2018 Year in Review

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2018 is over.

This year has been a crazy ride: the completion of the college application process, the whirlwind of senior year events and grad parties and graduation itself, a two-week trip to Europe that was an incredible experience, moving into college, and completing my first semester at the college of my dreams.

On the blog, all of this change has meant sometimes spotty posts, and so I want to thank all of you so very much for sticking around and being patient with me. Now that I’ve gotten back into the groove of posting weekly, I want it to stay that way. I’m just settling in for my second semester, so we’ll see what happens as classes get going, but Saturday posts are definitely what I’m aiming for!

For now, here’s a look back at some 2018 highlights:

Most Popular Posts (By Pageviews)

Movie Review: Murder on the Orient Express

Should Christians Read Fiction?

We Need Higher-Quality Christian Art.

Transitions: Learning to Trust God Through College Applications

Why Christians Should Care About the Arts

Other Personal Favorite Posts

Why the Arts Are a Valid Career Path for Christians (are you noticing what the theme for this year was yet?)

Christian, It’s Okay to Dance.

Should We Accept Ourselves For Who We Are?

Favorite Books of 2018

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Favorite Movies of 2018

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Coming in 2019

So…here’s the truth.

One of the biggest reasons I didn’t post as much during the fall is because I’m starting to feel really burnt out on blogging.

I feel like I don’t have anything to say anymore.

It used to be, everything would inspire me to write posts. I had a list of ideas a mile long. And sure, I still have enough ideas that I could fill the blog, but…they aren’t ideas I’m passionate about. They aren’t things that motivate me to write.

I’m in a kind of limbo right now with this blog. Blogging isn’t really the cool thing anymore, but I really enjoy it. But at this point I’ve been doing it for so long (more than four years!) that I feel like I’m exhausting my niche. I’ve changed a lot since I started this blog, and I’m not really sure what direction I want to take it in now.

I guess the main thing I’m saying is that there may be a lot of experimentation in 2019. Please, give me lots of feedback! Let me know which of my posts you like and don’t like as I play around and try different things.

And right now, I need your input. Give me requests and suggestions and questions! Tell me what you want me to focus on! More movie reviews? More bookish content? More Bible studies, cultural issues, practical posts? Lifestyle? Fashion?!

Basically, the sky is the limit for 2019, and I want to know how best to serve you! So share all the thoughts in the comments!

I hope you all had a wonderful 2018, and here’s to a full and adventurous 2019!

love, grace

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2017 Year in Review

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Somehow 2017 is over, and 2018 is upon us in a little more than twenty-four hours. It simultaneously feels like this year went on forever but also flew by. I finished my junior year of high school, started my senior year, switched back to my old dance studio and performed in the Nutcracker again, went to a dance program and an academic program away from home, wrote a novella for the Rooglewood Press contest…so much happened. And the last few months have been an absolute whirlwind. I’m looking forward to, hopefully, a little more peace in the coming months, now that a few of my most stressful projects are winding down.

Anyway, it’s been an interesting year for the blog (especially the last couple of months), and I want to thank all of you for sticking around and reading everything I have to say! I hope to invest so much more into this blog in 2018.

But before we get into that, here’s a quick recap of some things from 2017:

Most Popular Posts (by pageviews)

So I Got Deferred from Princeton This Week.

Why I’m Not Dating in High School, part 1: God’s Purpose for Romance

Fun Friday: Blue Sky Tag

Why Growing Up is a Good Thing

The Broken Way: Finding Beauty in Brokenness and Suffering

Other Personal Favorite Posts

The Relationship Series (first one linked in list above):

God’s Purpose for Singleness

Avoiding Drama and Temptation

Developing Your Convictions on Dating 

4 Ways to Stay Content in Singleness

And this one that seemed to mean a lot to quite a few people: After the Rain: Lessons from a Stormy Day

Favorite Books of 2017

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Favorite Movies of 2017

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Plans for 2018

I have lots of ideas for what I want to do on this blog in 2018…

First of all, I want to do lots more reviews of books, movies, podcasts, blogs, etc. There is so much media out there to sort through, and I consider that one of True and Pure’s most important purposes, to help you know what out there is good and God-honoring and worth your time.

