginning, and a chance to start fresh. Have fun, and be safe, everyone.

 

MSBQ

 

Sorry for the delay, folks!

For the first time in a few years, I didn’t get my New Year’s resolutions post up on the last day of the year! I’ll be the first to admit, New Year’s Eve is my most favorite holiday. Unfortunately, mine was quite full of social obligations, and I was unable to really sit down and write these out until this very afternoon.

This is the place where I would normally say something both nostalgic and profound about my experiences, and, without naming names, talk about some of them more in-depth. This year, I will take this small opportunity to acknowledge all of the people in my life who have stood by me, even if I was trying to push them away.

It’s been an interesting twelve months.

Let’s take a look at what my resolutions for 2010 were, and then we can talk about this year’s. 🙂

 

RESOLUTIONS FOR 2010
the retrospect edition

1. Do my student teaching.
Thank goodness for this one. Not only am I already well on my way, but this very week I begin my student teaching five days a week. I was blessed to be taken under the wing of Jeff Ferderer, one of my former English teachers, and every day spent in his classroom has nothing short of remarkable.

2. Continue writing poetry, and reopen the short story idea.
As some of you can probably attest to, I certainly kept writing. This year, I wrote another couple dozen pieces of poetry, and just like I’d hoped, I struck out into the short story genre a little more. I’m still not a novelist (not by a long shot), but I like working with a new medium.

3. Don’t screw this up.
This one was about my relationship with Christine, which, I have to admit, is still going strong. She is my puzzle piece, and the one person I know I can always rely on to make me smile. I love you!

4. Reconnect with friends far away.
Sort of a double-edged sword, isn’t it? Some of my dearest friends are still in contact (almost every day), while others have become little more than a shadow. Circumstances notwithstanding, I’d say I have accomplished this one… but at a hefty cost.

5. Take a trip, preferably a spontaneous one.
Hmm… Not to say that I wasn’t spontaneous for the entirety of 2010, but I don’t think I ever went on that random trip to Ocean Shores or anything. Not having a car until halfway through the year didn’t help either. Maybe I can get this one again soon!

6. Start getting a teaching job lined up.
It is the next step, but unfortunately I have to wait to be fully certified before I can go throwing out my resume to every superintendent in western Washington. Just keep your fingers crossed that by May I’ll have something (or a few somethings) up in the air for this.

7. Do some charity work of some kind.
Can’t cross this one off my list quite yet, although my week of volunteering back in September gave me a small taste of this world.. and I enjoyed it! I gave up a week of my summer to help with SPU’s freshmen orientation, and it helped introduce me to the kids from my USEM class for fall quarter. It was a privilege to get to know them all.

8. Learn how to cook.
I have made certain strides in the culinary arts this year, many of which being pasta related. In fact, this resolution is making me hungry for some gnocchi. Mmmm… Gnocchi…

9. Lose a few pounds.
While I haven’t lost any pant sizes or anything, I feel a bit healthier this year. I try to eat healthier, and I also have been told by family and friends in the last few months that I look a bit thinner. Who knew eating salad instead of mac and cheese could have such a profound effect??

10. Pray more.
I have been trying to, but to be honest I don’t really feel any closer to God since last December. Perhaps my close encounters of the educational kind will help me see God in my students.

 

It would appear that I met at least half of my goals this past year. Not bad, amiright?

Now about this crazy 2011… I could make a joke about our apparent lack of flying cars, but we all know those won’t show up until 2015 (thanks Doc Brown). As for my view of this next year, all I can say is that I feel like I’m on the home-stretch. I’m six months from graduating college, and nine months from (hopefully!) working in my own classroom. The horizon has never felt so close.

That being said, let’s see my resolutions for this year:

 

RESOLUTIONS FOR 2011

1. Go to at least 5 live concerts this year.
I’m tired of always hearing about the most awesome show in the world. I WANNA GO!

2. Talk to a publisher of some sort about putting out a collection of my work.
Who knows? Maybe someone out there will like what I have to say.

3. Visit California, including the Happiest Place on Earth.
That’s right. Disneyland. Though, to be fair, I want to check out most of southern CA.

4. Help out a stranger in need.
Whether it is jumping a car or giving someone $20, people need to be reminded that humanity is still out there.

5. Graduate from SPU.
It kind of goes without saying, but I’ve had so many obstacles to overcome during my time at Seattle Pacific that I’m going to take it one step at a time so that at the end of the day I know it was really me who did it.

6. Start saving some money.
I have a savings account, but it rarely has more than five dollars in it.

7. Get my own place again.
I figure with getting a job somewhere this summer, I’ll probably have to strike out on my own again.

8. Sponsor a child in a third world country.
My dad has been doing it for a while now, and I think it’s a noble cause to get behind.

9. Get a tattoo.
This one returns to the list with a vengeance! My 24th birthday is just around the corner, it’s about time I get one.

10. Get a dog.
If you know me, at all, you’ll understand how huge this one is to me. I love dogs. If I have to push this one back another year, I’ll be rather disappointed. I think that with finding a new place and starting my professional career outside of college, getting a new partner in crime would be a worthy goal to accomplish.

 

I know, right? It’s crazy. I don’t know what kind of shenanigans I will get into this next year, or who I will still be able to talk to twelve months from now. All I know is that if you’re reading this right now, I hope you’ve had a safe holiday, and that I hope we can reconnect within the coming weeks. I love each of you.

Oh, and thanks for reading! 🙂

MSBQ