It’s time for my annual huge New Year’s post! 😀 Today I’m gonna be reviewing the biggest events of my 2019; a short list of favorite books and music; blog stats; and, of course, my goals and resolutions! I love looking back on these posts. Every time, my past self looks a little strange, God’s grace clearly abounds and overflows, and the memories bring me back to times I hope I never forget.
Although there weren’t as many dramatic highs and lows as last year, 2019 was a good year for me, and I grew a lot (not physically 😉 ). God led me through several things that stretched me out of my comfort zone and made me depend completely on him because I obviously couldn’t do it myself. And he was faithful. He always is, and yet somehow I still doubt that again and again. *sigh* What a merciful Lord we have, don’t we?
Anyway. Let’s get into the post before the intro gets any longer. XD Right this way, please!
I shall start with some things I want to remember about 2019, in no particular order and interspersed with some of my favorite photos I took this year (or photos that help explain the text). 🙂 Click on a photo to visit the post it was from!
Started teaching art classes. This year I got a job teaching two art classes at a local homeschool academy (like a normal co-op except the teachers are paid instead of being volunteer moms). It’s been challenging and stressful and super fun and exciting and hard and easier than I thought. Heh. Overall, I love my students and I’m so glad to have the opportunity to teach others about my passion!
Changed pastors at church. This was a surprisingly big part of my year, since my family and I are pretty involved in our church. We were all so sad to see our amazing previous pastor leave, but it was incredible to watch God unify and strengthen our church through the shift instead of allowing it to split apart. I got to be part of so many wonderful, deep conversations about what the church believes and which beliefs really matter, and to think about these things myself. Eventually, the Lord brought us a new pastor, and we LOVE him and his family.
Lots of dancing! We went to so many dances this year – barn dances, swing dance and ballroom dance lessons, and several informal barn dancing evenings. 🙂 AHH, those are some of my favorite memories from this year. Also my favorite way to exercise. 😛 Admittedly, it wouldn’t be nearly as fun if we weren’t doing it with friends and church family, but still, I can’t believe I didn’t used to like dancing. XD
Helped with the hay business. We rebaled/sold a combined total of over 40,000 bales this year! (The small, square, 40 lb. ones.) Oh MY. I am happy to say Dad got this machine called a Bale Baron which means we don’t have to stack semi-trailer loads by hand anymore! We still hand-stacked thousands of bales on deliveries, but at least they were smaller loads at a time. Also, my siblings and I improved enough in our hay skills that we can deliver or rebale loads by ourselves when Dad is busy. Helpful!
Hosted lots of company. We were blessed to have friends and family come down fairly often to stay in our guest house, go on rides around the farm, and visit with us. So many fun memories! Plus, we had the opportunity to host neighbors and people from church quite a few times for supper, which I always enjoy immensely. There’s something rich and special about sharing fellowship around a meal – you can get to know people in a different, deeper way.
Enjoyed Bible Study. My friend Bethany from church started a Young Women’s Bible Study, which has been such a blessing! It’s so encouraging and refreshing to gather with other young ladies and study the Bible together and pray for each other. (And have a lot of fun. 😉 )
Painted some houses. We (mostly my sisters, Mom, and I) repainted the rental house on our farm so we could rent it out again. MAN that was a lot of work! But we got it done and it looks much better. Plus, we and our church volunteered almost 1,000 hours to help our new pastor and his wife repaint and fix up the house they bought! That was much more fun. 😉
Gained pets and lost pets. We added quite a few chickens – well, we added some and then lost some, but then hatched eggs and got a bunch of chicks which are now almost full grown! And, sadly, we lost my bunny Willow and, recently, our cat Jinx. 😦
Did some farm bookwork. I took over Mom’s job at the office for a several months, but we recently switched back since I rarely had time for more than the minimum work. I’m really glad I had the chance, though! It was great practice to figure out financial things on a scale I don’t have usually.
Started plans for a church plant. From the time we first moved here, my parents have prayed about helping plant a PCA church near where we live. We drive about 40 minutes to our current church and a lot of social things as well. Besides the driving, though, my parents are passionate about growing God’s kingdom through church planting; we helped start the church we went to before we moved. We’ve had families over, Dad has attended a couple meetings, and God is bringing people together. I’m glad we have this opportunity, but honestly… at this point I’m still just pretty sad at the prospect of leaving our current church and church family – we all are. So I’m praying God will make me more eager to serve him in this way. *small smile*
Participated in many photoshoots. I took senior portraits and engagement photos this year, as well as tons of informal shoots with my sister, which is always fun. 🙂 I’ve learned a lot about posing and photography!