I also have an idea to start a regular “from my journal” series, where I share things I’ve been learning in my devotional time. I’m still considering doing a series on learning to drive as well, and I’ll continue to do Monthly Favorites and the occasional Quotable Quotes.

In my own life, this coming year is going to be one of great change: I’ll be graduating high school, spending two weeks in Europe over the summer, turning 18, and then starting college. So you can probably expect posts related to those things to pop up here once in a while.

(And if you’d like to start seeing more about my life, please let me know! I purposely steer away from it, but I do want you all to feel like you know me, and I don’t want this blog to come across as impersonal.)

As of tomorrow, my novella will be entered into the contest (it’s fully done as of this afternoon! Eeeee!) and I’ll have the freedom to work on some different writing projects. One of the things I’m considering is writing a serial story to post on here, probably allegorical, and I might publish some poetry or something from time to time. I also plan to start submitting some articles to websites like The Rebelution and Kingdom Pen. This year is going to be a year of exploring with my writing, lots of small projects. My novella took a lot out of me and I’m not quite ready to attempt a major project again yet.

If you have any post suggestions or requests, please let me know! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

And now…how was your 2017?

Was it good? Hard? Some of both? What were the best parts? What did God teach you through the bad parts?

Did you publish any writing (blog posts, etc.) that you’re particularly proud of (share it!)? Looking back, what else did you accomplish?

What were your favorite books and movies? Did you discover new music, or a new author, or a new blogger that you now love?

And what are you looking forward to in 2018? What do you hope to accomplish? What are you excited for?

I want to hear all about it! Share in the comments below. Here’s to a wonderful New Year’s and a wonderful 2018!

love, grace

November 2016 Month in Review

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December is here!! Which means Christmas!!

I love Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday and so as soon as Thanksgiving is over I’m in full holiday season mode. Advent candles and devotionals, great music, decorating…I love it all!

November was a month of writing, primarily. This month, I wrote a novel from beginning to end, banged my head on keyboards, and then changed the plot completely to redraft the whole thing later. I saw my school musical, Godspell, and was pleasantly surprised by how respectful and accurate it was! (Let me know if you want more thoughts on this). Thanksgiving, of course, was a wonderful day of family time and delicious food.

And now, as we move on to December, I’m so excited to enjoy Christmas and the last month of 2016!

This Month’s Devotions

I finished reading through my Bible!

For the majority of the month I was in the book of Revelation. And while I was a little scared to start reading this notoriously difficult book, it turned out to be one of my favorite books in the entire Bible.

Why? Because it’s such a beautiful picture of the hope we have as Christians.

And that, I think, is the key to enjoying Revelation. Don’t try to decode every symbol or analyze every vision. Read it all with the overall message in mind: Christians will be persecuted, but it will not last forever. God will return, and He will judge the world and bring justice to His people. Through Christ’s amazing sacrifice, we will live forever in heaven, a place of such beauty we cannot even imagine it here on earth.

If you read Revelation that way, I think you will find it much more enjoyable.

Bloggings

god is in control2.jpgthere was an election that happened this month and please remember this simple truth

Purposeful Pages Memethe last linkup: an inspiring website, how blogging has impacted me, what I would tell my younger self

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from other blogs…

Honestly just read everything Amanda wrote this month. Slowly. Digest it and reflect on it. Such good posts that I couldn’t pick just one or two!

I love the idea of doing a one second every day video project. Don’t know if I could actually pull it off, but it is a really cool way to record memories!

This short story is so beautiful I can’t even…agh. So good. The concept and the twist and it’s just…read it.

And finally, two things to get you in the Christmas spirit: YA books paired with Christmas songs and December Song, Peter Hollens’ new Christmas single that is absolutely gorgeous.

Readings

The Art of War for Writers: Fiction Writing Strategies, Tactics, and ExercisesThe Body in the Library (Miss Marple, #3)Hollow City (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #2)

Three really good books that I read this month; all pretty quick reads, since I was writing up a storm and didn’t have a lot of spare time.

  • The Art of War for Writers: 4 stars. A really handy little book that I will be referencing often. Read my review on Goodreads here.
  • The Body in the Library: 4 stars. Love me a good Agatha Christie when I need something quick, light, and engaging.
  • Hollow City: 5 stars. I was worried it wouldn’t be as good as the first one, but it drew me in just like that one did. I love this series so much!

