Are you surprised? Probably not, if you read my last post. It was pre-hiatus material.
Truth is, I am in the proper mental state for a hiatus right now. And since Feb. is going to be crazy busy, it seems the right time to cut a couple of things away (namely: the internet). I believe in taking breaks when you need breaks. Amen?? Good.
When will I be back? // in March – either the first or second week.
What will you be doing on hiatus? // (unnecessary sneak-peek into my plans for Feb.)
– generally figure out life / dreams / adulthood / problems
– watch season 4 of Poldark #excited
– catch up on the RobCast (there have been some excellently titled episodes lately, and my brain is oh-so-curious)
– work on secret blog thingy (I will tell you all about it when I get back.)
– Read books (cause that’s what you do when you get off the internet, you read all the books you’ve been telling yourself you’d read)
A couple of things you should check out, in the meantime.
My friend – Kate Emmons – just launched a patron which YOU SHOULD TOTALLY CHECK IT OUT. Let me tell you, it looks amazing.
Even if patron isn’t your thing, maybe take a peak anyway, and spread the news. Chances are some of YOUR friends do do patron and would love to hear about the places Kate is going.
My other friend, Kenzie (and her friend Rosie) just launched a podcast, which YOU SHOULD TOTALLY CHECK OUT. I know they’re gonna be talking about all kinds of deep, meaningful things – cause that’s the kind of people they are.
So thrilled for them.
One last thing: If you want to know the exciting news I’ll be sharing in March, make sure you’re subscribed to my email list because I won’t be sharing it on this blog. The subscribe link is in the menu or here
I should be going to bed right now. It’s almost 10:30. But what am I doing instead? Typing out words and listening to Spotify. Typing out a blog post, more specifically.
I kinda promised to do plenty of blogging in 2019 to make up for my weird absences in 2018 but here’s a crazy truth about life: it has the ability to suck every interesting idea or feeling into a place you can’t access. In my real life, lately, I haven’t had much time for thinking or writing. My journal entries are half-finished paragraphs, and whenever I have a spare moment, instead of being able to access the vault of “stuff”, my brain decides to quit and tell me instead, “I got nothing, girl.”
All my brain wants to tell me is: you’re behind in everything, K. You’re behind in life, in adulthood, in writing, in living, in life, in speaking. You are stuck a room of your own making and the reason you can’t escape is because you can’t possibly outwit yourself. You’ll never grow out of the faults you possess. You’ll be the same forever.
They say the more you know, the more you realize, keenly, what you don’t know. I know I’ve grown a lot. But I also see now, more clearly than ever, the parts of me that aren’t so lovely to look at.
It’s so frustrating, guys – to see the “ideal person” in your head (whatever “ideal” is), but feel like you’re consistently doing the opposite of what you need to do to be that person. Yeah. . .maybe sometimes you get it right. But more often than not, you find something to complain about the moment you walk in the door after work instead of shutting your mouth and saying hello.
p.s. in case
you think this isn’t
and example from my real life,
let me assure you: it is.
It’s really hard not to get discouraged with yourself. Doesn’t it feel like you can’t write or create anything meaningful if you can’t get simple life-things right?
There’s this acoustic piece I’ve been listening to called “smile under the light.” And I’ve been thinking about that phrase as something I need to do. Smile under it all. Smile cause the light is here, and I’m here. Smile. Be here and take the next step, whatever it is.
Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and awful its ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax in the ordinary. That’s just living a heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And its breathtakingly beautiful.”
It would be redundant to say, how this year flew by! or I can’t believe it’s already over. I mean, now that it is over I feel that way, but I can remember when December felt very, very far away.
2018 was by far my hardest + most stressful year. It pushed and forced me into situations that were difficult. . .like dark-tunnel difficult. That’s not to say, this year didn’t have good times. It did. There were many. But if I had to weigh bad against good – bad would win out.
I realize I might be taking on more than I can chew here – condensing an entire year into a blog post. But people do it all the time, right? I’m sure it’s fine.
Let’s get into it, shall we?
Things I did + Things that happened
Blogging: I remember Jan + Feb as my favorite blogging months. In January, I started my first blog series – which did pretty well. I was just re-reading the comments the other day, and it was amazing how they blessed + touched me all over again. In February, I got a surprise message from Kate, asking me if I wanted to be a part of her Aspire Series. We had a conversation over Skype (imagine that!) and it was so much fun. The entire experience just mblessed me so much. It’s definitely one of my favorite 2018 memories. Also, I collaborated with Ella – which I don’t mind saying is my favorite collab to date.
– Thankfulness Thursday just might become my favorite blogging traditions.
