9 Things Wicked Tells Us About Life

Hi everyone! Hope you all have been well and keeping safe, sane, healthy and joyful!

A few months ago, I wrote a post called, “Nine Things Les Miserables Tells Us About Life”. It is still my favourite article I have written, If I’m being honest. But then I remembered Wicked, the West End and Broadway musical. The musical that I watched for the first time almost a year ago and enjoyed it to bits. The musical which contained the songs that I sang and listened to 24/7 while my brother begged me to stop. While I haven’t had the pleasure of being a part of this production, the soundtrack is absolutely amazing, just like everything else about it. And then when I was wracking my brain for an article to write, I remember that yes, just like Les Mis, Wicked has some nuggets of truth that ya’ll deserve to hear.

If you are unfamiliar with the musical, a quick little synopsis is down below.

When Dorothy famously triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West, we only ever heard one side of the story. Gregory Maguire‘s acclaimed 1995 novel, ‘Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West’, re-imagines the Land of Oz, creating a parallel universe to the familiar story written by L. Frank Baum and first published as ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ in 1900.

WICKED tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two young women who first meet as sorcery students at Shiz University: the blonde and very popular Glinda and a misunderstood green girl named Elphaba. Following an encounter with The Wonderful Wizard, their friendship reaches a crossroads and their lives take very different paths. Glinda’s unflinching desire for popularity sees her seduced by power while Elphaba’s determination to remain true to herself, and to those around her, will have unexpected and shocking consequences for her future. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.

“Packed with wit, storming songs and beautiful costumes” (The Guardian), WICKED has won more than 100 major international awards, including three Tony Awards on Broadway and two Olivier Audience Awards in the UK.

The manipulation of public opinion and those with power dictate how people think and feel

The Wizard of Oz, the ensemble who act as the public, and even Galinda (Glinda) — they all have the power to manipulate the thoughts and actions of others just by looking/sounding/acting/talking like the type of person that people like. One powerful person believes that Galinda is the good one, and the rest believe. One powerful person believes that Elphaba is the wicked one, and the rest believe. Like Galinda says, ‘Are people born wicked? Or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?’

On the other hand, Elphaba is new to the students at Shiz and to the townspeople. She looks like something they don’t like. And this escalates to her behavior becoming something that the public have been manipulated to hate: someone who is taking her chance at flying, freedom, and defying gravity, aka society’s norms. This evident theme in the musical relates even to this day in age when now more than ever, the opinions of the public majority and those with power, have been the ones that are the truth. Those who have a platform to speak out and tell the people what to think are the ones who get believed, not the ones who have actually done the research but don’t have a way of sharing it with the world.

Throughout history it has been this way. The media is also another big thing that people believe. But they have a way of twisting people’s words, and spreading lies just so spread fear so that those with power can come up with solutions to the fear that they created. Think about that for a moment.

Looks can be deceiving

Just like the wizard changed his appearance into something that would be feared or respected, he was able to get the public to believe he was someone that could make all their dreams come true. However, when he steps out from behind his great machine, Elphaba and Galinda see that he is just an ordinary man behind a facade designed to make him look more powerful and greater than he really is.

This is also somewhat true with Galinda. When we first meet her, she is all frills and popularity, and throughout the show she still is, but we get to see a different side to her; beneath all that, is someone who was yearning for an intimate friendship with someone who would encourage her to be herself.

When you justify dehumanizing someone, it becomes easy and it leads to worse things

When Doctor Dillamond is teaching his class, he suddenly finds a hateful message on his blackboard that says, ‘Animals should be seen not heard’. Before this, animals were just seen as part of the community. But as soon as this kind of talk spread around, animals became less and less valuable and less and less like the rest of them when others began to think of them as such and dehumanize them. Eventually, it became true for these animals, and they could no longer speak. Their freedom of speech had been ripped away from them because of what they looked like. The scary truth is, that is the same today. Someone who looks or acts or talks differently gets treated differently than someone who looks like the rest of the 500 people in the room.

When something becomes spoken of more often, it becomes more true. That is just like what happened in the holocaust; one powerful person was all it took to manipulate thousands of people, and he justified dehumanizing the Jews just because they looked different and had different beliefs. But what no one realises, is that everyone looks different, some just in a way that stands out more. Everyone is unique in their own special ways; which is exactly the way God made us; different. No two people are alike. We are all made special in the image of God; which doesn’t mean that we look like God, but it means that God looked at us and said, ‘I’ve created a masterpiece.’

What we believe in is worth fighting for, even when it seems like no one else supports us

Everyone’s opinion matters. Everyone’s voice matters, no matter how small or big. Elphaba decided that her fight for the rights of animals was much more important than what the majority thought. Elphaba saw pain and suffering in the lives of the minorities, and she wanted to do what was right. She saw what no one else saw; beauty in the animals. And she wanted to see equality. What other people saw was rebellion against popular opinion, and that in itself was a crime to them.

