Tag Archives: gratitude

300: A Look Back

Every time I finish writing a post, WordPress cheerfully informs me about exactly how many posts I’ve written.  I usually don’t pay the number much heed, but I couldn’t help but notice that my latest post was number 299, which would make this my three hundredth post on The Author’s Apprentice.  I’ve spent a lot of time since then thinking – thinking about my “10 Words” post, thinking about what it means to be a Christian and what it means to be a man, and especially thinking about what I wanted to say for this milestone post.  When it comes down to it, though, there’s really only one thing I can say, and I can’t say it frequently or emphatically enough: thank you.

Thank you for reading this blog, whether you’ve only read one or two posts or all three hundred.  Thank you for encouraging me to keep writing and for sticking with me as I’ve run the whole gamut of topics floating around in my crazy brain, from vlogs to Pony Saturdays to Journal Entries to interviews to songs of the week… the list goes on.  Thank you to all of you who have commented, adding your own thoughts and observations to mine and often making me think even harder about the subjects I cover.  Thank you to those of you who have given me the great privilege of interviewing you – Robert, Jay, Adam Swensen, Adam Beckmeyer, and currently-in-progress interviewee Tek.  You guys are some of my best friends and your godliness, passion, and character continue to spur me on to holiness.  Thank you, all of you, for taking a project that I honestly expected to die off years ago and making it an important and wonderful part of my daily life.  You’ve made The Author’s Apprentice a place that holds even more great memories than it does posts, and for that I’m dedicating post number three hundred to you.

What’s in store for the future?  Well, now that my week and a half long chaos-of-the-transition-from-summer-camp-life-induced hiatus is over, I’m ready to fall back onto the face of the earth and start posting more regularly again.  Expect a few substantial (and probably one or two somewhat less substantial) posts in the next week on topics like maturity, priorities, and bronyhood, as well as a couple of videos, both pony-related and otherwise.  Chefy has me working on a video project with footage from our work in the kitchen this summer and the song “Caramelldansen”, and I’m also putting together a PMV of a particularly awesome song for a particularly awesome person, so there’s that.  Since I have the day off tomorrow, I’m thinking about trying out Livestream tonight and streaming while I work on those projects, so if you’re interested you can head over to my channel (livestream.com/newtaloo) any time after about 8:00 (Eastern Time) and chat with me.

And thanks again, my friends.  You really are the best.

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Letters to Lauren Faust

Dear Lauren,

It’s been three months since I first watched an episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, but I still remember that day clearly.  A chain reaction started on that unassuming Saturday afternoon, one that has created more laughs, smiles, and fond memories than I ever expected, and it’s all because you fell in love with an idea and dedicated yourself to making it a reality.  Today, as I watched the season finale, I thought back on all of those memories and realized that without you, none of them would have even been possible, and I knew that I had to thank you somehow.  That’s why I wrote this letter: to let you in on a few of the best memories I’ve made thanks to your ponies, and to let you know how grateful I am for your part in making them.

So thank you.  Thank you for essentially introducing me to one of my best friends, Tek, whom I met through the comments section of my first pony-related post way back in February.  Thank you for the smile that I wore as I drew a picture of Pinkie Pie to send to my fifteen-year-old sister, whose cheerful spirit reminds me a lot of everyone’s favorite party pony, and thank you for the even bigger smile that I got when she wrote me back saying “I decided I’m officially Pinkie Pie!  Speaking of ponies, would you draw me a picture of Fluttershy?  Please?”.  Thank you for the chance to watch the show with her and my sixteen-year-old brother, and for all the fun we’ve had quoting it back and forth to each other since.  Thank you for the unexpected fun of watching one of my college friends succumb to the charm of the ponies, and for how it’s given us a great excuse to hang out every Thursday afternoon to watch a few episodes and chat.  Thanks, too, for the great laugh I got when a friend who posted “What’s up with the ponies?” on my Facebook wall in early April posted “I want a pet alligator named Gummy” just a few weeks later.

Perhaps most of all, however, I thank you for giving thousands and thousands of other people all around the world the same kind of lasting memories that you’ve given me.  You’ve really done something wonderful, Lauren, something that’s touched people from every walk of life, and there’s no way that all of us could say a thank you big enough or sincere enough to express our gratitude.  Still, we had to try, so I opened up my email to the bronies of Ponychan, PonyGAF, and Equestria Daily, people who also owe a lot of great memories to you, to send you their own letters of gratitude for all that you have done.  You can find their letters below, letters with stories of love found, hope restored, and lives changed.  I know there are a lot of them and that you’re a very busy woman, but I hope that you’ll take the time to scroll through, read some of these letters, see what your work has meant to all of us, and take pride in what you’ve accomplished.  You deserve it.

Sincerely,

Tim N.

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In Which I Say Thank You a Lot

I was originally going to create a thank-you video on my YouTube channel to celebrate the 9,001st view here on my blog, but after spending about two hours on the project I realized two very important things:

1. I have absolutely no presence on film.  I am much more eloquent with writing than I am with speaking, and I couldn’t really communicate all of the gratefulness and love that I wanted to convey in that video.

2. Windows Live Movie Maker was either programmed by a team of drunk squirrels or a sadist bent on torturing video editors who can’t afford any other programs.  I was 85% finished with the editing and the program slowly began consuming all of my video files and turning them into clips of blackness and silence.

At this point I was just about ready to re-film the whole thing anyway in an attempt to make it more interesting and less unbearably long, so when that happened I decided to call the project off and do what I do best: write.  (On the bright side, I did manage to make a small “OVER 9000” tribute video yesterday.  You can see that here.)  9,000 views is a big milestone, and, to be honest, one I wasn’t expecting to reach in the foreseeable future, so I’ve got a lot of people to thank.  Let’s get started!