I’m really glad I did it.
– I hit #oneyear of blogging. It was super special.
Life: I started a bullet journal and managed to keep up with it. I’m really glad I did because it is providing a lot of material for this post (‘cause uh, who remembers what movies they watched in April???)
– In April, I wrote a little over 7k for my WIP (sadly: I have not touched the book since, which is depressing I know)
– I re-read A Thousand Splendid Suns and fell in love with it all over again.
– I took a lot of time off the internet + social media, and it was really, really good. But. my blog readers might have suffered a little because of my absence (something I wish to remedy in 2019)
– I cannot tell you how amazing it is to see wildlife up close. To be driving and see a bald eagle in the tree above me. Deer in the field, and moose cruising through town in the middle of the day. I have literally seen a herd of turkeys trying to cross the hwy. It’s amazing.
– SNOW. #perksofnorthernliving
Photography: This was a memorable photography year. I traveled a bit in May/June/July, so I was able to put more interesting things in front of my lens. I say “more interesting”, because I once read somewhere that: if you want better photos, put more interesting things in front of your lens. I really like how my Instagram feed turned out this year, too.
Movies that made the cut
Defiance // A Beautiful Mind // The Interpreter // Denial // Hidden Figures // The Light Between Oceans // Into the Wild // You’ve Got Mail // The Postman // Molly’s Game // Dances with Wolves // Into the West // Bridge of Spies // And Then There Were None // Eagle Eye // Poldark seasons 1-3 (not a movie, but still. . .)
I feel like this list says I only watch historical + true story films + book adaptations. Which is not true. Mostly. Mostly, it’s just that those films are the ones that hit me and the ones I remember. Although I will say: You’ve Got Mail is quite possibly the best film that isn’t a historical + true story + book adaptation
Music I listened to most often
There would be too many songs to list here, so I made a playlist of my favorite songs + soundtracks from 2018.
Books that made the cut
✕ Everybody Always | Bob Goff
✕ Story Genius + Wired for Story | Lisa Cron
✕ The Nightingale | Kristen Hannah
✕ Snow Falling on Cedars | David Guterson
✕ And the Mountains Echoed | Khaled Hosseini
✕ Braving the Wilderness | Brene Brown
✕ Man’s Search for Meaning | Victor Frankl
I didn’t read as much this year, as I hoped too. Still, each of these books are A++ and I highly recommend them.
✕ Running is amazing for your soul.
✕ Explore more.
✕ Truth is not running away from you.
✕ You don’t need as much (stuff) as you think you need.
✕ Smaller closets are better.
✕ You think that X is the worst thing that can happen to you. Then you experience X, and you realize that although X is bad, it’s not the worst after all.
✕ You are strong. (see above)
. . .
There is only a week left in 2018, so I’m off to finish up last minute projects, go to work, and play in the fresh snow #yay.
hope your week
postscript #1 – all photos
(except the header)
|| Let’s Have a Conversation ||
• How was YOUR 2018? •What was your favorite memory this year? tell me something exiting you did/something exciting that happened. •What things are you looking forward to in 2019?
Maybe you live somewhere sunny and 75, and winter isn’t all that different from summer except that there aren’t any leaves on the trees. There’s no need to change your routine because the weather isn’t against you. But here, in the North, the weather can always be against you. Roads are icy, visibility sucks. It gets dark at 4 o’clock.
Life shifts accordingly.
Winter is a time to stay indoors, and: catch up on leftover work that got neglected during the summer. At least that’s what the next couple months look like for me. I literally had no time this summer to do anything but stress and work and run and sleep.
Oh, and eat.
I did eat.
Needless to say: I’m really looking forward to a slower season. And I’ve got a list, too. 5 things I’m doing to stay cozy + productive this winter.
Read many, many books
Reading doesn’t quite count as productive, but it fits the definition of cozy like a glove. Besides, I haven’t had nearly enough time to read this year, and there are SO MANY BOOKS I HAVEN’T READ BUT WANT TO. You understand, right?
My winter TBR includes:
– The Interpreter | Suzanne Glass
– The Girl You Left Behind (a re-read)
– Culture Making | Andy Crouch (a re-read)
– Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
I can’t commit to more than 4 books, if want to complete everything else I’m putting on this list, ha.
Learn to knit a pair of socks
This is something I’ve wanted to do for a little while, and idk, it seems like a very aesthetic winter activity. I don’t know anything about knitting with double point needles, but I found this tutorial, which uses straight needles, and it looks waaayyy more manageable than other kinds of sock knitting I’ve seen.