Kindness and friendship is more valuable than popularity and fame

At first, Galinda is hateful and mean towards Elphaba, shunning her just like the rest of the school. However, when Galinda chooses kindness over popularity at the party, she finds in intimate and close friendship in Elphaba that we see progress throughout the story. Eventually, we see that things have changed for Galinda when the two sing the beautiful song, ‘For Good’. Popularity and fame doesn’t always bring true friendship. It brings respect and fans, but how often do we share secrets with our fans? Kindness is the one of the most important gifts that we can ever give. Everyone needs someone to lean on; someone to listen to them and someone to listen to. I believe that Galinda truly found herself when she chose kindness over her popularity.

Don’t let yourself be dictated to, and keep getting up when you fall

Elphaba was pushed down so many times, but each time, she got back up. Like she said, ‘everyone deserves a chance to fly.’ Her drive and her strong beliefs is what got her through and it’s what gave her confidence; not the group of people standing with her supporting what she was all for. She is the perfect example of someone who had the support of no one, and yet her confidence in herself brought her to new heights. Confidence is a mindset; it’s an attitude based on belief that gets us through tough times. Negative thoughts and words aimed at ourselves and others have meaning, just like positive words and thoughts do.

Your future is unlimited

Like in the well-known song, Defying Gravity, Elphaba says that hers and Galinda’s futures are unlimited. And that is the same for all of us. Our futures are unlimited, so why restrict ourselves? If we work hard enough and if we believe in ourselves, then we can reach anything we want to. Our pasts cannot and will not dictate our futures unless we let them. In Jeremiah 29:11, God says that he has a great plan for us, to give us a future and a hope. It says nothing about our pasts, only about our futures being amazing. Even when that woman in the bible was being condemned by the people, Jesus had mercy on her, telling her she was forgiven and to let go of her past and move into a brighter future.

Sometimes some people are going to have it easier than others, but that doesn’t mean those who have to work for what they have are any less valuable

Galinda was handed everything and she became Galinda the Good. Just because she was pretty and popular at Shiz, her life was a breeze and when something or someone different came into her life, it was a huge blow for her. Just because she looked different to Elphaba, the wizard assumed that she was not on Elphaba’s side and enlisted her for his team. On the other hand, Elphaba was shunned her entire life by her own father, her sister, the wizard, her school, and everyone else. But she still rose up for what she believed in. She worked hard for what she wanted. But she still earned the name of The Wicked Witch of The West. Elphaba is just proof that sometimes, titles don’t matter. But most of the time, it means everything because the public says so. Elphaba’s heart is the most important thing. Just because no one can see her heart, doesn’t mean it’s evil. Man sees the outward appearance, but God sees the heart. It’s easy to get discouraged from doing what is right, and just doing what is easy and accepted because ‘it doesn’t matter’. But the truth is, it matters. The creator of the universe, the one who made us in his own image sees us, and it all matters to him.

If someone really loves you, they will challenge you to be yourself

When Galinda first becomes friends with Elphaba, she sings ‘Popular’, where she describes how she is going to change Elphaba to become popular. However, as the story progresses, both young women see that to be real friends, they both have to be themselves, and this is truly evident in their songs ‘For Good’ and in ‘Defying Gravity’ when they both go their own ways. However, even if they disagree on certain things and they end up separated, they still love and respect each other, and nothing has changed. They choose to love each other even with their imperfections. We see throughout the show that Galinda doesn’t stop acting perky and wearing beautiful gowns with sparkles and sequins and Elphaba doesn’t stop wearing her black and drab clothes. Even when they sing the song ‘For Good’ and they say they have both changed, their outward appearances are still the same. What is inside is what has truly changed for the better.

Someone who loves you should not try to make you into someone different. They shouldn’t try and change you. Sure, they can be honest with you to a point, but if they are pressuring you to do something you’re not comfortable with, or you feel is wrong, they aren’t true friends and you are better off without their negative impact on your life.

And those are the few nuggets of wisdom that Wicked has to share. I’m sure there are plenty more to share, and if you have seen the musical and I missed something, leave it in a comment below!

Have you seen this musical? What is your favourite song from the musical? Do you agree or disagree with what I wrote?

Stay positive!

A Threefold Chord is Not Quickly Broken {A Guest Post by Kirsten J. Foster}

“Two are better than one.” This comes from a verse in the book of Ecclesiastes, which says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.”  (Ecclesiastes 4:9 NIV)

People can do many things better alone – like certain chores and tasks – but teamwork is a better option sometimes.  Have you ever seen a sailor sail a large ship alone? Does a warlord go to conquer a city by himself? How about an organization or ministry director?  Do they do everything alone? Of course not! One person alone would never take a city by himself, a single sailor could never handle such a large ship at sea, and the director would be overwhelmed if he/she tried to handle matters alone.  These things require a team effort.

Imagine you’re hiking through the woods alone, just enjoying yourself and the nature around you.  However, you slip down a steep bank and hurt yourself. First, it is a bad idea to hike by yourself (Ecclesiastes 4:10), and second, you have no one there to assist you or get help!

However, when two or three of your friends join you for this hike, there are many great benefits:

a)     You are safer together

b)     You are less likely to meander off and get lost

c)      If one of you stumbles, the others are there to keep you steady

d)     If you come across danger, you have a better chance at fending it off than if you were alone (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

Now you have heard me talk about some of the benefits of the power of companionship, but you are probably thinking, “What does this look like in real life?”  I thought I would take some artistic liberties and give some examples of companionship that I have seen and read in movies and books.  Please note that these ideas are my own and might be different from your views.    

