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A Year in the Life of an Optimist

So, it’s 2020.


Which means it’s time for my 2019 recap. Because that’s what all the other blogger’s are doing and…

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So, here we go.


It’s been a long year. But also a short year. It’s been hard, and fun, and painful, and joyful, and discouraging and encouraging, and sometimes there are growth spurts, but mostly, this year, growth has been coming reallyΒ slowly. In short, it was the best of years, it was the worst of years.

I created a lot of art, wrote a bit of writing, read quite a few books, discovered some lovely new music, and started learning a new instrument. There’s so much I learned and did, but all of it would be too much to write about, so here are the highlights.

The Art

I learned a lot about art last year, but I think the main think I learned is to be fearless on the page, and never give up. I experimented with some digital art, played around with a new style, and came up with some things that I really like.

I started another mural. Please pray for me. That is all I have to say about that. πŸ˜›

And I discovered some new and inspiring artists. Go check out, Tylor Hepner, Nick Sider, and Anne Olwin. πŸ™‚

The Writing

Well, let’s see. I participated in both Camp NaNoWriMo in July and the official NaNoWriMo this year. Several times I would get up early and sit at the computer just feeling like….

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My alarm would go off some time around 5:00am telling me it was time to get out of bed and write….

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But I did discover that if I started writing at 5:00am, I could write 1,000 words by 7:00am. That was pushing it, and I lost both times anyway. *sigh* Well, we can always try again next year. And my Camp NaNo story, which is actually a story I’ve been working on forever, has developed a lot, so yay!!

Ze Reading

Grace talked me into setting up a Goodreads account last year, and due to that I probably read more this year than I normally do. And I read some really good ones. Here are my favorites of 2019:

Out of Time series, by Nadine Brandes. I’ve heardΒ soΒ many people say they love this series, and everytime I saw it, I was just like,Β Oh.Β Those books.Β But then I actually read them.
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Long story short, I have a new favorite author.

The Story Raider, by Lindsay A, Franklin. In case you’ve never heard of it, this is the second book in The Weaver Trilogy. I liked the first one, but I reallyΒ liked the second one. I can’t wait till the third one comes out!

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians,Β by Brandon Sanderson. I liked this one a lot more than I thought I would. It’s the best in the series, in my opinion.

Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds,Β by Brandon Sanderson. I cried. Again.
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The Scarlet Pimpernel,Β by Baroness Orczy. If you haven’t read this book, why not? Just… just read it. Preferably before you watch the movie, if it’s not too late. That’s all.

The Music

Well, at the beginning of last year, I played saxophone in our church worship band a bit. That was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed my time with the band. But, alas, I informally quit the band. It just felt a little too stressful to be on the stage, and that made it a little harder to worship, so I needed a break. Maybe I’ll rejoin sometime. We’ll see.

Besides that, my brother helped me set up our electric drum set in the shop, so I’ve been learning the drums a bit. I haven’t practiced in a while, though. It’s so hard to find motivation/time/inspiration for these things. πŸ˜›

I also discovered some new awesome albums:

Bill Whelan: Orchestral Works. I’ve only listened to the Riverdance songs on this one, but they’re so good!

Majesty: The Worship EP, by Leeland. Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry….

Innovators,Β by Kurt Bestor and Sam Cardon. The lady I’m painting the mural mentioned above for put this one on while I was working. She’s got good taste. πŸ™‚

Woodlawn (Original Motion Picture Score),Β by Brent McCorkle and Paul Mills. Will I ever get tired of this soundtrack?
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And to wrap up this section, I would like to sum up 2019 with this song.

The Life

Wow. Lots of life things happened last year. Lot’s of life lessons….

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I also had a lot of firsts last year:

  • Got the chicken pox for the first (and hopefully last) time.
  • Ran a mile for the first time. (Not much, but it’s progress.)
  • Underwent surgery for the first time (wisdom teeth πŸ˜› ).
  • Wrote flash fiction for the first time. Gonna have to do that again. πŸ™‚

Life wasn’t easy last year. I’ve really been trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing, and I’ve hit that age where it seems people are constantly asking things like:

“So, where do you want to go with your art?”

“What do you want to do, now that you’re finished with school?”

“So, do you want to get published? or why are you writing?”

“Do you plan to go to college?”

“So, Chalice, is there anyone you’re interested in?”

And just feel like saying, “You know, I just want to learn the drums; and I want to draw what I want to draw and get paid for that somehow; and run a 5k; and spend more time with my family, and learn to love them better; no, I don’t plan on going to college, but I would loveΒ to go to South America; and I want write because I need toΒ write; and yes, there’s like a hundred people that I’m interested in, not inΒ thatΒ way, but just because I love people; and most of all I really want to get know God for myself, but the more I learn about Him, the more I realize there’s so much that I haven’t learned, and a lot of the time I just feel reeeally overwhelmed…. So does that answer your question?”

(I probably scared away half my readers with that last paragraph. 😝)

But, honestly, that’s life sometimes. It’s not always as fun and romanticized as it is in my head. I don’t always know exactly where I’m supposed to be, or if I’m doing the right thing. But, as you may have guessed from the title of this post, I’m an optimist. I can’t shake the hope that the future holds amazing things.

So that’s a little peak into my life in 2019 and going into 2020.

The Goals

I don’t do resolutions. But I do have some goals, in no particular order:

  • Publish at least 40 blog posts.
  • Finish another draft or two of my story.
  • Earn 2,000 in US dollars.
  • Okay, just kidding about that last one, though it would be nice.
  • Make art prints and get a shop going.
  • Read 50 books.