Grow my plant collection
If you know me, you know that I am that obsessive plant lady-type. I love the plants-hanging-from-every-nook-and-cranny aesthetic. I used to have. . .like a ton of succulents but a lot of them either died from exposure (cue: *crying face*), or I had to give them away because #reasons. Anyway, I really want to get back into – scouring thrift stores for cute pots, and getting clippings from my friends to restart a new collection in my living room.
Make/Set some long-term goals to work toward
You know the feeling when you have ideas and plans, but you can’t sit down or think about them because life is pushing you into the next day and the next? That’s how I’ve felt lately. But now that life is a little slower, I can finally do just that – write down what’s in my head, and what little steps I can do to bring them into the real world. Sticking to goals is not my strong point, but I’ve heard that writing them out is a good place to start.
Work on Neglected Photography Projects
Yeah. . .a big one. I haven’t been as intentional with photography as I really want to be. I haven’t learned very many new techniques or photographed outside my comfort zone. Although I’m quite proud of the photos I’ve taken this year (more than any other year), I know I have a long, long way to go. So…a couple of things on my list are:
– Take photos of the sky at night
– Figure out how to edit video in Photoshop
– Calibrate my monitor/color spaces for accurate color rendering
– Do a photo shoot – with people!!!
. . .
This winter is gonna be a good one, I can feel it. I’m already excited about snow (even though it is a little cumbersome when you’re trying to get to work in the morning and you gotta dig your car out). The beauty is worth it.
postscript #1 – all photos
(except the header)
|| Let’s Have a Conversation ||
• Do you have any 2018 goals you gotta finish before the 31st? •Any special winter plans? •What is your favorite “cozy” activity?
Today I’m following up on the survey I put out on my blogiversary, and answering the questions you asked. But before I do that, I want say: thank you each and every one who took time to respond and offer your critique. The responses were SO helpful to me. : ) Now, without further delay: here are the answers to your questions.
I wouldn’t say I have a “favorite color” anymore. I used to, when I was younger, tell people “forest green” or “navy” or “black”, even. But now, I say I have a favorite “color palette.” Those would include woodsy colors, flannels and light, earth tones. Think: all colors associated with fall and early summer – those are my favorite.
if you want to see my aesthetic/color preferences.
Story world you’d like to visit?
This is a hard one. Many of my favorite stories have worlds I necessarily wouldn’t want to visit. Also. I’m always relating stories – to the real world instead of imagining myself in them.
“Okay Keira,” you’re thinking, “answer the question already.”
Truth is: I can’t. Younger Me would have said, “Narnia” without hesitation, or maybe “Ranger’s Apprentice,” but Adult Me doesn’t carry the same imagination skills anymore. LOL.
Non-fiction book you’d recommend everyone to read?
This question made me laugh. I don’t have just one recommendation, I have five! I actually plan to do a blog-post on this at some point, so I will save those titles and give you just one.
Everybody, Always / Bob Geoff
Look, I know it’s a popular choice – brand-new as it is – but let me tell you this book is worth every good review and every reader’s time. It’s an easy one to start, if you’re new to non-fiction, and it’s full of insights that will blow your mind. I read it a few weekends ago, and it blessed me beyond words.
Favorite school subject (when you were in school)?
I went through at least 3 favorite subjects in school. At first it was English, then history (especially if I was reading biographies or watching films), but I also enjoyed parts of Algebra in high school. Oh, and Music too.
All those, yep.
I really depends on the day/season. Like. . .this week I tried vegan egg-nog and it was SO good I think I’m never going back to regular egg-nog.
Most beautiful place you’ve traveled to so far?
The Blue Mountains in Oregon. I didn’t actually travel to them, I drove by them, but what I saw through the window was stunning enough to make the list. Also, I think Utah a beautiful place, and I’d love to spend more time there than I did.
If you could be any animal what would you be?
A panther. Because I’d be able to effortlessly climb trees and mountains, and live in the forest, and make my home in a cave by a river.
What is your greatest dream?
Goodness I don’t know. That’s a massive question. I have at least five different “life sized” dreams, but will I do any of them? Who knows? I have so much time; I don’t have enough time.
I guess I want to live with the knowledge and the peace that whatever happens it won’t be all for nothing, that it’ll all add up to the person I become, and none of it will be empty. I want to have loads of fun, and be serious too. I want to create something(don’t know what it’ll be yet)that lives beyond me – the person. Kind of like people are still listening to James Horner’s music, even though he’s not here to create more of it. I dream that whatever comes I’ll have the courage for it, and that I’ll live up to challenges instead of folding under them.
Yes. That is all.
What is your favorite photograph you’ve ever taken?