Bonanza’s Cartwright Family 

Stories of love, loyalty, friendship, courage, and family play a major role in this western TV show that aired in the 60’s and 70’s.  In multiple episodes, half-brothers Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe demonstrate sibling troubles, but they also show how teamwork can accomplish more than going alone.

When Little Joe needed help rebuilding a large logging flume that a group of men damaged, his family came alongside and helped him out – and they even completed the project in record time!  If Little Joe chose to work on the project alone, would he ever be able to accomplish that much?  (Fourth season, The Quest)

When Adam did not meet Little Joe at Signal Rock, what did the youngest Cartwright do?  He sent word to his family about the problem at hand, and the three of them set out to find their lot kin.  Together, they could cover more ground and have a better chance at finding Adam rather than if Little Joe searched the desert alone.  (Third season, The Crucible)

When Little Joe did not know how to handle a situation concerning a deaf girl, did he choose to fight his conscience alone?  Instead, he told his problem to Ben, who gave him careful advice on what Little Joe could do. It can be a large burden on a man to deal with stressful problems alone, but when he has a partner to share some of that burden, things usually move along much smoother.  (Second season, Silent Thunder)

Most of the time, when a fist brawl erupts and one of the brothers is in the middle of it, the other two step in.  Most of the time, it is only because the chaos is getting out of hand, but sometimes, the two will do it out of pure protection for their kin.  Three men can overtake a group better than one alone.

The Cartwright family shows us the wholesome values of family and collaboration, which we can apply to our lives.  We may not be wandering deserts in search of lost family, but we can most certainly use the example of teamwork to cover more ground as we do assorted yard work.  Building a flume to get timber down to sawmills may not be our issue, but it is handy to have some extra help when fixing a house or outbuilding. Whatever the case, this family of hard working ranchers show us that collaboration can achieve more than if we’re alone.

J. R. R. Tolkien’s Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee

 

Middle-Earth and the fate of all living things depends on a single Hobbit to stop the growing evil in the east that threatens to take over the world.  Throughout all three books, Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee go through many challenges and trials that a Hobbit could never imagine! However, through all of it, they remain friends.

Let us take a look at Sam for a moment.  He had the choice to remain in The Shire and continue living a simple life, yet he still decided to venture into the unknown with Frodo.  When things got really hard, and he had the chance to desert Frodo, he chose to keep his promise to Gandalf and remained with his friend.  Because of Sam’s choice, he was able to help protect Frodo from greedy Gollum (The Two Towers) and prevent his friend from slipping the Ring of Power on a few times.

If Frodo were to embark on such a quest alone, who knows what trouble he would run into!  Or what about those times when the ring seemingly called to Frodo, and Sam had to tackle his friend once to prevent him from making a horrible decision? (The Two Towers 2002 movie addition) 

Everything I have said here goes back to that verse in Ecclesiastes: “Two are better than one.”  Because Sam went with Frodo, he was able to help his friend prevail in many challenges and keep him accountable with the ring.  Together, the two of them demonstrate deep loyalty and outstanding partnership. 

Kirsten Foster’s Concord Mason and Daniel Roberts

When you live in the wild land of Montana Territory, I would highly recommend buddying up with someone!  Well, these two young men do just that. One being trained to live off the land and fight and the other having the knowledge of books and business, Daniel and Concord both embark on an adventure that neither of them can imagine as they both seek to discover their calling in life.

In this example, the two young men have different skills that can help the other.  If Daniel is facing a mountain lion, then Concord can protect his friend with the help of a rifle. 

On the other hand, let us say someone plans to swindle Concord in a business deal.  In that case, Daniel knows how to sniff these things out and is able to prevent his friend from falling into a troublesome trap.

The two men have very different skills, and they can each use them to help the other.  Together, the two of them stand a better chance in the rough country and lawless towns than if either went alone. 

In addition, they can help encourage and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11).  Concord deals with insecurity in life, and Daniel helps him through his insecurities by sharing encouragement and sticking by his friend’s side.

Daniel, on the other hand, has only ever dealt with an occasional stage hold up and lived in town his entire life, so living in the wilderness with the constant threat of robbers is a fearful experience for him.  However, good ol’ Concord is there to reassure and protect his friend. 

These are all good examples of what collaboration and friendship look like in our world.  However, there is a final example I would like to share. 

As a Christian, each of the three strands mentioned in Ecclesiastes 4:12 is a part of my life.  Christ is one of those three strands. He is the strongest strand in that threefold cord, so that when the two weaker ones break, He still holds us together.  Though my life may be a wreck and my family a mess, I still have Christ as my stronghold.

In Nahum 1:7, it says, “The Lord is good, a refuge and stronghold in times of trouble.”  Our friends may have walked away from us, and we may feel alone in our sufferings, but the Lord will never leave you.  It may feel like the world is crashing down around us, and we are slipping away with it, but God is holding onto you. He is that strand in the threefold cord that will never break, no matter what.  

