Simplicity Project Progress Report And Coming Attractions

Happy Chinese New Year!

In honor of the end of the month and the start of the Chinese New Year, I’m gonna give a progress report on my Simplicity Project.

As I’ve stated before, I’ve been taking photos every day as part of my personal 365grateful project.

Here are what I consider the best photos that I took this month.

And as far as novel writing is concerned, I finally found a website where I could submit my work to have it critiqued by others in the industry. It’s called “Scribophile” and the way the website works is that once you join, you critique works from other writers in order to gain enough karma points to post your own work. Give to get.

TRIGGER WARNING ABOUT ANXIETY AHEAD. IF YOU HAVE AN ANXIETY DISORDER OF ANY SORT, PROCEED WITH CAUTION OR SKIP AHEAD.

While it was easy for me to look over the works of others and give a critique, I wasn’t quite as ready when I received my first in-depth critique. I was super-close to having an anxiety attack. Why? Because the last time I put my work out there for others to criticize, I actually had an anxiety attack and nobody was there to help me. In fact, the leader of the writing class was so unsympathetic that she told me to drop the class or else she would kick me out. I left the class crying and felt scared of her whenever we were in the same room. But thankfully, now I can be in the same room as her without wanting to head for the hills.

THIS HAS CONCLUDED THE TRIGGER WARNING

This time, I decided to take my time reading the in-depth critiques. I made a cup of chamomile, which always calms me down and kept telling myself that I needed the feedback. I took notes on what I thought I should change and ignored what I felt was right for the story. And after reading the first in-depth critique, I took a break and felt relieved. Reading the second in-depth critique was a lot easier now that I knew what to expect. I know it sounds really amateur of me to worry so much, but this was the first time I really had my work critiqued in-depth in years. So overall, I’m proud of myself for overcoming my fears and doubts towards receiving critiques from other people.

I also read one book this month and am planning to read 11 more new books in 2014. Books on my list include Strange Gods by Elizabeth Scalia and The Kick-Ass Writer: 1001 Ways to Write Great Fiction, Get Published, & Earn Your Audience. I’ve also subscribed to daily quotes from The Society of the Little Flower, a group devoted to St. Therese of Liseux, one of my patron saints for 2014. And I’ll tell you right now, St. Therese is awesome. The quotes I’ve read have given me a lot of comfort and she recently answered a prayer of mine after I prayed a novena dedicated to her.

Next month on my blog, I will be writing a series of themed posts. Every Tuesday in February will be titled “True Love Tuesday” in which I ramble about my favorite couples from television. Oh yes. We’re gonna delve into the wonderful world of shipping. You have been warned. Every Friday in February, on the other hand, will get a little more philosophical with C.S. Lewis’s The Four Loves. Entitled “Four Loves Friday,” I will be writing a series of posts focusing on one of the four loves that C.S. Lewis goes in-depth about. I’ll also be looking more into St. Paul Miki, who is another patron saint for 2014, by getting to know more about Jesuit spirituality.

I’ll end this blog with a quote from my simplicity-themed planner. (Yes, I found one at Barnes & Noble for half-off. Total score!)

Happiness is where we find it, but rarely where we seek it- J. Petit Senn, French-Swiss poet.

 

How to Portray Religion in Fiction Without Causing a Riot

It seems so easy to paint religion as evil in fiction. But in my honest opinion Evil Religion (especially corrupt Christianity/Catholicism) is a cliche that needs to DIE. Ditto with the stereotypical pedophile priests, sexy nuns, loud overenthusiastic preachers, annoying Jewish mothers, and terrorist Muslims. However, I’m not advocating that religion in fiction should be portrayed in the other extreme, with constant Jesus Symbolism and heavy-handed guilt tripping.

The best examples of fictional religious works that portray religion as good without being heavy-handed are the works of two authors: CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein. Although both of them are Christian, they have a lot of secular fans. Tolkein especially because he didn’t intend for anything in LOTR to be allegorical. (But then again he’s Catholic. Catholics and allegory go together like bread and wine.) But portraying religion in a good light isn’t limited to fantasy.

A good way to show religion without bashing it or lavishing too much praise is to have characters of different faiths and figure out a common ground. I recently learned that Pope Francis used to be on a radio show with a Protestant and a Jew and the three of them would talk about different topics. Pope Francis and the other two hosts are still friends. Another example of this is a book by Peter Kreeft called Between Heaven and Hell which has CS Lewis, Aldous Huxley, and John F. Kennedy in Purgatory discussing religion.