First, a huge thank you to my best friend Adam Swensen, the man responsible for my blog’s very existence.  It was he who, several thousand Internet-years ago in the summer of 2009, suggested that I might enjoy blogging.  He has a blog of his own, “The Next Generation”, where he posts inspirational and challenging articles about life and Christianity, I highly recommend giving it a read.  Adam, thank you for getting me interested in this whole blogging business and for being so encouraging and supportive throughout the first two and a half years. Also, thank you for being one of my closest friends in real life, and for never failing to brighten my day.  I love you, sir!

Next in line for a thank you is the inimitable Jay Lauser.  He and I met way back in the day, when my blog was called “Legend of the Dreamseers” and I used it primarily as a platform for promoting my fantasy writing.  Jay is a Christian fantasy writer as well, and when he found my work one day he left several encouraging comments and requested that I stop by and take a look at his blog, “Sir Emeth Mimetes”, sometime.  I did, it was (and still is) amazing, we kept in touch via comments and, later, via his amazing Holy Worlds Forums (if you’re a Christian and love sci-fi or fantasy you should really check those out), and we became good friends.  I haven’t been around Holy Worlds much lately because of the busyness of school, but I still do check Jay’s blog occasionally and I love his passion for God and his penchant for thinking deeply about life.  Thank you for encouraging me to keep going when my blog was still in its infancy, Jay, and for giving me so much useful feedback to help me improve as a writer.

On that note, thank you to everyone in the Holy Worlds community who has befriended me and read my blog over the years.  I know I won’t be able to name you all, but you know who you are.  You’ve been a great help and a big encouragement to me, and I thank you for that.

I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of the bronies who have stopped by over the past two months since I jumped on the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic bandwagon with my first Pony Saturday post, “Confound These Ponies”, in February.  Since then, that has become the single most popular post on my blog, receiving about thirty hits a day from Google searches and a few friendly folks who have been kind enough to spread the link in various forums and such.  While I know that you guys probably don’t keep up with the blog on any regular basis, your visits to my Pony Saturday posts make up over 1/6 of my first nine thousand views nevertheless, so you deserve my sincerest thanks.  You guys are easily the most friendly, welcoming, creative, and all-around wonderful fan community I’ve ever seen, and I consider it a privilege to be counted as one of you.  *Brohoof*.

There’s one person in particular that I need to single out from this group, and that is the incredible Tekaramity.  If you don’t recognize that name, you obviously haven’t been around here lately.  Tek commented on my first Pony Saturday post two months ago, and he’s become a welcome addition to the regular suspects around The Author’s Apprentice since then.  Shortly after his comment, we got in touch via email and grew to be close friends, and I’m truly grateful to have met him.  Tek, thank you for being a wonderful friend, a dependable brother in Christ, and a continual source of encouragement in my life.  Much love to you, brony!  (Also, for those of you who don’t know, Tek has a YouTube channel filled with top-notch Mario Paint Composer remixes of songs from Friendship is Magic that you should really go check out.  Seriously, it’s good stuff.)

Next, and by far the most important, I’m grateful to my incredible, supportive, beautiful, fantastic, loving family.  I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect group of people to which to belong, and I love you all more than I can express.  Dad, thank you for your encouraging and challenging comments, they always drive me to think deeper about the topics that I address.  You’re a true man of God and my role model as I grow up and head out into the world.  Mom, thank you for being such a source of joy in my life.  I love reading your cheerful comments and knowing that you’re keeping up with my writing from home.  To all three of my siblings, thank you for not just being my siblings, but my very best friends as well.  To be so close to all three of you even after you witnessed all of my quirks and faults growing up is, simply put, a far greater blessing than I deserve.  I can’t even begin to list all of the things for which you deserve my thanks, so I’ll just hit the highlights.  Andrew, thank you for reaching out to your little brother and being such a big part of my life.  Some of my greatest memories are the times that we spent together, and you’ve always been one of my biggest encouragements when it comes to writing.  Jonathan, thank you for being the best little brother a guy could have.  Growing up with you has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life, and I consider it a privilege to continue being your friend even as we grow older and begin to head in separate directions.  I’ll never stop loving you, never stop missing you, and never stop making sure that you know it.  Christiana, thank you for loving me far and above what I deserve.  I smile for the rest of the day every time I get one of your letters, and whenever I come home I know that you’re going to be the first one to meet me in the driveway with your biggest hug and a dozen great stories about what I missed while I was gone.  I love all of you more than I can express, and if no one else read my blog but you I would keep writing just so that I had another way to keep in touch with you.

Finally, I’d like to thank every single one of you who has read my blog in the past two and a half years.  Whether you’re responsible for a large chunk of those views or just one, thank you for coming and making this blog the most fun experiment I’ve ever tried.  Dozens and dozens of wonderful stories have shaped the writing of this blog, and hundreds more have arisen from the friends I’ve met and the interactions I’ve had, and I owe it all to you.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping to make The Author’s Apprentice what it is today, and I look forward to another two and a half years of adventures with you.

And, of course, my greatest and most heartfelt thank you goes to the Author of my story and every other story in His creation.  God, 9000 views means absolutely nothing if you aren’t glorified by my writing.  Thank you for giving me this gift for the written word and for giving me this wonderful opportunity to use it, and thank you for writing my story so beautifully so far.  I can’t wait to see what you have written out for the next two and a half years.

My love goes out to all of you, and may God bless you,

– Timothy Newton

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