Watchings

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(yes, I watched two things with Benedict Cumberbatch in them. don’t judge me.)

  • Sherlock: again, I only watched one episode of this in the entire month. Seriously. I just don’t have time to watch TV, even such epic TV as this. The one episode I did watch was the wedding episode (fellow Sherlock fans know which one I mean?) and it was just the BEST ever. All the cuteness!!
  • Hamilton’s America: yes, I have joined the madness of being obsessed with Hamilton. Even I, the one who hates rap with a passion, love it, and I think that says something! Anyway, this documentary was really great for some behind the scenes and clips of the musical as well as historical background. Highly recommended if you love Hamilton as much as I do!
  • Doctor Strange: 4 stars. Another great Marvel movie, as usual. Benedict Cumberbatch incredible, as usual. And if any of you are Marvel fans but afraid to see this one because of the supernatural elements, it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Not any different from Thor or Guardians of the Galaxy, really, and any problems I had with the movie were for different reasons altogether.

Listenings

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  • Godspell: As mentioned before, this was my school’s musical, and in addition to being much more accurate and respectful than I expected, the music is SO good. Listened to it obsessively after seeing the show!
  • Greatest Hymns: One day I got fed up with generic Christian music and wanted to go back to the old school songs, so I looked up hymn albums that I might like and found this one. It was exactly what I needed to refresh my soul.

Here’s a song that just makes me want to dance:

This is kind of the theme song for my NaNoWriMo (in addition to just being beautiful):

And another song I listened to on repeat while writing this month (love, love, love!):

Upcoming in December

  • Mini-reviews of favorite Christmas books, movies, and/or music
  • Um…an as-yet undetermined post about Christmas? Advent? Something? Who knows.
  • The 2016 Book and Movie of the Year! I can’t believe it’s already time to do another one of these.

 

I hope you all had a wonderful November! See you next week with some Christmasy stuff. Have an amazing December and enjoy the holidays!

love, grace

It’s My Blogiversary!! (+ Updates and Plans)

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I’M BACK!

(Temporarily, that is. But we’ll talk about that later.)

And why am I back? Because it’s my blogiversary! (It’s actually tomorrow, but shh. Since I don’t post on Sundays, we’re celebrating a day early.)

One year ago, on August 7, 2015, I pushed the publish button on my “Welcome” blog post, and True and Pure was born. I’ve grown so much over the last year and have definitely improved my writing. My articles have gotten longer, deeper, and more polished, I hope. And I hope I’ve accomplished something of what I stated as my goal in that first post:

  • To examine Biblical truths,
  • Bash cultural beliefs,
  • Encourage you,
  • Inspire you to do great things,
  • And challenge you to live your daily life for Christ.

A Quick Review of the Last Year 

Since I started this blog, I have posted 99 posts, and, fittingly, this post will be my 100th. 

I have a total of 48 followers, 4,346 views, and 359 comments.

The series posts I did this past year included Prayer, New Years’ Resolutions, Feelings (miniseries), How to Witness (miniseries), and most recently, Modesty.

Popular stand-alone posts (that received the most views or comments):

Most popular book reviews:

What’s Been Happening Lately?

As you all know, I have been taking an extended break from blogging since early July. It’s been really nice to not have to worry about getting posts up in the midst of everything else that’s been going on, but I do miss it.

I’ve been reading a lot, so if you don’t follow me on Goodreads, you should. Here are a few of the reviews I’ve posted recently:

What’s Next?

I will be taking a break for one more week, as I’m still teaching a camp for another week and it’s not a good idea to try and get back to posting until that’s over.

After that, I’ll be getting back into posting. I’ll try to participate in the August Purposeful Pages that just came out, and probably put up a review of Divergent that I started drafting before my break. If I can collect my scattered thoughts, there may be a review of the Red Queen series or just a post about some of the problems I’m having with these books in general. I’ll also be doing some sort of back-to-school series during the rest of the month as well.

You can expect posts Mon/Wed/Sat again starting August 15! It’s going to feel great to get back to blogging again.

So goodbye for one more week, and I’ll see you soon!

love, grace