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My Magic Word Is Now — Wrapping Up 2018 + A GIVEAWAY!

I'll admit it, I'm the stereotypical bossy older sister. And having ten younger siblings has only made me great at it.

"Jerushah. Bring me some water."

"What's the magic word?"

"Now," I reply with snark.

"No, that's not." Nevertheless, she laughs.

As do I.
After that I use this "smart" reply a lot. Now it's kinda old, but it's still one of my favorite words (among acceptable, stupid idiots, and beyond) despite how mean some people may think it is.


But this post isn't about that sort of now. 

You know how people have a word for the year? Well, I've never done that before, but now that this year is nearly over I realize I sort of have had a word for this year. That word has been NOW.

And I don't mean as a substitute for the word please.

I mean in every day life, how I live.

In previous years I've always had something to work forward. Things in the past were always holding me back. Today was never near as interesting as what had happened or what I hoped would happen. The future always tended to disappoint. And life became a struggle, because it was much too full of only todays

But as this year started, I decided I wanted every moment to be special. I wanted to live every day as if it were amazing. Even if my plans changed, or if hardships remained, I decided I wanted peace to fill me always no matter what.

Part of this journey has been my calendar journaling, which I'll talk about in two weeks.

Most of it has been simply choosing to be happy now, realizing that I didn't have to look forward to a possibility to live life, but that life can be full now and that no matter what's happening I can make the best of it now. 

Overall, 2018 has been the best year of my life. I don't have any big  concrete reasons why — except I lived the entire year now. I loved life, even the mundane parts. I decided before going into anything that I was going to love what happened no matter what.

Before going to a party I didn't particularly want to attend I decided, "I'm going to talk to tons of friends and make sure that I forget being tired. I'm going to enjoy this."

Guess what? After leaving I realized it was some of the best fun I'd had in a long time.

We had some company over. I wanted to grumble. I was tired of people invading our space. But then I realized my attitude was neither hospitable nor loving. I decided to enjoy the time they were here and be active in their time here.

Guess what? You got it — once again, after they left, I'd felt like I'd just had one of the best nights of my life.

Every morning I get up. I read my Bible and choose to love the time, not worrying about what comes next. I write however many words I can, trying to love them all. I work all day long and don't think, "Life will start once my work day is done" because I can live life even as I work. I smile and greet the people I clean for and be happy in the fact that I can clean for them. I listen to podcasts and enjoy every moment of learning something new.

No matter what may be in my nows I have chosen to love every moment. Does this always work? Of course not. I've still cried this last year. I've still had moments of frustrations. I still worry about my future and cringe at past pains.

But overall, 2018 has been the year I've felt the most satisfied in the majority of every now. 

I've learned to better live NOW. 

I had two main goals for 2018 - to rewrite all of my Christian Dystopian series, A SERIES OF THOUGHTS, and to read at least fifty books (fiction and nonfiction).

I finished rewriting the books on December 19. Between all six novellas, I wrote 219,602 words last year (more on other writings, of course). If anyone thinks these look interesting, I love beta readers! Just send me your email and I'll send you google doc links. 

As for the fifty books . . . I have sixty-three read, including audio books, according to my Goodreads challenge. 

As this post is to wrap up 2018 here are some of my favorite posts from this year: 
I Lust You: A Romance Story
I'll Love You Unless . . .
Question Marks Are Broken Hearts
I Have It All Figured Out (And You Can, Too!)
Twenty-Two and Smiling
Spend Wisely

I did a lot of traveling, attending a federal court trial in Las Vegas, helping one of my best friends after her second daughter was born, hiking with friends, and attending an amazing writing conference then spending quality time with friends.

My Lawrence Children Serial finished posting and I wrote a behind the scenes post.

Three of my short stories — Unerella, The Piper's Last Song, and Prince Perfect — were published in two anthologies.

I've had three short stories featured on other websites: Digory Kirke's LoveMy Cleaning Girl, and Not Less and I've been interviewed at the blogs: H. L. Burke, Godly Girls For God, and Saver of Memories.

Living Like The Amish: Part 1 received the most views of any blog post I've ever written, currently at over 3000 views. Inside The Land Of The Free (published last year) is my second most viewed post with over 1500 views.