If you don’t want characters to debate religion or if religion isn’t part of the conflict, show how a character’s faith or lack thereof drives him. But again, don’t use the whole “If I do a lot of good things, I’ll get good karma or go to Heaven” cliche. (It’s also a heresy, but that’s another post.) Instead, show a character whose faith has benefited his life so much that he wants to show it to the world through good works and altruism. Or show a character who has a lot of problems but holds onto their faith not because it’s a crutch, but because it’s their compass, their guiding light in the storm. Priests, nuns, and ministers can be great mentor figures. Not all epic stories have to include wise old monks, after all.

A common ground in many faiths is unconditional love. Buddhists call it loving-kindness. Christianity calls it agape. Jews call it ahavat olam. In contrast to the cliches of romantic comedies, forbidden love, and sexual taboos, unconditional love shines as the ultimate form of true love. (Just watch Frozen!) If you want to include religion in fiction, figure out how that particular faith shows love.

But why write about religion at all?

It seems like society wants to keep religion out of the other things in life because religion to them gets in the way of what they want to do. To the mainstream frame of mind, religion is “holier than thou” with all of its “thou shalt nots,” funeral picketing, and conservative politics. People need to realize that for better and for worse, religion is a part of everyday life and that maybe people should look beyond the often accepted “belief” that religion should be limited to Sunday mornings in a church and nowhere else. In reality, religion is a driving force for a lot of people. And no two people from the same faith are alike. In Catholicism alone, we have hundreds of saints that act as role models whose stories are as varied as comic book superheroes. But that’s another post.

Tl;dr Religion in and of itself is NOT evil. Fiction needs to fix that.

How Job Interviews Are Like Theater Auditons: A Short Play

The names in this screenplay have been changed to preserve the confidentiality of the involved parties. Not based on actual events.

ACT 1

Scene 1

At rise:

 

It is a gray, rainy afternoon. A young woman, MARIA, enters S.L. dressed in a long black trenchcoat and black ankle boots. She runs quickly to the building’s entrance and greets the front desk receptionist, JOANNA, a slightly older woman.

MARIA

Hi. I’m here for the job interview.

JOANNA

Might I ask who you talked to?

MARA

The manager? I forgot her name.

The office manager, DONNA (late 20s, early 30s), stands up from behind her desk.  

DONNA

That would be me.

Donna leads Maria up to a conference room that looks more like an empty stage. Maria stands center stage and takes off her trenchcoat, revealing a silvery grey blazer over a green pinstripe shirt and black trousers. 

DONNA

So you’re here to interview for the assistant position of our children’s department. Please explain to me why you think you’d be good for this job.

MARIA 

It’s been a while since my last interview. To be honest, I want this job because I’m saving for grad school and I want to keep working here even after I get in. I’ve been making the most of my time by volunteering with children at the local community center. I work as a tutor, helping them out with their literature, math, and even foreign language. I’ve been doing that for the past few months. I love working with children. The best thing about working with kids is seeing the passion they have for learning anything. People think that kids are stupid and they hate learning. I think they just hate the way things are taught. Keep them engaged and immersed in activities and they learn as they go. I actually directed a couple of skits as part of my job. It was chaotic and the kids weren’t exactly Oscar-winners, but I loved them anyway. All the world is a stage, you know. In fact, this whole interview is a lot like an audition for a play. I read over the things you require me to play in this role and do my best to show that I can play this part. I have to be flexible, on my feet, ready to improvise at a moment’s notice. I have to take orders from the director, or in this case manager. I have to deal with a hectic schedule and whatever I get paid, I’ll take. Only instead of memorizing monologues, I have to monologue on the spot with answers that will hopefully cater to whatever you’re looking for. Funny thing is that after every interview I go to, I listen to A Chorus Line’s “I Hope I Get It.” And unfortunately, I end up not making the auditions. But you know what they say, fall seven times, get up eight. The show must go on. Thank you.

 

 

Dear Journal

As I’ve stated a week ago, I’m blogging in pursuit of getting my novel published. And I’ve been writing with the intent of getting published for a while. But before I started blogging and novel writing, I was writing my thoughts down in journals. It all started with one of those tiny Lisa Frank notebooks that I had in first grade. I now use composition notebooks because they remind me of one of my favorite children’s book series: Amelia’s Notebooks by Marissa Moss

There are many ways to keep a journal such as a diet journal, a budget journal to keep track of spending, and stuff like that. Right now, I’m keeping a regular journal along with a gratitude journal, a goals journal, and this blog.