Helped with my best friend’s proposal! This was, like, the best few days of the year. 😀 I had the chance to help photograph and plan Aria‘s proposal with her fiance, Andrew, and his friend, Fleet. It was AHHHmazing, to say the least. Click the photo above to read my post about it!
Met one of my pen pals/blogger friends! Charis + her family visited us this summer and we had SO much fun together. 🙂 Meeting online friends is the best! Again, I’ll keep this short because you can click the photo to read the post.
Read 59 books (including a lot of rereading). Hmm. More than I thought but fewer than last year. To be fair, some of those books were long enough to count as two or three: The Count of Monte Cristo and Les Miserables were both over 1,000 pages (O.o), and The City of God just took a while, possibly because I basically only read it on breaks (a.k.a. breakdowns) while rebaling. 😛
Discovered I’m an INFJ. I used to think types were silly, but what do you know, they can actually be a tool to help you realize your strengths and weaknesses! And now I understand myself a lot better, particularly regarding my empathy and intuition. *nods thoughtfully* Would you guys like to see a post on this topic?
Music things. I definitely improved my piano playing and singing this year. Also I discovered I can memorize songs, compose music, and play from lead sheets after all!
Published Spark! I’m really happy with how my second poem book turned out, and the blog tour + giveaway was so much fun!
Went to my church’s amazing women’s retreat. I had a blast playing games, eating too much good food, worshiping the Lord, and spending time with my friends and ladies from church! I learned so much.
Housesat for friends. It was pretty fun to live by myself and “play house” for an extended period of time. And it made me thankful I have a wonderful family to help and live with normally. 🙂
Miscellaneous happenings: Megan and I redecorated our room! // We crashed our truck, but none of us were hurt, thankfully. O.o // I wrote many, many letters. // I lost a great-aunt and one of my great-grandmothers. Praise God they were both believers. // I listened to a ton of sermons from this amazing series on Romans (my favorites are the later ones) plus all of our new pastor’s recorded sermons before he came (but I missed one). 😛 Why I haven’t listened to online sermons before?? // Attended several amazingly fun bonfires with family and church family. Bonfires, barn dancing, and Mule rides are some of my very favorite things, and this year was full of them. 🙂
- The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas (Yes, it’s an enormous book, but it has an EPIC plot and amazingly drawn characters.)
- Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo (See above. XD The story is amazing, but SHEESH, all those interruptions… I never say this, but you might as well read an abridged version.)
- Risk is Right, by John Piper (a tiny book that can make a huge impact if you let it.)
- The Mitford series, by Jan Karon (I reread part of this series because it’s one of my favorites – so cozy and realistic!)
- Saving Leonardo, by Nancy Pearcey (one of my top favorite books of all time! An unflinchingly honest, eye-opening look at our culture, a variety of worldviews, Christianity, and art + art history all mashed up into one life-changing book.)
- “More Heart, Less Attack,” by NEEDTOBREATHE
- “Native Tongue,” by Switchfoot
- “Agnus Dei,” by David Phelps
- “Learning How to Die,” by Jon Foreman
- “El Shaddai,” by Dogwood & Holly
- “Far Kingdom,” by The Gray Havens
- “Stop This Train,” by John Mayer
- “Enough to Let Me Go,” by Switchfoot
- “Cages,” by NEEDTOBREATHE
- “Atlas: Two,” by Sleeping at Last
- “Mask,” by Gwenivere (only on Spotify)
- “Moon River,” by JJ Heller
- “Braver Still,” by JJ Heller
- Followers (current #): 7,006 (last year I had 4,817!)
- Posts: 102
- Words Written: 95, 786 (oh MY!)
Wow, 2019 was a better year for my blog than I thought – thanks to you guys! And WHOA, 7,000 followers? *gasp* I don’t quite know why so many people find it interesting to read my random thoughts and photos, but HEY, I’m not complaining. It’s seriously hard to express how grateful I am to have you guys along for the ride. 🙂 ❤
last year’s goals
- Reach 80 sales on my Etsy shop. Nope. I got 100 sales instead! I am SO happy, because that’s the number I actually was hoping for. XD I can’t believe I started the year with only 24 sales. O.o Hopefully next year I’ll feel the same about having 100 sales!
