My Year of Hope

Once again it’s New Year’s Eve. I’m spending the evening enjoying my NYE traditions: movies (Star Wars marathon this year), snacks, writing-in the new year, and of course, plenty of introspection.

2016 has been a whirlwind ride. I suppose every year seems like it goes faster than ever, but this year truly sped by. I barely know where it went. Looking back over the year, I can’t help but wonder what I have to show for it.  There were bright moments and struggles.  I’ve made a little progress in some areas, but ultimately I can’t help feeling I’m in exactly the same place I was last year at this time.

I never make New Year’s resolutions.  I often think back over the year past and the year ahead. Sometimes I think about goals, but I refuse to make promises to myself I know I probably won’t keep.  This year, I’m choosing a different approach.  I am giving my new year a theme.

hope

I am claiming 2017 as my year of hope.  My focus in the coming days, weeks, and months will be on finding and embracing the things that give me hope: people, stories, music, activities.

This may be much more challenging than I anticipate. Hope seems to be in short supply in our world just now.  Anger, fear, and uncertainty seem to hold sway, their cacophony drowning out the subtle whisper of brighter things.  Still I will search for it. I may have to dig deep, seeking beneath the surface to find the hope that is carefully guarded in some hidden place. I’m sure I will have to continually remind myself to be on the lookout for each and every glimmer.

When I look at all my favorite books, songs, and movies, most of them have a theme of hope against insurmountable odds. All my favorite characters, my heroes, are those who hold on to hope, who create hope even in the darkest hours. I may not be very heroic, but I’m going to do my best to be that person who sees the hope.

There is never a guarantee, where hope is concerned; hope touches the edge of dream, but it is not a simple dream. It wants work, and sometimes it is bitterly painful – but no life is lived for long without it.
~Michelle Sagara, Cast in Flame

Calling it a Month – An Amazing Month

It’s the end of November, and once again, thanks to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, for those who haven’t followed me long enough to have picked that up by all my blabbering about it), I – along with so many others –  have accomplished something extraordinary.

Each year, thousands of writers (we call ourselves WriMos) from all over the world  set out to achieve the impossible. Officially, the goal is to write a novel (defined as 50,000 words or more for the purposes of quantifying the unquantifiable) in a month. What we really do, whether we achieve that 50K, keep right on going to 100K or more, or only manage to squeeze out a few thousand, is so much more.

Fueled by ridiculously high amounts of caffeine and ridiculously low hours of sleep, we struggle to put what we so vividly see in our own minds into words that will someday let you see it too (that is, after we get around to editing, tearing apart, re-editing, shredding, and editing again).  From blank pages or blank screens, we create cities, worlds, or entire universes. We populate them with characters we hope to introduce you to someday, and hope you’ll love (or love to hate) them as much as we do.  Our characters fight us, sometimes. Then we fight back, or choose to follow where they lead.

It’s a journey, a discovery, an epic adventure.  We meet others along the way, other WriMos with similar challenges but often very different paths. Some are planners – outlining (or snowflaking) every detail meticulously in advance. Other are pantsers – starting the month with a blank page and heading wherever the wind (or the main character) takes them. This year a third category has been added, the plantsers – who do a little bit of both (this is the category I fell into this year).

These are the real heroes, gathering in coffee shops and libraries, or on-line forums and chat rooms, to challenge and encourage each other. We hunt for raptors and tease the chat-room bot. We stare at the table-hogs at Starbucks until they surrender the highly-sought-after power outlets to us. We laugh over silly, you-had-to-be-there jokes (like pirates and cat-allergy warnings). When life gets in the way, and it always does, we offer shoulders and listening ears.

Most importantly, we press each other forward towards the unreachable. And we reach it. We’re exhausted, our wrists hurt, and we’re pretty sure we’re writing absolute garbage at times, but one by one we make it, with the others cheering us on.

This year in particular, I’ve been blown away by the WriMos of our region. Time after time, I’ve watched this group come together, in person or on line, and offer friendship and support in beautiful and surprising ways.

I love writing. Always have and always will. But our little community of writers has taken what would have been a wild, fun ride and turned it into an incredible adventure.

One hundred and three thousand words, and I’m calling it a month.  And not just “a” month: An Amazing Month.

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_winner

 

Altos without Shoes

The following is a poem I wrote almost exactly 20 years ago, in April of 1996.  I can’t believe it’s been that long since I was a freshman in college!  Though it was not my major, music was the thread that tied my college years together and created the best friendships and memories.  I was the lone piccolo in the tuba squad of the Kiltie Marching Band.  I started out singing Alto in Women’s Glee Club and it took me two years to garner enough courage to audition for the Alma College Choir.  That led me to my first ever plane ride and an unforgettable experience in Scotland that still makes me homesick when I think of it.  I also had the honor of being a founding member of Alma’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI), a music fraternity for women.