Why so many journals? I tend to compartmentalize things. My regular journal is where I can be honest with myself. My gratitude journal helps me to remember the little things I appreciate about everyday life, my goals journal is to help me keep track of the big picture (while my planner takes care of the details), and this blog is sort of a progress report about everything overall.

So why do I call it a journal and not a diary? Blame it on the 90s, specifically this guy:

 

So yeah. My biggest influences for journal writing were from an obscure children’s book series and a 90s cartoon. Not exactly transcendental or high brow, but I’m a millenial.

Here’s a secret about me: I love reading famous diaries. Anne Frank, The Diary of St. Faustina, and the journals of Thomas Merton are all wonderful reads. In a way, diaries give me an insight to a person in a different way than an autobiography. Autobiographies have a way of glossing over things. Don’t get me wrong. I love autobiographies. But journals and diaries are a lot more immediate. Just like a video blog that’s done spur-of-the-moment, a diary or journal captures the thoughts of the moment. There’s no way to gloss things over when emotions are spilling over.

There is sort of a downside to the emotional honesty, though. In a lot of my journals, there are rivers of denial. It’s clear now that I wasn’t thinking clearly during those times and that I wanted to convince myself that things were going to turn out a certain way. I guess I thought that if I wrote it down in my journal, I convinced myself that I could keep things at a distance. Now I realize that complete honesty is required when it comes to journal writing.

There’s just one thing: if you do decide to keep a journal, I don’t recommend sharing your journal unless it’s done to keep yourself accountable for something. And for goodness’ sake, don’t burn your journals, no matter how lame they are! Keep them in storage, send them to the other side of the world, but for God’s sake, don’t burn them! Someday, there will come a time when you will look back on what you wrote and find that you’ve become a totally different person, a sense of closure from the bad things, and laugh at the stupid things.

So what do you think? Do you keep a journal? What are some famous diaries that you’ve read? Any recommendations?

My Journey to…What?

As you can see from the subtitle of my blog, I am a writer and I am on a journey. But a journey to what exactly?

To be frank, I am on a journey to finding my vocation, my calling. If this is sounding Catholic, it’s because I am Catholic. Catholic by birth, choice, and hopefully Catholic til the day I die. I love my faith. Part of being Catholic is figuring out your vocation or calling. Most Catholics assume this means a calling to religious life of priesthood and while I have a strong desire to be a nun, vocations go beyond choosing either religious life or marriage. All Catholics are called to holiness in their own unique way.

According to James Martin, S.J. in The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, vocation goes deeper than just a job or a career. It “extends to the kind of person we hope to become.” So what kind of person do I want to be?

First of all, I want to be a writer. Even before I had the desire to be a nun, I knew that I wanted to be a writer more than anything.

Ever since I could remember, I loved a good story and tried to write my own. It wasn’t until I discovered fanfiction that I found a good outlet. So yes, fanfic writers, everyone starts somewhere and fanfiction was mine. I wouldn’t go as far as to say my writings on fanfiction.net were any good, but there is such a thing as good fanfiction out there. Eventually, I wrote a short story at the age of 14 and wanted to turn it into a novel. I’ve been writing ever since.

In my many attempts to write a novel, I found a lot of growth in my writing. I learned what made a good story and writers who inspired me. And now I’m blogging as I edit my novel. What is this novel about?

It’s about a young woman who starts college and tries to figure out what she wants to do with her life. Like a lot of college students, she doesn’t really think things through and makes mistakes, but she learns from it. Sounds boring on paper, but then again, so does Pride and Prejudice, which can be summarized as “Girl meets boy in the 19th Century.” My current novel can be summarized as “Girl meets Life in the 21st century.” It’s not Sex and the City or Girls. There’s not a lot of partying, but just moments that help my character grow from a teenager into a young woman.

I hope I can show some stuff about the novel to you without revealing all the spoilers. Come with me as I hope to get this novel published!

Friday With a Friend!

Today, my friend Mariella Hunt. Catholic writer and editor, gives tips on how to better yourself through writing. 

In a recent edition of the Paris Review, there is an interview with author Emmanuel Carrere in which he mentions a writing exercise introduced by another author, Ludwig Borne.