So, those are some of my goals. We’ll see how things go.

What about you? Do you have any goals/resolutions for 2020? How was your 2019? Did you discover any new books or music that you just want to scream from the rooftops about? Leave your rant in the comments (or not if you don’t feel like it)!

Until next time….

Chalice out.

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17 Replies to “A Year in the Life of an Optimist”

  1. Oh my gosh these GIFs are the BEST πŸ˜‚ I honestly just laughed my head off through this whole post.
    Also, can I just say YES Nadine Brandes is my favorite author too!? I haven’t read her Out of Time series, but I totally should because Fawkes was AMAZING!!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. lol yes he’s extremely gif-able πŸ˜‚ Ahh I want to so bad but my library turned crazy and they don’t have them!!! Oh really? Wow, now I need to read them more than ever now! Yup I’ve read Romanov-I liked Fawkes better, but it was still SUCH an amazing read! What about you?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. NADINE BRANDES yeaaaaah! Also–may I just say that Fawkes is her best book? It’s a masterpiece!

    Congrats on the running!! *wild applause* I’m a swimmer with good technique and no endurance. lol Hence I cannot run a mile. But I can do a lot of 25 or 50 yard freestyle and breaststroke sprints. *fingerguns*

    I also underwent surgery for the first time this year. (also wisdom teeth) Gotta say–I hated it. XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes!! Fawkes is pretty amazing! (How does she do it??)

      Thanks!😊 Wow! That’s awesome. I’m a pretty terrible swimmer, so I’m impressed.😁

      Oh, really? My crazy writer side was actually looking forward to surgery, because I would know how to accurately describe it in case the need ever arises in a story.😝

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy New Year! I have to say, I love your usage of GIFs. Especially in the writing section. It’s just too relatable. That’s fantastic that you participated in NaNo twice! Even if you didn’t win. I won’t even TRY to do NaNo because I am too afraid of losing. Which doesn’t really help me with my writing. Very healthy of me. I have been trying to get myself just to WRITE instead of being a perfectionist, but you know…it takes some time to work these things out with myself.
    I am glad you discovered some new books this year to love! I did as well, in particular there was House Arrest by K. A. Holt and Kate DiCamillo’s new books.
    NF’s new album The Search came out this summer and I am in love with it. πŸ™‚
    I have a fear of resolutions (the fear of trying problem again, sheesh) so I haven’t really made any. Except vague ones like I want to keep writing and reading as much as possible, and maybe get over my fears of making resolutions…or something like that.
    Great post, I enjoyed reading the recap of your year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😁 Happy new year to you too!! And thank you! Well, I would highly encourage you to try NaNo. Even though I lost, It definitely helped me grow as a writer, so I would highly recommend trying. (I might even recommend losing, too, because it keeps you humble. πŸ˜‰) I totally relate to what you’re saying, about being a perfectionist. I’m also learning to just write, even if what I’m writing is terrible. I have the bad habit of starting a story over and over because I get to the middle realize how imperfect my story is. πŸ˜› So that’s something I need to work on.
      Oh, cool, I will have to check out those books and music. (Always love discovering new books and music. 😊)
      Yeah, I don’t really like resolutions either, because they feel so binding. Like you HAVE to do them. I don’t know. Goals seem easier to achieve. πŸ˜‹ I hope you have a wonderful year of writing, reading, and conquering your fear. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very well done Chalice. I read every word and that is saying a lot for me.
    Excellent recap of 2019 and praying for an exciting, growing 2020. Love, Grandma


  5. DID YOU! SAY! ALCATRAZ! VS! THE! EVIL! LIBRARIANS!?!?!?!!?!!!!?!!! That was the very first book I read from Sanderson and I absolutely loved it! ❀
    You definitely have to read Skyward and The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson now, okay? Absolutely. You don't have a choice in this matter, you just HAVE TO. K? K. XD (unless that is, you've already read them??? And if soooooo…then YOU MUST SPEAK TO ME BECAUSE I LOVE THESE BOOKS SO MUCH asdfghjkl)!

    Also, yessss Nadine Brandes!!! I read her books for the first time in 2019 too! (Since then I've become one of her ninjas/aka streetteam members XD so yeah, I really really liked them =D).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, yes! I saw on your goodreads account that it was one of your favorites. 😁 Isn’t it so good? I love how he make the most nonsensical things meaningful and works all the things you think are completely random into foreshadowing. I haven’t read the other books you mentioned yet, so I’ll have to check them out.

      Ah, that’s so neat that you’ve become one of her ninjas! πŸ˜„ Does it take a lot of time or effort? I’ve always wanted to do something like that, but I guess I’m afraid it would take up too much time. πŸ˜›


      1. YESSSS TO ALL THOSE THINGS, Sanderson really is an amAzing writer. Definitely do check them out, they’re even better done than Alcatraz (which is like, WOW).

        Right?! I was super excited! Each author is different and will – of course – have different requirements for their street team members. But Nadine is super relaxed and lets us advertise/spread the word about her book whenever and however we want! So it’s totally up to me when I want to do a post about her and her books, and I also get an exclusive ninja email from her, as well as notifications when special events are going on that I can spread the word about or help support her books with.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I definitely will check them out some time in the future. (Probably whenever I get done with the LOTR, which might be a while. πŸ˜›)

        Oh, cool! That sounds like a lot of fun. I might have to apply sometime. πŸ™‚


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