The Conclusion 

For Christmas last year, I braided western-looking braids out of hemp cording.  Sure, one strand alone is easy to cut with a pair of scissors, but try cutting the braided cord.  It’s a lot harder, isn’t it? It is the same with companionship and collaboration. When two or three people are battling a dangerous animal, it is most likely that the animal will lose because it is outnumbered (Ecclesiastes 4:12).  Safety in numbers.

On the other hand, think about those times where you feel hurt and lost inside.  Those times where you don’t know what to do. You do not have to hide your feelings from everyone.  It can actually be dangerous sometimes to keep painful feelings bottled inside.

We should not feel like we have to cope with these things alone.  It’s good to have a shoulder to lean and cry on at times, and it feels good to know that there is someone out there who you can talk to and share your burdens with.  It feels good to know we have someone we can depend on to help us. 

Think back to what I said about Little Joe and Ben.  Little Joe could have chosen to try to solve his problems alone concerning the deaf girl, but he admitted his weakness and turned to his father for help.  With a few comforting words and wise advice from Ben, Little Joe found the encouragement and ideas he needed to solve his problem.

The power of love and friendship.

Finally, remember that God is one of those three strands in life.  He’s the strongest one that holds the other two together, even when they break.  He is the one in control and will always be by your side, no matter what.

I challenge you today to remember the amazing power in collaboration.  Sure, there are many things that you can do best alone, but there are just some things that work best when you do it with others.  Besides – it can be a lot of fun to do stuff when you’re not alone!  

And that fantastic article was written my very good friend, Kirsten Foster. I’d like to once again thank her for her contributions to my blog, and I hope you were encouraged and blessed as you read what she had to say. 🙂

The Mystery Blogger Award

Hello everyone!

I’ll try not to make it a habit to post tags too often, but I thought I’d just do this one, just so you all can find out a bit more about me since this blog is still fresh.

Thank you to the lovely Abi Lyn for tagging me for this award! ❤

First up, the rules!
1. Put the award logo/image on your blog.
2. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
3. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well. (This award was created by Okoto Enigmas.)
4. Answer the 5 questions you were asked.
5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
6. You have to nominate 10-20 people.
7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blogs.
8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question.
9. Share a link to your best post(s).

I thought I’d splatter the post with a bunch of corny gifs to spice it up a little. Alrighty, let’s get started then!

Le Questions

1. What is your favorite meal for dinner?

Oh, anything with potatoes in it. Or soup, because weirdly enough, I’m a soup addict. Or rice paper rolls. *licks lips*

Oh look, it’s Michelle!
2. What’s your favorite kind of fruit juice?

I don’t drink juice a lot, but if I had to choose, mango or orange juice is nice.

This is a very dizzying gif…
3. What is your favorite type of music?

I love all kinds of music! It depends what mood I am in. I’m usually listening to contemporary music or songs from musicals, but I love a Capella as well. I’ve currently been obsessed with the Wicked soundtrack and Rachel Platten songs.

4. What is your favorite room in the house and why?

My bedroom, because it’s comfortable and quiet, and I can sing really loud, and because our house doesn’t have a lot of rooms other than other people’s bedrooms. But I also love it in the family room when everyone is there, because it’s cozy and I love spending time with family.

5. If you could become fluent in one language in an instant, what language would it be?

I think I’d pick Tagalog (Filipino), because it’s natural to want to know your own language. If I had a second choice, I would pick French.

3 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME

  1. I’m a Hufflepuff. 36% Hufflepuff, 23% Gryffindor, 21% Ravenclaw, and 20% Slytherin.
I thought this was Ricky Gervais for a second

2. I was homeschooled all the way up to grade 10.

3. I’m secretly Hermione Granger even though I’m not really like her, and I only wrote this because I couldn’t think of another fact about me.

I nominate: (apologies if you don’t do tags)

Noah @ Life In Kyoto

Rhi @ Marshmallow Harmonies

Sarah @ Paraphernalia

Jo @ Pananaw

Kenechi Duatron @ Randomgirlsramblings

Trudy @ True Story

I also nominate all the other Hufflepuffs out there, and anyone else who would like to do this award/tag!

My questions for you

  1. What is the strangest story and/or blog post you have ever written?
  2. What is your current favourite book and why?
  3. Are you an extrovert, an ambivert, or an introvert?
  4. Would you rather have one wish granted right now, or three wishes granted five years from now?
  5. What qualities do you look for in a friend?

And last but not least, my favorite post to write was 9 Things Les Miserables Tells Us About Life.

I had a lot of fun with this post, so thank you once again, Abi, for nominating me!

| Do you like doing tags? | Which Hogwarts house do you belong to? | Do you like potatoes and soup? | Will you do this tag? |

P.S The backround featured image is from Canva.com

4 Steps to Making Great Goals for 2020

Hello everyone!

During this time of year we’re getting ready to go back to school (well some of us), we’re making new goals and reaching for new stars.

Last week, I took a goal-setting class on The Young Writer’s Workshop. Because of how much it helped me, I wanted to share with you the four steps I learned to setting good goals– condensed into one post. For this class, we were setting goals for our writing journey, fiction of non-fiction. However, you can set goals for anything you would like.

The first step to making great goals is to reflect on the past year.