My posts with the least views for last year are Fairy Tale Riot: Published Again . . . TWICE! with forty-nine views and The Seven Drawers, Book Review with fifty-one views. All the other lesser viewed posts tend to be book reviews, I've noticed. My all-time least viewed post is one of my very first blog posts, a review on the Amazing Spider Man 2 and it has only nine views!

My posts with the most comments are Why I Love Myers-Briggs and The 5-Part Writing Special: Introducing the WIPs each with thirty-two comments.

My total blog stats are 80,813 views and I have sixty-two blogger followers and 455 email subscribers.

I know my stats aren't anything compared to many of y'alls. But I'm happy that they are growing, that people are finding my blog and enjoying and interacting with my thoughts.

I definitely plan to keep this blog alive and I have SOOOOO many exciting posts planned. I hope you all have been enjoying see my blog grow with me (from eye-blaring blog designs to radical rants to soul-searching sermons).

And one last thing — a giveaway of a signed copy of this book! I have read both the old version and the updated version of the Go Teen Writers book. It's amazing. So encouraging and a huge part of the reason why I write seriously. I'm excited to be giving one of you a paper book copy of this book! Just enter the giveaway below. I'm probably going to regret this (shipping is outrageous!), but the giveaway includes all of you outside of the USA.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How are you doing living NOW? 
How has 2018 been for you? 
Did you have a favorite post of any of my blog posts this year? I'd love to hear is was! Is there anything you'd like to see more of on my blog?
And thank you so much for being a part of my life this last year, for growing with me and helping me smile more and more. 
May we all have an amazing 2019!

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  1. May we all live in the present in 2019, amazing post, Keturah! Happy (tad bit early) New Years!!

    1. Yes, Gray! To the gift of an every present 2019 ;D Happy new, years, and thanks :D

    2. I must admit I rather like personality types. I'm a really rare type, so it is really nice to read things that people like me have written. I'll have to check out your post!

      I don't necessarily have a word for the year, but if I were to choose one it might be languages. That's my current obsession... Or maybe something about learning to understand myself better.

    3. Personality types can be so much fun when not idolized! What's your type? Rare types are fun ;) Let me know what you think when you read it ;D

      Languages! I love that!

      Trying to understand ourselves is something a lot of the world struggles to do. I'll give you something that helped me: God can't be defined in one word. He's love - yet that doesn't mean he doesn't hate (evil). He's mercy. But he's also justice. He's good. He's truth. And he's so much more. God is one, but His personality is not singular. We, made in His image, are the same. There's not just one word that defines us. There's not just one thing that makes us who we are. If we follow God, a huge part of our identity will be Him (which in itself is vast). But we are still more. We are what we do. We are what we think (read, watch, eat). Our work even, to a degree defines who we are (see my post "Work Then Rest"). The point I'm making is our personalities/ identities are vast and plural like God's. And trying to understand all of who we are will actually put us in a stale place of non-growth and frustration, because we won't be able to ever grasp all of it with introspection. Instead, we can focus more on the different things we want to become a part of our identity. Want to be more like God? Read the Bible and study to see how to become so. Want to develop an attribute? Put aside daily time to do that. Want to something to be a part of who you are? Instead of wondering who you are, become who you want to be and then you won't have to wonder but work, with God's strength to guide you on. I hope that helps. Thanks for commenting and stopping by, Rebecca!

  2. I love what you said about living life even as you work. As someone who has a 9 to 5 desk can sometimes get to where I feel that I can't do the stuff I "want" to do...but it's about being happy and content NOW.

    Can't wait to see the upcoming 2019 posts!!!

    (Also, I keep forgetting that GTW put out this one...I always think about buying it, but then forget, lol.)

    1. As a workaholic, it's a bit easier for me. I mean, I get a high off of working crazy. Yet, even for me sometimes it's hard when I would rather be doing something else. So, yeah. I'm glad you relate ;D


      (Awesome! I hope you win, but I'll probably sincerely say that to whoever enters because I seriously want everyone to have this book! haha)

  3. I loved reading this, Keturah! It was so encouraging 😊

    1. Ah, thanks for letting me know Eliza! Your comment is encouraging :)

  4. Ah this is such a great post and so relatable. I don't have a word for the year, but I'm so encouraged and inspired by what you've said.

    Also, congrats on your blog and stats and posts! I loved your Myers Briggs posts. I'm so obsessed with personality types, haha.