The exercise goes as follows: Write for three successive days without restraint or hypocrisy. Write what comes to your mind, no matter what it is. Write what you’re feeling and keep going, keep on going, without interruption, just write.

By the end of this exercise, you will have started on the path to becoming an original writer, because you’ve written what was in your heart and not according to an outline or plan.

If you were to take up this challenge, what do you think would fill the pages of your journal? Would old monsters of your past read their heads up to devour you? Would you meet old friends or even a side of yourself you didn’t know existed?

At some point in the year 2014 I am going to try this exercise and see what my mind comes up with. I think it would be healthy for all writers to give this a shot. You might be surprised by what lies in your head forgotten over the years.

If you try it, good luck! You might write a best seller!

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Mariella Hunt is 20 years old and writes Young Adult Fiction. She blogs about her Catholic faith and fascination with art. Home is the Treasure Valley, but she dreams of seeing the world. Find her on Vimeo.

She is self-publishing her first novel, Dissonance, on 12/14/14.

24 Things To Do Whether You're 24 (or Not)

My 24th birthday is on January 13th, exactly 6 days from now. There are a couple of bucket lists out there about things to do before turning 23. One is from Wandering Onwards and another is from K. Beauregard. However, I’m 24 and am not planning to do a lot of the things on either list. I’m not sure what my vocation is yet, but since I’m currently single, I know three things for sure:

  1. Whether you decide to marry at 23 or not is your choice. Just make sure you’re doing it for all the right reasons.
  2. Being in your 20s is nothing like Sex in the City or Girls. Not everyone is out there having casual sex or sees sex as a rite-of-passage.
  3. Being in your 20s is a time of exploration but if you go out into the world without some kind of guide to help you eventually find your way, you’re gonna end up lost.

Being in my 20s has been like that famous Tolkein quote: “Not all who wander are lost.” 20somethings (especially Millenials) are at this point where they want to find their place in the world. There’s no more safety net, no more certainty about what’s around the corner. So hopefully, my list will be sort of like a list of “suggested routes” for the wandering 20something soul. This applies to anyone single, married, in a relationship, whatever.