It is at the request of a couple of my SAI sisters that I hereby attempt to suppress my embarrassment and share this bit of silliness.  Enjoy!

PS – no disrespect at all to the other voices.  It takes all parts to make a choir!


 

Altos without Shoes

We are the Altos
Who sit on the floor
We sing really low
And our shoes are no more

The tenors are squeaky
Sopranos, they squeal
The basses are fog horns
But Altos are REAL!

We are underrated
And we wish for more
Than our steady, persistent
And monotone chore

Yes, we are those altos
Who kick off their shoes
But sometimes our music
Sure gives us the blues

Please give us some power
We want no more fluff!
You all need to know
That these girls are Tough!

They can’t live without us
Those other three parts
If we were to leave them
They’d fall all apart

So we’ll sing for ourselves
We have nothing to lose
And you’ll someday remember
Those girls without shoes!

 


© Rebecca Van Bruggen and Bound to Wonder, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rebecca Van Bruggen and Bound to Wonder with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Daybreak

I wrote this poem this morning. I wasn’t originally intending to share it, especially so soon. However, I got the strongest feeling that someone, besides me, needed to see this today. The odd thing about this poem, is it was not a bright, beautiful morning that brought this on. It’s actually pretty grey here today, and a little rainy. But for me, it is a bright day that has been too long in coming. The second in a row. And good days deserve sharing and celebrating. I hope whoever needs to see this, sees it and is encouraged. God bless you! 

DAYBREAK

Sungold light of dawn

Warms the chill from weary bones

Too long in shadow

Shining tides of song

Raise the heart

From murky depths

Today I feel strong

A warrior-poet

A bard standing straight atop a high place

Ready to uphold her kindred

In the battle below

Words shaped as a shield

Bright bulwark of hope against the dark

I shall not fear the night

In knowing its return

But stand firm in the shining

While I may

Alive

Strong

Fierce

  

 © Rebecca Van Bruggen, 9/18/2015

Kindred Dreamer

Kindred Dreamer
The Gift of Family #13

To recognize the wondrous
Takes a special sort of soul
A truly kindred spirit
Who by dreaming is made whole

There’s just a touch of magic
In every day you live
A moment made more special
By the joy and love you give

Let imagination grow
Fed on wonders yet unseen
So life might be a journey
Warmed and brightened by the dream


© Rebecca Van Bruggen and Bound to Wonder, 2013-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rebecca Van Bruggen and Bound to Wonder with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Pearl of Promise

Pearl of Promise
The Gift of Family #12

 

With your tutu and tiara
Through every day you twirl
As your daddy’s little princess
And your mommy’s darling girl

With each moment comes adventure
And something new to see
A book to read or song to sing
Or helping your family

You’re a precious pearl of promise
A jewel dear and bright
Beloved by all your family
And growing up in heaven’s light


© Rebecca Van Bruggen and Bound to Wonder, 2013-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rebecca Van Bruggen and Bound to Wonder with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Child of Laughter

Child of Laughter
The Gift of Family #11

Dearest child of laughter
With that smile, bright as dawn
You brighten all our days
When your giggle catches on

Your life’s just beginning
And potential’s yet unseen
We watch for your future
Which for now is but a dream

May you grow in God’s love
Strong of body, heart, and mind
A son of His promise
And treasure of His design


© Rebecca Van Bruggen and Bound to Wonder, 2013-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rebecca Van Bruggen and Bound to Wonder with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sister

Sister
The Gift of Family #10

A friend to share the latest chat
On our visits rare but welcome
To laugh together, trade a smile
Enjoying the comforts of home

A sidekick in adventuring
Up a tower and down rivers
In camping out beneath the stars
And riding Shivering Timbers

In all, you bless this family
Sharing your gifts of mind and art
Drawn ever closer over time
Bound as a sister of the heart


© Rebecca Van Bruggen and Bound to Wonder, 2013-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rebecca Van Bruggen and Bound to Wonder with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

To a Young Voyager

To a Young Voyager
The Gift of Family #9

The voyages of a dreamer
Flights that carry you near and far
Your scope of imagination
Draws close the distant star

The realm of possibilities
Where your visions and knowledge meet
The land where all the future’s built
Native soil to your feet

The prayers of a young believer
Will keep you fixed upon His will
While your dreams and fancies aid you
Your purpose to fulfill


© Rebecca Van Bruggen and Bound to Wonder, 2013-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rebecca Van Bruggen and Bound to Wonder with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Reflected Light

Reflected Light
The Gift of Family #8

 

Reflected in your smiling face
The light of heaven’s joyful heart
Sharing hope and laughter
When the road seems long and dark

Reflected in your quiet strength
The light of heaven’s guiding hand
Shaping mind and spirit
In your growing little men

Reflected in your caring soul
The light of heaven’s healing love
Giving help and comfort
In the haven of your home

 


© Rebecca Van Bruggen and Bound to Wonder, 2013-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rebecca Van Bruggen and Bound to Wonder with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.