A Note to My Readers

Dear blog buddies,

It’s been a year since my first post, an open letter. This blog started as an outlet for my desire to write more. I had just finished ENG101 and 102 for college, and I wanted to try something new. The experiment has helped me with consistently, willingness to try new things, and my writing ability. But I have a few confessions to make to you:
I’m not totally honest with you. I try to be transparent, but I can’t write about everything. If I decide to write about my musical anxiety, I’m not writing about a terrible day that I had the day after writing it. If I write about the MBTI, I’m not writing about my fight with my sibling, or about my lunch, or about my sleeping goal for January. I have to choose what I think will be interesting, or encouraging, or helpful (or all three).
 Even after I choose a topic, I don’t know how to stop editing and push the “publish” button. I get frustrated because my posts “have room for improvement.” Michael Hyatt helped me think about this better:
“Anyone who knows me knows that excellence is a high value for me. But it’s not the same thing as perfection.
Perfection doesn’t take into consideration of the cost, time, or significance of something. It’s just an illusive, unreal, unattainable goal. It’s better to do good work really well.
That way you’re contributing to people’s lives, instead of locked in your own head about whether your work measures up an impossible standard.”
I want to write well, but sometimes I get paralyzed by my perfectionism. I care more about what you think about my writing than whether I can encourage you or help you learn something new.
Sometimes I don’t even treat you like people. After I post, I get stressed by how many people look at my posts, and I forget how amazing it is that people even look at my posts at all. I’m afraid to do this, because people are scarier than numbers. I’m afraid that you will hate my post or laugh at me, so I try to pretend that “visitors” don’t really mean people. I need to be reminded often that people are more important than numbers, and I shouldn’t let my fear hold me back from connecting with some amazing people.

Thank you so much for bearing with and encouraging me, even though I’m quirky and flawed. I’m a work in progress, and blogging this last year has helped me through a lot of hard things. It’s amazing that you guys take time out of your lives to look at my thoughts about life. I hope that I’ll continue to improve, and that you’ll stick around for the ride, because you’ve made blogging a wonderful experience for me.  


With exceeding joy,
Anne Mary

An Open Letter to My Music Teacher

This has been harder to write than I thought. I thought that since I had so much to say, saying it would be easy. I was wrong. Even so, I will try.

When I first came to lessons, I didn’t speak much. I didn’t even want to come to them, because I was scared of new things. Over time, however, I started loving lessons, instead of dreading them. My passion for piano grew and overshadowed many things in my life. I spent hours practicing, stressing over pieces, and loving the panic. When we took a break from piano lessons, I expected to miss the music, which I expected. I found myself missing you too, which I didn’t expect. Our break wasn’t long, but I realized that I loved music lessons not just because of music, but because of your attitude.

You have a contagious outlook towards life. I almost always left my lesson encouraged, not only about practicing, but about my family, my relationships with other people, and other skills I was learning. You were patient with me when my practicing wasn’t sufficient, and with many I-didn’t-practice-enough-please-forgive-me tears. You helped me when I decided to try something new, like teaching students or arranging mashups. You encouraged me when I started playing music with other people (which eventually led to talking to people). You are far more than “just a music teacher.”

Thank you for being kind and encouraging. I thought that this would be an easy post to write, because I could spend hours writing about your good qualities. I love being around you. You inspire me. Your house is one of my favorite places to be, because you are there. I didn’t realize that the hardest part is deciding what not to say, because I have much to say about you, and only a short post to say it.  You have shaped me so as a musician and as a person that I don’t know what my life would look like without you. You are a huge part of my life, and I hope that I know you for a long time.

With exceeding joy,

Anne Mary Russell

An Open Letter to the Blimey Cow Team

Jordan, Josh, and Kelli,

First of all, I love watching your videos! They are funny, creative, and helpful. Your videos have helped me in several areas, but the biggest area is talking to people. Three years ago, I didn’t talk to anyone outside of my family. As I started talking to other people more, “Messy Mondays” helped me have confidence to “just do it,” and eventually enjoy talking to others.

The Messy Monday videos have helped me, and your other channels have as well. I have watched Jordan’s channel since it started. I’ve enjoyed getting to see him experiment with new things and various content that he posted. Largely because of Jordan’s channel, I started posting on this blog regularly because it gave me confidence to have fun, even when I didn’t know if other people would enjoy it. (I also recently found Movie Trailer Trash, and I enjoy seeing Josh talk about something he is clearly passionate about.)

One of the things that you taught me is caring less about “the numbers.”  Since I’m just starting to post content consistently, I don’t have many views yet.  However, after watching your video “An Apology to Our Audience,” I felt less discouraged about the “small amount” of viewers. You taught me that each view is a person that took the time to look at my content, and to appreciate them more.

Thanks, Blimey Cow. You guys are awesome!

With exceeding joy,
Anne Mary Russell


(Sources: Blimey Cow Youtube Channel and Jordan Taylor Youtube Channel)

Dear Dad,

Dear Dad,

You are friendly. When I see you talk to strangers, you ask them about their days, about their families, about their work. You remember them later. I remember in a grocery store once, when you pointed out someone you met once in a drive-through, told me her name, and told me about your conversation with her. This made me think more about the people I meet in passing.

You are fun. Some of my favorite memories are being silly in thAnne and Dade car with you, and telling jokes with you. I tend to be grouchy and sad a lot, but you help me enjoy life.

You are willing to help people. You’ve explained many math problems, fixed so many things of mine, helped me with French, and taught me how to ride a bike. You don’t just help me. You’ve installed computer software for friends, worked in the church nursery, and too many other things too list in a short blog post.

Dad, you have inspired me with how much you love people. You care about them, and it shows when you talk to them, and in how you treat them. I want to be like that, not because it makes people like you (they usually do), but because it shows how God cares about them. People should matter to us because they matter to God, and you helped show me that. Thanks!

With exceeding joy,

Anne Mary


An Open Letter to Liz Curtis Higgs, An Encourager


My beloved sister,

The first time I met you was in Bad Girls of the Bible. I was inspired by your careful, word-by-word study of scripture. I loved how you applied the seemingly distant Bible stories to life now, showing me how the Bible is relevant just as much to me as it was to Rahab or the Woman at the Well.

The second time I met you was in the Lowlands of Scotland. The biblical story of Jacob and Leah and Rachel came alive to me. For the first time, I felt invested in the story. I cried multiple times over the sin and pain of the characters, and rejoiced in their eventual return to righteousness and redemption. The series convicted me of my own sin, of my lack of forgiveness to others, and showed me clearly the Lord’s mercies toward desperate sinners.

Your books and blog posts have pushed me forward in righteousness. They showed me the truth, and lifted me up in the joy of salvation.
The Lord has given you a gift of using words to encourage others, and you have used it to His glory. Thank you for giving me joy in reading Christian Fiction. Thank you for inspiring me in my walk with Christ. Thank you for being my friend and mentor without ever knowing my name. You have blessed me beyond words.

With exceeding joy,
Anne Mary Russell