  1. Go somewhere you have never been to before. Not every place needs a passport. Sometimes, it’s as simple as driving to a new city or taking a road trip with friends to a seaside town. Believe me when I say that travelling is awesome.
  2. Learn something new. If you haven’t gone to college, try auditing a class or check out the local community college to see what they offer. Or learn a new skill like knitting, crochet, scrapbooking, building birdhouses…Something that can test you about what you know and open your mind to cool new things.
  3. Learn how to cook. More important than baking, you need to know how to cook by now if you don’t want to depend on the local Chinese takeout and cheap ramen for your daily dinner. I learned how to cook by watching Food Network. While Food Network is mostly competition shows now, they do feature great recipes (some with videos) on their website.
  4. Find what you believe in. I don’t care if you’re atheist, agnostic, or theistic. Everyone has to believe in something or like the saying goes “You’ll fall for anything.” So figure out what you believe in and stick to it!
  5. Try a new food. Now if you have food allergies like me, this is going to be a challenge. However, it can still be done as long as you know the risks. Never had sushi before? Check out the local Japanese restaurant! (Don’t buy grocery store sushi. It doesn’t count.) More familiar with Chinese? Try an Italian grill. (Olive Garden doesn’t count!) Just try a new type of food that you might not have thought about eating before. Believe me, it’s my philosophy that if you have the ability to eat anything you want, you have the luxury to be adventurous with your palate.
  6. Start up a conversation about religion or politics with somebody from a different faith or political party. PROCEED WITH CAUTION WITH THIS ONE BECAUSE YOU COULD TRIGGER A DEBATE YOU MIGHT NOT BE READY FOR! If you’re good at holding an argument and are NOT intent on persuading someone OR forcing your opinion down someone else’s throat, try asking a person about what their faith is or what political platforms they support and then ask them why. Some people can be surprisingly open minded about religion or if you’re talking to someone with a different faith, it can establish common ground. Again, your results may vary.
  7. Volunteer for a great cause. I’m talking about more than just donating money to a cancer charity or keeping a certain cause in your thoughts. Try going out to a food bank and spending time helping the people there. Visit a hospital or a prison. Staff at a summer camp or youth retreat. Teach Sunday School at your local church. All of these are wonderful causes that are more than just a way to get a tax deduction. It helps you to look beyond your laptop or cell phone at people who are truly in need.
  8. Learn how to dance. This is different from learning something new or learning how to cook for a good reason. Dancing is so much more than twerking or grinding at a nightclub. Dancing can be beautiful, romantic, or just a lot of fun. Take a dance class, whether it be tap, ballroom, Zumba, or even ballet. Learning how to dance can actually help you in the long run. Think of how much better wedding receptions will be when you’re just as skilled at dancing as the bride and groom, if not better. Or just dance around in your pajamas to a serious guilty pleasure. It’ll make you feel like a kid.
  9. Face your fears. Do you have a phobia or something you’re really scared of like horror movies? Take a chance (with the permission of your counselor, if you have one) and take a step towards getting over that fear. If the fear comes in the form of a person, figure out what went wrong and learn from what happened. In the end, getting over your fears, whatever they are, will make you a stronger person.
  10. Find beauty in small things. We twentysomethings tend to have “first world problems.” But there are so many things we take for granted. If you ever get a chance, check out a beautiful garden or go to your local park or to somewhere you feel is the most beautiful place on earth (malls, Justin Bieber concerts, and nightclubs don’t count). Look at the flowers and the beauty of each different kind. Visit an animal shelter and see the beauty of the cats and dogs that live there. Meet with a friend who has a child and see the beauty of a new life and the innocence in a child’s eyes. The world is full of beautiful things if we only take the time to look beyond the cliched hipster Instagram sunset picture.
  11. See a play or a musical live on stage. I recommend anything from college theatre all the way to Broadway. Chances are we’ve all seen a play or musical in high school, but college, community theatre, and Broadway have a lot more production value. And a lot of the times, musicals are better seen on stage than in a film adaptation because films have the luxury of editors. Musicals are live and give a certain magic and authenticity that film can’t really capture.
  12. On the other hand, see a movie that isn’t in your target demographic. You are NEVER too old to see a Disney movie or too young to see an art house flick. Go beyond the standard action movie, bro-comedy, or chick flick. Indie movies and Disney movies are making a comeback. Either way, you’re gonna find yourself captured by the movie magic again.
  13. Watch a TV show that you might not have seen before. Last year, I started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer to get into the Halloween Spirit. It is now one of my favorite shows ever (and I’m not even done with Seasons 6 and 7 yet). Doug Walker of Channel Awesome bought all 3 seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender and fell in love with the show. There’s a lot more to TV than zombies, reality shows, and dramas about “pretty people problems.”
  14. Start saving for retirement. Being 60 seems like a long ways off from now, but then again, we never really think about growing up outside of what kind of career we want and what kind of place we want to live in. It’s good to have more than just a nest egg of emergency money. Believe me, it’ll pay off in the long run.
  15. Look for hidden treasures. I’m not talking about pirates, though. I’m talking about local neighborhood stores that you may not have noticed or drove past in order to get to Starbucks. Check out what local stores have in stock and you’ll find things you can’t find at a mall or even at TJMaxx. I went to such a store today and got some old-school style candy!
  16. Go to a convention/conference. Preferably the type where you dress up. I’m talking comic-con, anime convention, gun enthusiasts, whatever floats your boat. Meet people who share common interests. Pretend to be a different person for a weekend. You might make a new friend. Just make sure that you go with high hopes and low expectations. Sometimes, stuff can be way over-hyped.
  17. Start collecting something. I don’t care if it’s guns, stamps, books, or photos. As long as it’s not pornography or illegal drugs and doesn’t turn into something out of Hoarders, collecting stuff is a wonderful hobby. Look at The Little Mermaid. What’s something that you love that you like to see all the time? Like pressing flowers? Scrapbooking? Seashells? Find creative ways to show off your collection. It doesn’t have to be coins or stamps. I collect postcards and books.