- Launch BuJo printables set. I did make some of these, but they ended up being too much work every month to make them worth it. I launched some other products, though, like these custom portraits!
- Read 3+ Great Books. Um… NOPE. I read some Ancient Greek plays and now I’m a bit over halfway through The Institutes of Christian Religion, by John Calvin. It’s… dense. There’s good stuff in it, but I read it in very small chunks when I have a spare moment.
- Memorize 3+ chapters of Romans. Yes! I think? I don’t remember how far I was at the beginning of this year, but it wasn’t far; now I’m working on chapter 4.
- Write poem book #2. | Look into traditional publishing. Yep! Mostly. I published my second book, Spark, (YAYAYAY!), but after briefly looking into traditional publishing, I decided not to go down that track right now; rather, to focus my energy on the things I’m already pursuing, like art.
- Publish 2 posts a week. YES! Except I missed two posts (two weeks had just one post).
- Worry less; trust God more.Hmm. It’s hard to say, you know? I think… I still worried way too much. Heh. But I knew, always, that God is good and he knows what he’s doing – I remember that from last year.
(Lots of) Goals for 2020
- Take a short video each day. I gonna try to take a few-second video clip as many days of the year as I can, and then put them all together at the end. Because GUYS, next year is my 20th year. O.o And I don’t know, it seems like it will be an important one with moments I will want to remember. 🙂
- Help with Aria’s wedding! I am so, SO excited for this one. My best friend is getting married and I get to be her maid-of-honor! *beams* Ahhhhhh, no words.
- Reach 200 sales on my Etsy shop and launch new custom listings. I’m hoping to grow my business more in 2020, partly by adding more products. My custom listings are definitely some of my “bestsellers,” so I’m excited to add two new options.
- Publish website. I started working on a website for The Color Box Studio in 2019, but I just didn’t follow through. I at least want to get the portfolio part up because it’s kind of necessary if you’re serious about being an artist!
- Finish Institutes + start at least one other Great Book. I am determined to finish that book so I can move on to something new. 😛
- Read the whole Bible. I love my Bible journaling, but it’s starting to feel a little puny to read one chapter a day. I’ve read the whole Bible, but never in one year. I’m going to try using this reading plan to do so, plus keep journaling as I have been.
- Memorize through Romans 7. Although, I might not want to stop at that chapter, so maybe I’ll get to 8. :’D
- Make more meaningful art. Recently, I’ve been making mostly small, fun, and fairly useless sketches, mainly fueled by the desire to “keep up” on social media. Yeah, not wise. XD I’m certainly still going to make lots of just-for-fun art, but I also want to be intentional about creating art that glorifies God and enriches others.
- Put people over projects. Ugh, this is a big one for me. I absolutely love my friends and family, but when I’m knee-deep in some project, I tend to brush relationships to the back-burner. 😦 Often the deadlines are real and the project is good or necessary (or even a way to love people), so sometimes I really do need to get it done. I just need to be careful to not say “yes” to every opportunity in the first place.
- Post flexibly. Posting 2X week gives me enough space for all my ideas, but each post can require quite a few hours to make. That was fine at one point in my life, but I have too many other responsibilities now (some of which actually make money XD). I love blogging and value the community immensely, but I don’t think it needs to take up this much of my life right now, so I’ll try posting once a week and sometimes twice if I have extra time + photos. For instance: I meant to post this on Tuesday like normal, but our cousins came over for New Year’s and we had lots of fun together instead. 🙂
- Pursue goals with grace. Some people can’t keep their New Year’s resolutions, but I have the opposite problem – I’m more likely to keep them at all costs, even costs that aren’t worth the goals. I am very productivity-driven, which I’ve discovered is not always a good thing. With God’s grace, hopefully I’ll remember that how many boxes I check does not define me, or even my life or my year! I will never get everything done, and thanks okay. Make goals and fly after them, by all means, but don’t make them an idol!
PHEW! That took forever to make. XD I hope you guys enjoyed this recap of my year! (And if you read the whole thing… you win some virtual sparkling cider and my sincere admiration. :’D)
Here’s to the New Year, my friends. If last year was hard on you (and oh, I know it was for many) I’m so, so sorry. May God bring you blessings this year instead of heartache. And if you had a wonderful year – may 2020 be even better. 🙂
What was your 2019 like? Are you excited about the new year? Did you make resolutions?
Thanks so much for reading, dears, and have a lovely YEAR!