coughing up some Wonderland dust

I don't know what it is about days when I absolutely should not be blogging, but I felt like returning out of the grave for a day and coughing up some of Wonderland dust.

I should absolutely not be blogging today because Monday (and I repeat - Monday) (and I repeat - in two days) (I won't repeat again) starts the week I have been dreading all year. Aka, my final teaching practice of the year; aka the week and three days that will decide if:

1. Naomi teaches well enough to pass through the final year of her insane-driving course
2. Naomi does not teach well enough to qualify as a third-year student and has to redo the whole bally year

Exciting times ahead! I shall face them with all the courage I can muster. (Exciting though, it remains. I am freaking out, not going to lie.)

The past months have been a mash of school stress and trying-to-balance-life-and-finding-a-way-to-have-a-life. They have been stressful. Not always equally satisfying, but God teaches me the most in unsatisfying situations so I am grateful; grateful for His grace and for His mercy. And His patience. (His patience is seriously out of this world.)

Some things I have not been doing since I last posted:
- Reading books for my own pleasure ("I read Letters of a Sceptic, but," Naomi muttered under her breath in sheer agony, "nothing else." Then she gazed at her books that laid patiently on her bookshelves.)
- Writing (Ah well. I shall return to that another time. Twenty-year-old Naomi is not competing with her seventeen-year-old self. All is well.)
- Sewing (not that I ever did this to start with, but I might as well add it as not.)

I sound dramatic but I genuinely don't miss 'hobby-ing' (as I used to call it) in too vast amounts. Sure, I wish I had time to unapologetically dive into a novel, but I oftentimes find myself prioritizing other matters and I am embracing it for the time being.

Some things I have been doing since I last posted:
- Booking cheap Flixbus tickets to Holland. There may (or there may not. do not jump to conclusions!) be a tall ginger boy I like to visit every now and again.
- College (college is a verb)
- Looking forward to a summer of no college
- Christmassing (a while ago now, but I did that. I even went to a Christmas market with someone (I said no jumping to conclusions!) and had hot chocolate and went on a ferriswheel and looked at Christmas lights. If that isn't Christmassing I don't know what is.)
- New Yearsing (ok maybe this is not a verb.) (But I went to the Netherlands and New Yeared like I never have before. The fireworks there are n u t s.)
- College x100
- Listening to music. Momentary favourites: Ben Rector, Andy Grammer and Nial Horan. Have also gone through a Hamilton fase.

Nice to see that I still use brackets that much when I write. Was wondering how this post would turn out.

To my reader: How have you been since the funeral?


You are cordially invited to a funeral

Right, the time has arrived. The day has hailed. The time has come. I can not hide it any more. My hiatus has come thus far; my absence in the blogging world has come to the extent that I can't deny its existence. I cannot call it a short break, I cannot brush it off as a holiday hiatus. The excuse of 'I have no time' or 'no inspiration' seem weak, don't they, and you don't believe them, do you. So I will officially announce that... (for the time being, for you never know what the future might hold) (because in fact, deep down I will always love blogging and I may resurrect in double glory one day. So hold your horses for that momentous occasion, peasants!)... I officially announce that... that... (ugh can I say this, can I say this...)

... you are warmly invited to the funeral of Wonderland Creek.

This hurts. Wow, the 15-year-old Naomi would roll in her grave. (Only, she is alive and well, fret ye not.) But 5 years is a long time and I have enjoyed many hours of blogging and I thank you warmly for reading along, commenting, enjoying and making me enjoy. This has given me huge happiness. I have met amazing people. I have gotten ever so much better at writing. You have been darlings and sweethearts and all that jazz.

However, 5 years is a long time and it would be even sadder if a being didn't change a bit between the ages of 15 and 20. So in the post I announce the unavoidable: A human being has changed and no longer has the same particular hobby and no long loves the idea of posting tons online. And that human being is me. And I am the owner of Wonderland Creek and I no longer run it much so I guess... I guess you are cordially invited to a beautiful funeral.