This is also hard. And it changes. Every time I take more photos, the ones I used to think where good, suddenly aren’t. . .anymore. That’s just growth, I guess. For instance: I feel something special about the “stunning sky alert” series I’ve been doing on Instagram. I just love skies and sunrises/sunsets so much.
Many photographs I’ve taken this year are turning out to be my favorites. For instance, I really love how this one turned out.
Also, this one.
I think, for me, the most special photographs are the ones in which I fall in love with the lighting. When the lighting turns out, it means I’ve done it. : )
How are you so darn lovely?
*coughs nervously and blushes* AHEM. . .no. That’s you Grace Ann. It’s all you.
. . .
Hope you all enjoyed this, and thanks again to everyone who asked a question.
see ya soon.
postscript #1 – all photos, except
the cover, are mine
|| Let’s Have a Conversation ||
What is YOUR greatest dream? (No worries if you can’t answer the question. It’s massive, I know) • Feel free to take any of these questions and give me YOUR answer. I’d love to chat in the comments!
(a.k.a Oct. 16th – my actual blog anniversary. . .but
life is really crazy rn and I just can’t
find time to do everything. you feel me??
Can you believe it? I have been pouring out my brain on the internet for 12 freaking months. People are reading my brain. It’s crazy.
On October 16th, 2017 I smashed that “publish” button, and launched Close to Nothing. The idea had existed in my head long before, but Oct. 16 marked the start of when I wouldn’t be writing just for myself anymore, but for others. You. And since then, I’ve loved the process. Writing, for me, fuels conversation. I love conversation.
It shouldn’t be a wonder to me that people enjoy absorbing what other people create. That’s how we’re wired, anyway – for connection and meaning through art. But sometimes it still takes me back: I participate in this. I get to write stuff that people appreciate. Wow.
I feel so honored I get to write stuff you enjoy reading. And when you take time to tell me you enjoy it, wow it feels like my favorite song just came on the radio. I say on my about page that I’d still be writing even if nobody listened, but let’s face it: it’s so much better when people listen.
It’s hard to adequately express my gratitude in a post each of you will read and wonder, “Is she taking about me? Or just bloggers she knows?” I don’t want to sound sappy either, if I say: wow I love all you guys so much. I’m so grateful you take time to read and comment. I couldn’t do this without you, thank you thank you.
But sometimes clichés are true.
I realize that blogging is both personal and universal. I write for my friends (namely: you), but I also write with the knowledge that someone across the planet could read my post without me ever knowing it. Maybe that’s why I feel that typing out gratitude over the internet falls short of expressing everything I want to say.
Thank you, falls horribly short, but it’s the only words I can think of.
So. Thank you: You, for reading my posts. You are inspiring. I appreciate you more than I can say.
I decided to do a survey because, at this point, you all are probably familiar with the style/vibe of Close to Nothing, and I wanted to hear what you like and don’t like (or want to see more of). I know it’s scary to put your opinions on the interest, but I’m a friendly person, okay? So. If you’ll take 20 seconds to fill this out and let me know what I’m doing wrong / right – I’d really appreciate it!
. . .
Blogging is a joy, and I’m so glad to have reached this milestone (one year, yay!!). Here’s to many more years, because I’m not even close to being tired of this. I hope you aren’t either.
|| Let’s Have a Conversation ||
How do you celebrate your blog anniversary? • (give this newbie some ideas for next year) •What do you think about a follow-up Q+A post? Should I do one, still, or no?? • tell me your favorite thing about blogging. I bet we’re on the same page : )
Fall is absolutely gorgeous in the Northwest. People say winter is coming early, but I don’t know. I wish I had photos to show you – the orange, yellow, and rust, mixed with green when I drive the highway. I’m still wearing shorts even though it’s cold or rainy most days. Why? Because. . .I am a stubborn girl and I want to see just how long it’ll take me to give them up. AHEM. #haha
Today, I don’t have anything special to write. Just something I need to share before it leaves my brain space completely.
So, I was chatting with a co-worker last week – about the Bible. We were talking about the ways in which people reject lies. How, when, some people find out that a particular belief they have about God isn’t, after all, true; all they want to do is reject anything associated with that particular circle/denomination/group. They want to fight against that idea of God so strongly it causes them to alienate people who still believe that way. How because they’re so hurt, they just want to throw babies-out-with-bathwater. They can’t believe a person, who, is supposed to teach the character of God, instead teaches the character of Man as he tries to define God. They can’t believe they were lied to.
I told him that it’s hard sometimes, to bridge the gap between people and God. He nodded first, understandingly. But then he said something amazing.
He said: “The truth is not running away from you.”
I can’t stop thinking about it. The truth is not running away from you.