This is a time to focus on gratitude, milestones (big or small), achievements and anything else you would like to include. Do this in bullet points, or you can even freewrite a messy paragraph if that’s what works for you. If you can’t remember what happened, ask your family members or refer to your journal if you have one. When you’re writing this, some things to remember are:

  • Milestones/achievements
  • Obstacles that didn’t defeat you
  • Paradigm shifts you experienced (a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions– a change in mind, basically)
  • Important decisions you made
  • Key books or resources you completed

After you’ve done this, figure out what worked and what didn’t, so you can block out the unhelpful things, and continue doing the things that benefited you.

Now it’s time to reflect on where you want to be in the future.

This should be a free, one paragraph (or more, I can’t expect writers to keep it to one) reflection on what you want 2020 to look like for you. Write down everything that comes to mind, and don’t be afraid to go wild on this, this is for you, no one else.

Write this in present tense. So instead of, ‘I will wake up early every morning to read my Bible’, it should be ‘I wake up early every morning to read my Bible’. This helps to get you into this positive mindset; it’s as if you are already doing it, and we can envision ourselves already reaching our goals.

Have fun with this step!

The next step is to reflect on your current reality and where you are now in life.

I get that this may be a little discouraging, but this will be very helpful to plan your next steps. I find it helped me to face what I was feeling and allow me to do something about it, or even just realise it. If you’re not comfortable doing this, don’t feel you have to.

This is a time to get brutally honest about your current situation. Where are you now? Maybe you’re dealing with some tough things, or you’re stressed out. Whatever it is, take the time to write it down. After you’ve done this, take some time to write a short reflection on what you learned from this exercise. Maybe you’ve discovered something you’ve been hiding from, or didn’t want to realise.

Refer back to your desired destination in step 2 and use them to help you write down 2-4 big goals for the year.

Ah, here we are. We’ve come to the setting-goals step. The first step, is to make sure these goals are your own and based on your views, values, and ideas; not anyone else’s.

It’s really important to keep your goals minimal, as it can be overwhelming to have a lot of goals. After you have written down your big goals for the year, now is the time to plan out the next achievable and simple step to get you closer to your goal. Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T. Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based.

A bad example of a goal would be:

Goal: I’ll get better at blogging.

What exactly does ‘better’ mean for you? What does it look like to ‘get better’? Be specific. It’s not time measurable. Is there a deadline? This might seem obvious to you, but having the deadline right next to your goal — even if it’s just December 31st 2020 — is helpful.

A bad example of a next step would be:

Consistency equals getting better, so I’ll start being consistent on my blog.

Although it is great to be consistent, what does consistency look like for you based on what your schedule is already like? How does one ‘start’ being consistent?

For example, one of my goals is:

Goal 3: Consistently write 1 blog post per week until the end of the year.

Next step: Sit down and write down blog post ideas and based on past postings, find the day that works best for me to post. (My next step could be: make a detailed plan with deadlines as well as plan days to batch create.)

The goal is time measurable, and something that I can achieve if I work at it. The next step will get me one step closer to my goal, and is specific. When you’re setting your next steps, be sure to set ones that you can easily complete so that you can write down your next step after that. Or, ones that will set a chain reaction of consistency and habit are great. But for now, focus on one easy-to-complete next step.

If your goal was ‘Get better at blogging’, you could change it to: Complete and study (book title) on blogging by (date). Your next step could be something like: Go to the library to check for the book, and gather a few friends to study the book with me.

Once you have your goals, well done! If you did this, share your goals down below if you’re comfortable. I would love to read them and cheer you on! All of our goals will look different for each of us. Some of our next steps may include making detailed plans, but some of you might not like rigid plans and are more flexible. Do what works for you, just make sure they follow the S.M.A.R.T plan. 🙂

To review the steps:

1. Reflect on the past year.

2. Reflect on where you want to be in the future.

3. Reflect on where you are now.

4. Make your goals using the S.M.A.R.T plan.

All that said, the process of setting goals should not be stressful or overwhelming; it should be fun and motivating. If it’s starting to overwhelm you, maybe it’s time to take a step back and be kind to yourself. 🙂

I promise this is not a tactic to get you to comment; I genuinely love reading your comments, and I love responding to each and every one of them.

What are your goals and next steps in 2020?

Did you find this post helpful? Will you do these steps?

Anything else you want to comment? Leave it down below! This is a judgement free zone, and your mind is welcome. 😉

 P.S The backround featured image is from Canva.com

In Which I Fangirl Over Beck And August And Joey And Perfect Notes

You’re worth more than a thousand perfect notes.

Yes my darling Beck, yes you are.

OH. MY. WORD. How perfect is this book? I can’t describe all my fuzzy feelings for this awesome book. I read this in a couple hours and I loved every minute of it.

Zielle, you may ask, what’s with the title? Who in the potato is Beck and Joey and August and Perfect Notes? This is a book review by the way. As soon as I finished the book and I scribbled down a messy, jumbled, fan-girly review and posted it on Goodreads. My mum read it and told me not to change it up because it seems natural. Lucky for you, I edited a little bit, just so it’s at least seemingly coherent.

An emotionally charged story of music, abuse and, ultimately, hope.