The funeral will go as follows:

1. You are asked all to wear black. We are, after all, in a state of mourning. (Jk, wear whatever colours you want. I am all about spreading a bit of cheer in the midst of turmoil and tears.)
2. There will be tea, coffee and biscuits. Beer (orange juice for the underaged of course) and chips for the after-party. Pizza for breakfast for the devoted fans that stay for the entire night. The money is on me. It's a pleasure, it's a pleasure, you're welcome.
3. You are asked not to cough or clap before, during or after the eulogy. The eulogy will highlight the awkward beginnings of Wonderland Creek. The first post will be read in the honour of a 15 year old's unskilled writing ability. We will then highlight several posts that deserve a mark in the hall of fame. The Pride and Pyjama's post will not be mentioned to avoid controversy and stirring during the afterparty. We ask the guests to remain respectful of each other's opinions. Other memorable events (such as the Emma-Naomi-visit, the first time A Picture Came On the Blog Of Her Face, the Downton Abbey week, etc.) will briefly be touched upon.
4. After the eulogy will come a short speech by myself explaining the reasons for the death of a dearly beloved blog. The reasons are undramatic but will be dramatized for entertainments sake. The reasons are as follows:
a) College really does take over your life
b) Relationships really do take over your life. And I have a whole lot more of them than I did when I was 15.
c) Offline life is so important and online presence just matters so much less to me. (I will dwell upon this one for a while because this is the main reason tbh.)
d) Blogging is not my #1 hobby

So with that said, you are invited. Hope to see you there.

Bye lovelies. One day, perhaps, I shall return. I do not believe in YOLO. Stay tuned for bloopers. God bless you all. x

*leaves in a dash of smoke*

PS K, this is dramatic. I bet you I'll wake up tomorrow and suddenly I'll want to blog again. :-P


Five reasons why you should reread books

People often act surprised when I tell them that I love rereading books. I mean, to be fair, in this day and age one ought to act surprised when anyone claims that they read (let alone reread) books, but even bookworms (or should I say "bookworms") (oh, burn) have given me surprised reactions when I proclaim my excessive fondness for reading books not just once, but twice, thrice, frice... (hang on.) I have books I have read more than ten times; dare I say twenty. Point made: I LOVE REREADING BOOKS. Reading a good book for the second time is almost always better than the first read. Rereading books is like being away on holiday for so long and sleeping in your own bed again. Or eating your mum's meals again. (I just came home from a camp, so these analogies are extremely fitting to my own life.)


So thus this list. Five reasons why you should reread books. (Lack of time is no excuse.) (Says the girl who just reread her first book after a year.) (Because of lack of time.) (Lack of time is real.)

1. The characters are your friends

Sounds cliché, blah blah revisit your friends blah blah. But seriously. Falling in love with fictional characters is real; believe me, I have spoken with enough people to know that talking about shared love for a fictional character may result in high levels of decibel. Real bookworms (yes, I am excluding some self-proclaimed bookworms here) get ridiculously excited about characters. And they become, in some sense, like a friend. And a true friend revisits their friend. Thus the reread.

(I feel like I could have said this whole paragraph in two sentences:
1. The characters are your friends.
2. You want to be with your friends again, so you reread the book.)


Ok, you know those parts in books that just get the heartrate racing? The cute proposal chapter; that page where Nellie Oleson gets leeches on her legs, that page in Gone with the Wind where the words dance, that chapter in Wonderland Creek where Alice finds out she's in love?! <<< THESE MOMENTS OF FICTION. They are priceless.

So you gotta appreciate them, dude. You want to go back to them.

3. Nostalgia

Rereading a book will often take you back to the time when you read the book for the first time. Rereading Anne of Green Gables will just TAKE me back to 11 year old me. It just does that and the nostalgia hits me hard. It's pretty cool.