And it makes total sense. We tend to think that truth is this deep treasure, buried within the heart of the earth. Something that takes blood, sweat, and years to uncover. Something that has to be hard, or: how else would I appreciate it if I didn’t have to struggle? Yeah sure, sometimes we have to dig a little. Sometimes we have to wade through opinion to find truth. Yes, sometimes our hands come out a little dusty.
But what my co-worker pointed out was that God doesn’t put truth on the top of the shelf and dare us to reach for it without a ladder. He doesn’t label it with a different word, so we’d be confused if we found it. He doesn’t tie it to the end of a rope and treat us like cats – begging us to chase it.
No. If we truly believe that God is Father, we have to believe that He sees us as children. Children, right? Children who, probably can’t spell t-r-u-t-h if they tried, but it’s okay because He’s teaching us to spell.
And I think sometimes we get wrapped up in pursing “THE TRUTH OUT THERE” that we lose sight of “truth. . .right here in our backyard.” We want to chase truth that shouts and jumps and flashes with color. But we forget that truth is also gentle and quiet and still. It waits for you to come closer and ask it questions.
The search for truth is a wonderful, beautiful, and necessary thing. We need it. It’s the seam of our existence. But. Let’s stop telling ourselves (and others) that truth is unreachable and obscure.
Truth is near.
It is present. It isn’t running away from you.
“For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.”
*that’s Deut. 30: 10-14, guys
p.s. I can’t believe it’s been a month since I posted here last. Life has just been an insane kind of hectic, and I find myself neglecting creativity in the name of exhaustion. Not good, right? Anyway. Tell me how you are. Any exciting plans this fall?
I planned to write this and post it in May. Now what is it? Almost June? So much for life not getting in the way of well. . .life. I wrote a bit about how stressful May has been for me on Instagram already, so I won’t go into it here. But if you missed my blog posts, rest assured that I have another one in the works for next week, and I’ll try not to skip out on you guys without warning again.
It’s just that: I haven’t had the energy for blogging or writing. You understand, right?
Recently I watched this video about staying present, and wow it blessed me so much. I always knew little, mundane things weren’t really little or mundane. But really: how many times am I not paying attention? how many times am I too busy to notice?In the midst of a stressful, hectic life, there is still time to stop and recognize things that might only happen once in a lifetime. So that’s what I’m trying to do – stay and breathe. Because there’s only this moment, and then it’s gone. Forever.
// Rereading The Storyteller on whim and laughing because I’ve forgotten how much I love this book. // The feeling I get when I’ve forced myself out of a chair, and gone for a run. The air in my lungs, the renewed energy – it’s so much better than sitting still. Like I could take on the world. // Late game nights when you don’t care how stupid you look when you’re laughing so hard you can’t breathe. // Sunrise and hearing birds build nests outside my window. //
Singing at the top of your lungs when nobody’s home. #sorryneighbors
// Growing plants. I never thought I’d be a sucker for little plants (my mom has the gardening thumb), but I guess I am now. I have half dozen in my room and they’re taking over my wall, and I love them. // Going back and listening to music I loved as a teenager and finding that I still love some of it. // Finding old schoolwork in the garage. Remembering how obsessed I was with drawing + how I used to cry over math. //
“The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while the ordinary man takes everything either as a blessing or a curse.”
|| Carlos Castaneda
// Singing with your siblings all the words to Dear Evan Hansen. And laughing because we can’t sing as well as Ben Platt (I mean, we all wish we could, but whatever. . .) // s/o to librarians who comment on the books I’m checking out. And then we have a ten-second conversation about them before I leave. It’s awesome. // Reading Lisa Cron and bookmarking every. single. page. //
Denial, Hidden Figures, The Light Between Oceans
– I have no words for how amazing these films are.
Joe Zambon’s album “Love Is“ has blessed me so much I can’t even say. It’s about love, and what it means to love, and not being afraid of love. I mean, listen to the entire album, but especially this song.
Cause Love will never leave when I retreat
Love will never break the bruised reed
Love doesn’t call me a burden to bear
Love says I’m a gift that’s worth everything
Love embraces me. Love replaces fear
It’s recreating me. Love’s recreating me
|| Joe Zambon, Love’s Embrace
// When Little Brother knows a soundtrack piece so well, that he yells out “key change!” at all the appropriate moments. #proudsister // Helping Little Sister set the table, and she opens the top cabinet like a boss, and I realize that she’s growing up so fast, and that I actually don’t need to help her anymore. //
Little Sister reached up to touch my shoulders and I turned around,
“Hey, how did you get so tall?”
“I’m nine,” she said.