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?

|The Style/Writing |

The way C.G Drews presents the story is so real and deep, it reels in the reader and makes it so relatable. I was hooked with every page and devoured the book in a couple hours.

Drews did a fantastic job of weaving in amazing and deep quotes throughout the book; they were so full of wisdom and thoughtfulness; prepare your highlighters, readers!

And let me just say, the style. WOW. The style is so beautiful and it connected with me and penetrated my very soul because it was thoughtful and broken and hurt and confused and amazing and talented, and at this point I’m just talking about Beck Keverick.

|The Charries |

I think cinnamon roll or vegan cake sorry I just had too is the only way to describe Beck. He is the kindest, most caring person ever. He was a character I could really connect with because of the way he was portrayed. His thoughts scattered throughout the book made the reading experience everything. He cares so much for August, although he tries not to show it, and it is so obvious how much he cares for Joey. He is the most gorgeous human bean.

Can I just say how much I love Joey? It breaks my heart to see how broken she is, and how her world slowly changes when she witnesses things a five year old shouldn’t witness.

And August is the sweetest human. I loved her banter, her dialogue, and her personality. And also her parents. How can I not mention her parents?

I think my heart nearly stopped when I read that part about Jan and then realised that he was still a good guy who was on Beck’s side because Beck deserves it. I also just realised that sentence will only make sense to people who have actually read the book. Jan is an amazing addition to the book.

The author crafted these characters so well, although (I know the story is not about Beck’s mother) I wanted to see a bit more layers to his mum. That’s not gonna stop me from giving this book the five stars it deserves, though.

Can you tell I LOVED this book?? Because I do. And did I mention that I love it? There are so many beautiful lines in this book. It’s all so deep and meaningful and everything ties in perfectly together and I didn’t want to put it down.

|Content |

There is a bit of swearing and insults in German and one s**t, and physical and verbal child abuse of my favourite people.

| Overall |

Overall, I totally recommend that you read this book. It’s not a very heavy read and you can finish it fairly quick, but it has some deep messages in it. To me, every sentence in the book had it’s place and purpose. It was all meaningful.

| Will you read A Thousand Perfect Notes? | Have you read this book before? | Who is your favourite character from one of your favourite books? |

Say Hello 2020 | Just some thoughts

Hello future!

2019 has come to a close, and if it had just come to a close, and it was January 1st instead of 12AM on January 4th, this would make more sense. But play along and pretend it’s January 1st.

It’s New Years Eve, (well it was, at the time I started writing this) there will be food, fireworks, noise, family and friends. It’s a small end of year for us this year, no going to visit relatives, and the whole family isn’t here. But that’s okay.

I’ve thought a little bit about 2020. There are a lot of things to add to the list of things that I could do better. A lot of things are changing. I’m moving schools. That is, I’m moving from homeschool to a big VCE public school. That’s crazy! I’ve been thinking about it, and it scares me. It excites me and I’m grateful for this opportunity, but it’s also scary to think about it. It’s a massive school with new people, it’s a different environment, and it’s the last two years of my schooling. I have that nagging thought in the back of my mind that tells me I’ll never be good enough.

This is the time of year where we usually set expectations for ourselves. It’s so great to make goals for ourselves, but this can be a time where we can compare ourselves to others. We plan vigorously for the next year, and we lift the standards for ourselves so high so that we can be better, that we feel discouraged because we can never reach them. We make goals to be like that popular girl who always looks perfect, or that guy who is good at literally everything. Been there, done that.

Maybe the reason we never reach our goals is because we set them too high. Maybe the reason we don’t change is not the fact that we actually don’t change, but we don’t notice the change. We’re too busy shooting for the highest star, that we don’t notice the star we’ve already caught. I’m not saying to shoot high, go for it! But if it’s for the wrong reason, it’s not healthy for us.

In the youth theatre that I am part of, the director always says that she’s not looking for who is the best singer, or the best actress or the best overall performer. She is looking at us as individuals, and if we are making magic to the best of our ability. Not to the ability of the best singer in the room. To the best of our ability. She looks at whether or not we’re doing our best; pouring our heart and soul into what we’re doing. She wants us to reach for OUR star and no one else’s.

I’m still learning to set goals for myself and no one else. I’m learning to set the goals that I want to set, not the goals that I think other people want me to set. I want to be the best I can be. And it’s still a learning process for me. But I’m learning to reflect on myself and what my goals as an individual are.

And I’ll get there someday. And so will you.

P.S the backround featured image is from Canva.com

What If God Hasn’t Called Me To Write?

Isn’t it great to be called by God?

Um, yes. That would be AMAZING, to hear God’s voice instructing me to do something. I for one would be so proud to be doing God’s work.

But… what if I like doing something, and I really want to keep doing it, but I haven’t been told by God to do it?

What if it isn’t really God’s plan for my life?

Hasn’t God mapped out my whole life, didn’t he know me before I was born?

In this case, I love writing. I love taking letters and crafting words, and then taking those words and crafting whole stories that occasionally make sense. And with those words, I am able to impact someone for better, or for worse.

So, I wait. I wait for God’s gentle nudge, His gentle whisper in my ear telling me that yes, His plan for me is to write.