I am currently rereading one of my favourite books in the entire world, 'Hidden Places' by Lynn Austin. That book, man alive, it just does something to me - every time I read it (and it's been quite a few times by now) I get dragged into the plot, I cry when Betsy and Walter get together, I cry when Lydia saves Betsy from her marriage, I ROOT for Matthew and weep for Luke. IT'S JUST SO GOOD.

Oh wait we were talking about Nostalgia. So that too. :-)

4. It's just obvious to reread books you love

I don't know. It's like say pizza. (Yes, I am making a pizza analogy haha.) You eat pizza for the first time. You obviously love it and you obviously will eat it again. It's not like you're going to get sick of the flavour if you eat it a second time.

Same thing about books so there. Kabamshh. If that wasn't a solid argument I don't know what is. Pizza analogies for the win. :-D

5. You can read them differently 

When one reread books, one learns to appreciate them in a new way. One looks upon a character differently. One matures and thus views their mannerisms in a different way. One might find many new layers of plot one had never seen before. One may have one's mind blown if one rereads books many times. One may indeed.

Also when you reread a book you can also choose to read it very fast. Because you know it but you want to relive it quickly. So you basically speed-read your way through a favourite book and it's bally awesome if you ask me. And you didn't ask me, so I'll shut up. :-D

With that being said, Naomi shut up.


Faith is not a feeling

Love is not a feeling. I've heard that said many times; at youth group, in marriage books (ok I've only read one marriage book, but still), in deep blog posts, and by people with lots of wisdom and insight. It's true. Love is not simply the feeling of passion, bursting, admiration and affection. It is more; it goes further than the simple thrill. It isn't an illusion; it is SOMETHING with deeper base and grounded foundation. It can't just shift depending on characteristic moods and sleep deprivation. It is commitment, sacrifice and all that Jesus embodied.

So. I was thinking about faith. Isn't it the same with faith? Our faith in God is more than a feeling. It is not just the personal conviction we feel when we hear, read and feel the presence of the Lord. It is (or should; cus yes, we're fallable human beings with tonsa flaws) - it is THERE. Believing, trusting, hoping; despite doubts, jostles or whatever may toss about the feeling of yes I believe.

This past month I have really learnt that. Like NO, I don't always get you God. And I don't always feel you. But I have faith in you because I remember your faithfulness, I remember how you have shown yourself to me and other people around me. I have faith even though I sometimes feel the "This Is Why I Believe" list I sometimes have so clearly and boldly in my head sagging loose. We can't let our faith be dimmed by our mood; our tiredness; our situation; our mental state of mind and clarity. That's not how faith or love work. They are more than feelings; they are almost a holy ground of basis and continuity and commitment. (If that makes any sense, lol :-P)

It is human to have feelings. And I do think it's important to work on them and give them credit. (*Hears Mr Collins say "your feelings do you credit my dear cousin"* *Tells brain to not let Mr Collins interrupt a serious blog post. ugh. creep.*) Like, yes feelings are so important and we got them for a reason. We are creatures who feel and think and connect emotionally. HOWEVER also so so so important to know that there is more to love, faith, forgiveness, peace than what we feel. I mean, think about Jesus, when he was sweating drops of blood as He prayed to His Father intensely anxious on His knees. I'm sure He felt no gooey sense of love; no overwhelming fuzzy presence of God... yet He embarked on what He was called for; the greatest act of all time.

One of the saddest things for me is seeing teens doubt their obvious faith in God because they feel like they can't say they have faith because they haven't had this 'experience' yet. I get that but I find it so sad. Like, God is just as much your God when you are trembling, overwhelmed with the Holy Spirit and crying than He is when you feel numb and sweaty after a long day of placid schoolwork. You don't have to wait for overwhelming 'faith-feelings' in order to proclaim that you have faith. Faith is more than feeling. It is knowing and doing and believing what you stand for; no matter what. Faith is.