January. Again.

I’m on year two of using a writer’s bullet journal, and the blending of my energy as a scrapbooker, organizer, writer, and doodler brings me joy. Technically, I don’t have a journal with the dots because I had one already in hand for last year. This year, I found a normal, lined book and purchased it with a birthday gift card. The front says, “Be courageous and write in a way that scares you a little” (Holly Gerth). This pretty journal was meant for me. When I planned out my sections and collections and began to fill out the index, I just smiled as I watched the perfect scripture show up on the pages. Call it a coincidence if you want, but I’m seeing God’s fingerprints all over this journal. I hope His prints keep showing up as I find my bravery and write.

My goals are big this year. I’m submitting a reformatted version of The Auspicious You combined with the Christian Companion to the sweet people at Believe who work for Karen Kingsbury. We’ll see where that goes.

And, I’m continuing my work on a first novel. It’s a YA Christian fiction piece that scares me, so I will definitely need to be courageous as I tackle the themes that are on my heart.

I’m also hoping to write more Thoughts to Share as the year progresses. My first thoughts are on the picture, a page from my new journal. I pray that you also find the hope that a new year can bring. Again.

An Open Letter to Young Adults

15 March 2020

Dear Auspicious You,

Springtime on campus should be full of fun and excitement as seniors look to the future, thespians prepare productions, athletes work to bring their best, courses peak with difficult content, musicians rehearse for concerts, and many students plan for a vacation to relax before the final push of the semester. I am so sorry these normal activities have been interrupted for you.

Friday the 13th brought closures, cancellations, postponements, and worries over basic supplies. Now, as I write to you on March 15, Shakespeare’s warning from the Soothsayer to Caesar to “Beware the Ides of March” rings in my ears. I wish I could reset this year and start it over for you. At this point, however, we must all keep doing our best to move forward.

I am so thankful most of you are young and healthy, so this virus shouldn’t harm you. I am also thankful you are smart and recognize that as a carrier of the virus, you could bring it to someone more vulnerable. Your classmates who might have pre-existing conditions and your older family members appreciate your understanding as the social distancing provides a stopping point to prevent their getting sick. My prayer is for our moments of social sacrifice to work so our country won’t have to decide which patients to serve and which to ignore because of too many sick people and not enough resources. I can’t imagine being the triage caregiver to make the decision about who lives and who dies. So, once again, I want you to know I am so thankful you are doing your part.
Still, I hate this for you. You must be angry and wondering about the events that mean so much to you. You have to be so sad for losing the chance to make memories and feel like a part of your life is missing. After all, the American schooling experience revolves around the classes and the events creating the rhythms and traditions of our lives. Rites of passage have been suspended or cancelled for you, and I know those losses matter.

Remember, though, 2020 will be the year you will talk about forever. Even though the memories you intended to make will not happen as you expected, you still have power inside of you to make these days stand out more than any others. You can offer to go shopping for your neighbors and family. You can babysit and step in to provide childcare while schools are closed. I know how observant and committed you are to making this world better, so you will find many ways to step into the gap for someone who needs help. Plus, you can relax. I have seen the stress and tiredness on your faces from the end of winter. Take care of yourself. Walk outside. Read a book.

You talk about how quickly the days pass as you have grown older. These days of social distancing will pass quickly as well. I pray that you can find ways to make this time memorable so your spring semester, while not at all what you expected, will be unique and meaningful to you. No one else can claim this particular season as their rite of passage, but you can. Embrace this different experience as wholly your own.

Blessings to you,
Van