So why haven’t I heard Him?

Sometimes it’s just really hard to know what I’m meant to be doing with my life. Is writing just MY passion, or is it GOD’S passion too? Is it wrong to do it if God hasn’t asked me to?

You might be feeling this way as well. It’s super easy to feel this way, especially when we lose our inspiration.

GOOD NEWS. A quote from the awesome Brett Harris shared with me by a friend:

“Don’t give up. You didn’t create your love for writing… God did. He placed this passion inside you. And He doesn’t make mistakes.”

Let me just expand a little. If you have a passion and a talent for writing, use it. That burning passion in your heart to craft stories, and that amazing gift you have to tell them; it’s in your heart for a reason. All God wants for His children is this: that in whatever we do, we do it for His glory.

It doesn’t matter if we love drawing, music, dancing, acting, playing sports, or writing, like Brett said, God’s plans never fail. We can be sure of that because of all the times God has made promises and kept them time and time again.

He knew us before we were born, He knows us. And that’s what is so amazing!! He knows our passions and what we love, and He uses those passions for great things. He’ll use us wherever we are, in whatever we do. All we have to do is surrender to Him. He’s given us these talents to USE for His glory. Isn’t that a calling in itself?

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, – Colossians 3:23

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31

PS. The backround featured image is from Canva.com

I Assume… {Collab With Esther | WTD Blog Tour}

Hi my smol potatoes!

Today I have a special collab for you, to celebrate the launch of Write In The Dark! Now, I know this is late, but we had some….. shall we say….. difficulties. XD

Due to my poor decision making skills, Esther came up with this collab idea, where we come up with assumptions for each other.

Without further ado, here is the collab.

Hi, my name is Esther Jackson. My dad is old, but my mom grew up in the earliest age. Tolkien’s rhymes and riddles are an inspiration. I’m pretty sure I have Aspergers, but I don’t know for sure. Second youngest, youngest girl, as many brothers as sisters. I enjoy a good cabbage shoe and any other language joke. Primarily homeschooled, but I have spent some time in small Christian schools. I make a point of trying to foolow God’s commands as much as I can. The best part of life is knowing that I don’t have to worry about dying for when Jesus wants me he will call, (until then, am I immortal?)

Favorite well known fiction book

Lord of The Rings, or anything by Tolkien.

Favorite well known non fiction (Bible excluded)

Ooh this is a hard one. I’m going to guess Anne Frank!

Favorite modern piece of music

I feel like I know this, I just can’t think of the title! I’m going to say Hillsong Glorious Day.

Favorite classical piece of music

Wild guess: Piano Sonate op. 13 “Pathetique” 2nd mov. (yes I looked up the name in my piano book)

Dream future

To serve God and then have a big family while homeschooling all the way through. And also publish books.

Dream vacation

Somewhere with family on the beach or in the woods for up to a week or more.

Dream book to write

A fantasy novel, or a historical fiction.

Favorite religious holiday

Easter.

Favorite non-religious holiday

I don’t know many holidays…. New Years Day?

Favorite Bible verse

Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” (I couldn’t think of another verse)

Those are my Esther assumptions.

What did you think? Did you have any assumptions of your own?

I’d be surprised if I got any correct.

Since we were squeezed for time, I wasn’t able to get Esther’s responses to my assumptions, so I’m asking her to respond in the comment section. 🙂 Don’t forget to check out her blog and her part of the collab!

PS. The backround featured image is from Canva.com

Over Cupcakes And Comfy Couches {WTD Blog Tour}

Hello my smol potatoes! Thanks for stopping by. So why don’t you kick your feet up, grab a mug of tea or coffee to go with these cupcakes? *hands you a cupcake* I had a lovely chat with my friend Madi over cupcakes and comfy couches, so why don’t you come along and join us?

Madi: sits in chair excitedly waiting for Zielle

Zielle: runs /skips into the room Hi!

Madi: stands up and excitedly hugs Zielle YAY, you’re here! How are you?

Zielle: hugs Madi back It’s so good to see you!! I’m so great, how are you?

Madi: It’s so good to see you too! I’m great—I made cupcakes to celebrate your new bloggy! Would you like one?

Zielle: Ooh thank you so much! I would love one. By the way, I love your house!

Madi: Thanks so much! Would you like to sit down? I have these armrest-chairs so comfy you may fall asleep. offers cupcake

Zielle: smiles and sits down Wow, these are comfy. I love the maroon colour. It matches my blog! takes cupcake Thank you!

Madi: sits down Maroon is one of my favorite colors! Ooh, really? I haven’t seen your blog theme yet! Can you show me a picture of the design?

Zielle: Really? That’s so cool! I love the design, it was actually designed by Mukta! shows you a photo | takes a bite of the cupcake This is amazing!

Madi: Oh my goodness, it looks amazing. She did a fantastic job! What does Write in the Dark mean? And thanks — it was my second time making cupcakes myself. laughs

Zielle: She did, didn’t she? grins That’s a great question! Write in the Dark is a play on words for Light in The Dark. And plus, I love writing. laughs Well, you did a really good job! smiles

Madi: Oh, I love that! And I love writing too. grins and thumbs up Will you be posting any of your writing on your blog? And thanks!