  18. See a movie you love more than once. Seeing The Avengers twice in one year was awesome for me. It’s still one of my favorite movies. Seeing a movie more than once lets you see stuff you missed or gets you excited about seeing your favorite parts again.
  19. Sing karaoke at least once–sober! Being Filipino, I’ve been singing karaoke with my relatives ever since I could remember. Now while karaoke may be a famous bar activity, fortune favors the brave ones who dare step up to the microphone and sing “Hotel California” without a drop of alcohol in their body. No matter how off-key you think you are, singing karaoke is one of the ways people can overcome their fear of public speaking.
  20. Take an acting class. Another way of overcoming the fear of public speaking is to learn how to act. Being in theatre brings in a whole new experience. You learn how to be confident in front of a crowd, how to improvise, how to memorize long speeches (for presentations), and if you take more theatre classes, you can eventually learn how to direct or how to manage a play, learn how to sew a button, and meet a whole new group of people you’d never think of meeting anywhere else.
  21. Show others just how much you love them. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a romantic relationship or not. Everyone has friends or family out there. And oftentimes, we take those we love for granted or just tell them we love them without showing it. Not sure how? Find your love language.
  22. Forgive yourself for something you can’t stand to tell anyone else. The wonderful thing about my faith is that I believe that God can heal anything, no matter how horrible it was. If you have something that you feel was your greatest regret, talk to someone you can trust or to a priest or minister or even to God if you believe in Him. Write it down, tear it up into a million pieces. Just find a way to forgive yourself for whatever it is you think was the worst thing you’ve ever done or the worst thing that’s ever happened to you. Forgiveness the best sense of closure one can get in this world.
  23. Speaking of forgiveness, find a way to forgive that one person you hate the most. Now I don’t mean try and find them and talk to them or anything like that. In my faith, forgiveness means wanting the best for that person, wanting them to be happy and to live a happy life. If you don’t feel that you can do that, start small. I’ll give an example. After I moved from California to Texas, my California boyfriend turned into an ex when he disappeared on me. He never called, e-mailed, or texted. And then I find out he’s dating a new girl…from the girl he’s dating….who happened to be my friend. I hated both of them for a long time, but eventually, the two of them broke up. Recently, I caught up with my old friend and I found that the hatred I felt was long gone. And I could honestly say that I’d probably feel the same even if she was with my ex-boyfriend because I wanted both of them to be happy and I hoped that they were living happy lives. So even if it seems impossible, time can heal anything.
  24. Finally, I want you to find your purpose in this world. I believe that every person was created to make a difference. This is more than just figuring out your career or to devote your entire life to a marriage or a relationship. In fact, you shouldn’t. Marriage and relationships aren’t the be-all, end-all. Especially if you’re marrying for reasons other than being willing to share the rest of your life, take care of, and lay your life down for whomever you’re marrying. I’m talking about following your passions and finding your purpose through your passions. I believe that there is a way to be paid to do what one loves. Sometimes it takes some time and sometimes you have to work a job you don’t like to support it, but in the end, it’s a small price to pay compared to living your life without direction or a sense of purpose.

So that’s my 24 Things. Please tell me what you think and remember: my birthday is on the 13th!

2014: The Simplicity Project

On Tuesday, I talked about all the wonderful and not-so-wonderful things that happened in 2013. Today, I’m gonna talk about my goals for 2014.

My overall goal for 2014 is to pursue simplicity. A friend of mine tells me that I tend to overcomplicate things a lot. And I do. I like to analyze things and figure out what they mean. I like to have personal headcanons and interpretations of things I watch and books I read. I live in a world that wants to compartmentalize everything and where people want to define themselves by superficial labels.

In the end, though, I am discerning my vocation and whatever God wants me to do, I have to surrender myself to His will. So for that reason, I came up with The Simplicity Project. Based on Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, I want to pursue simplicity in the hopes of finding what God is calling me to do.

Now for me, simplicity doesn’t mean going with the flow or following the herd. My role models for simplicity are St. Therese of Liseux and Pope Francis. Like St. Therese, I want to do everything with love for God in mind and like Pope Francis, I want to go out into the world to help those who are less fortunate, even if it’s just through my prayers.

As part of my simplicity project, one of my new year’s resolutions is to take a photo every day for 2014. I looked online for photo challenges and found the best one: 365grateful, a photography project by Hailey Bartholomew that started on flickr and is now in the works to become a documentary. 365grateful is simple: take a picture of something you’re grateful for everyday. I created a new blog on Tumblr to put all my photos (plus reblogging stuff from other photography/vintage tumblogs): http://365grateful2014.tumblr.com/.

I will end this post with a prayer from St. Ignatius of Loyola because I’m reading some stuff on Ignatian spirituality as part of my discernment.

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,

my memory, my understanding,

and my entire will,

All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me.

To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will.

Give me only your love and your grace,

that is enough for me.