    1. Thanks! I don't think it's necessary to have a word for the year, and to be honest, I have always made fun of people who had words previous years. But ya know, sometimes words slap you in the face ;)

      Thanks! I'm obsessed with personality types, too. But in a crazy way where I half hate them/ half love them (thus the series, lol)

  5. Such an inspiring post, Keturah! And it’s awesome that your work has been featured in so many places! :) I hope you have a wonderful 2019!

    1. Thanks, Nicole! I didn't even realize just how many places until I compiled this post. It really tickled me, haha ;D I hope you have a great 2019, too!!!

  6. This year has been a great year! You have a lot of email followers that is so cool!

    1. Glad it's been a great year for you — yeah, it seems like a lot. But I'm pretty sure it has to be a lot of spam or something ;0

  7. Now is a great word! I hope you accomplish all of your goals.

  8. 2018 was a really crazy year for me πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    1. Oh? I hope a good crazy haha! Thanks for commenting.

  9. This was a great post, Keturah! I've started to focus a little more on appreciating each moment, and I'm already finding more enjoyment in the things I might otherwise complain about. Thank you for sharing your word for 2018, and it's so exciting to hear some of your stats for this blog! You've done great!

    1. Thanks, Olivia! And I'm so glad to hear that! It's funny how simply choosing to focus can change one's perspective so much.

  10. "Now" is a good word, especially used in the way you did. I think my word would be. . . IDK, maybe "jump" or "dare".

    1. Thanks! Oh, those are good words! I really like jump. Because not only does it sound "daring" it sound fun as in childhood memories with a jump rope ;)

  11. I have two words that could be my word of the year.
    The first is music. This has been a year of discovering and listening to a lot of new music and musicians, and of making friends through that music.
    The other is paths. I wander through life sometimes, and a book leads to another book, which leads to fun music, and that lead to music I really needed to hear. It's also lead to books that have inspired my own writing, and to an inspirational Christian website. I wander as I will, and find myself on a path that curves back to where God wants me. It's also been a year of dreams and the paths of life leading towards or away from those dreams.

    (I don't mean wandering from my faith, or anything like that.)

    1. Wow, I love that! I've discovered a lot of new music this year, too. How did you make friends through music? And what's the website you discovered? I also discovered an amazing woman name Phylicia Masonheimer this last year and her writing has so encouraged me + she's an ENTJ like me, so that's been super relatable. I love how you say that the paths have lead both toward and away from your dreams, because that's been so true for me. My IG bio describes how that's been for me this last bit of my life, "Some dreams are destined to die so that others might be born." Dead dreams are really hard, but a great way for God to let His dreams flourish instead. Thanks for your comment!

  12. I learned something really similar throughout this year, about choosing to live right now and enjoying each moment as I was in it, as opposed to living for some time in the future. For me, it happened during the school year: when I was working and going to college , it seemed like there was never enough time and I was always tired and I never had the ability to do the things that I actually wanted to do. I started living just to make it to my breaks: my days off or my school breaks. But in November, I realized that that left so much of my life where I wasn't truly living, and it was ridiculous to live only for such small snippets of time. I had to learn to--if not enjoy the moments--actually live in them. Instead of focusing always on the future, to focus on this moment, whatever's going on in it. That's something I want to carry on into my next year: making the most of every moment and living for right now, not the future.

    Awesome post!


    1. I love what you just said! Living for just the small moments is really wasting all of our larger moments. Of course, like anything, there is balance. We don't want to be like those that live life never caring about the future but only living to enjoy life not caring about the consequences of what our actions may hold (I'm mostly saying this for the sake of people that might read our comments, because I'm pretty sure both you are I aren't the type to not think of the future when we live now, but it's really about living fuller both now and tomorrow so that we don't have as many regrets too look back upon -- tying the future, present, and past all together into once neat bow that says, "I'm living purposefully". Here's to focusing on every moment of 2019, Alexa! Thanks for your lovely comment ;)

  13. First, I love that your magic word for your sisters is "now." I find that super funny, and as the oldest in a big family, I can totally relate. I think my word for this year is "pursue." I want to pursue my relationship with Christ, pursue getting my novel published, and pursue improving my talents.


    1. haha I'm so glad you relate! It's a special place to be as an older bossy sister ;)

      Pursue is great - and I love what you're pursuing! May it all work out for you :) Thanks for stopping by and commenting!


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