Zielle: I sure will post some! Maybe not everything, but there will be some snippets. At least, once I have a set work in progress. laughs and sinks into the chair Ooh this is nice.

Madi: Oh, I can’t wait! I remember reading your writing on your old blog and loved it. Speaking of which, will you delete your old blog or nah? And oh yes, giggles these are super comfy.

Zielle: Aw, thank you! I don’t think I will delete it. I love looking back at my old posts, even if the majority of them are cringey. laughs

Madi: Old posts are the best to look back on! Except maybe the cringey ones. laughs

Zielle: laughs as well They are! Can you recall one of your cringiest old posts? I think the majority of mine were cringey.

Madi: I remember this one post where I wanted to talk about my teeth getting pulled out… on my doll blog. And also post a bunch of random selfies I somehow tied into the post so people could see what I looked like. laughs I remember really liking your posts! What kinds of posts will you post on your new blog?

Zielle: Oh dear! laughs I feel like I remember reading a post about something like that on your doll blog before. laughs again Aw, again, that’s very sweet! I’ve always loved reading your post, I always get some kind of enjoyment and inspiration from them. 😀 On my new blog, I will be posting writing snippets (as mentioned before), life posts which include posts about my faith, writing and teenage life. 🙂

Madi: laughs Aww, thank you so much! And I literally can’t wait for those posts — they sound amazing and I love lifestyle stuff. How will they differ from your old blog, if at all?

Zielle: Thanks again! That’s a good question! They won’t differ much, but I’ll be talking a lot less about homeschool since I’ll be heading off to public school next year.

Madi: Oh, wow! Are you excited or nervous for public school?

Zielle: Both! I’m very excited to be able to have this experience, but also nervous. I’ve met all my teachers and they’re all pretty good which is great! It’s a massive school, though!

Madi: Oh my goodness, that sounds insane! I’m so nervous for you, but I bet you’ll do absolutely amazing. Will you be blogging about that, too?

Zielle: It is!! It’s so exciting, though! Yes, I will be blogging about the transition and my survival. XD

Madi: laughs Oh my gosh, I can’t wait to read about that. I hope you’ll have a great time transitioning — and of course, surviving! What’s the URL so I can visit it?

Zielle: grins I can’t wait to write about it! Thanks, Madi! smiles Oh can’t forget that! The URL is writeinthedark.home.blog.

Madi: I can’t wait for its launch! I’ll be one of your first followers. grins Have you posted on it yet or nah?

Zielle: Aw thanks!! I have made one post welcoming you guys to the blog, but that’s about it! 😀

Madi: Yay!! I can’t wait for all your posts! Thanks so much for coming. hugs Zielle

Zielle: Aw, thanks for inviting me over! I always love chatting with you. returns hug

Madi: Come over anytime — and best of luck with your new blog!!

Zielle: Thank you so much!! stands up

Madi: Want some cupcakes to go? XD

Zielle: grins Yes please!!

Madi: grins and gives her a nice case of cupcakes

Zielle: grins and takes the cupcakes Thank you! opens the front door and exits I hope to see you soon! Thanks, again!

Madi: come over anytime! waves

Well hello again! Wasn’t Madi’s house pretty? I had so much fun catching up with Madi and chatting with her over those amazing cupcakes. I think I need to get the recipe.

Madi helped me out with my blog tour even though she doesn’t do blog tours, to help celebrate the launch of my new blog! She is such a sweet and encouraging person and is also a very talented bloggy friend, so I highly recommend you check out her blog which she just started! You may also know her from Life Undefeated, her author blog, and Delightful World of Dolls.

Mukta {BORN FREE}

Enni {THE BLANKET BURRITO}

about me.png

Esther {WE’VE GOT POCKETS}

Zielle {WRITE IN THE DARK}

about me

Noah {LIFE IN KYOTO}

about me

Jo {PANANAW}

Madi {MADISON GRACE}

Thanks for joining our chat and joining me in the launch of my new bloggy!

PS. The backround featured image of those scrumptious cupcakes is from Canva.com

Welcome to Write In The Dark!

*breathes in deeply*

IT’S HERE!! Write In The Dark has finally launched.

First of all, I want to thank Noah, Enni, Mukta, Jo, Esther and Madi for taking part in my blog tour to help launch it.

Second, a HUGE thank you to Mukta from Born Free and Pique Studios for designing my lovely header! It’s so cozy and aesthetic, and I love it so much!

I should probably introduce myself, huh?

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Zielle. *bows* I’m a sixteen year old filipino girl located in Australia, who loves God, writing, acting, singing, children, potatoes, and all things music.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved crafting stories in my (many) notebooks, and still continue to do so. My favourite genres to write and read are fantasy and contemporary fiction, although I am still dabbling in genres.

Music is a big part of me, it’s there when I’m feeling down or need something to dance to.

On this blog, I will be posting writing snippets, posts about my writing, teenage and christian life, all in the aim to glorify God.

Thank you for stopping by, and I can’t wait to get to know you! Leave a comment below and introduce yourself, I LOVE chatting with you guys.

PS. The backround featured image is from Canva.com