Hello, my friends!
I don’t know about you, but I kinda loved 2021. 🙂 I’m going to remember this year forever, and to help with that, I’m here with another year-in-review post. I always make these to record highlights of my year, favorite photos I’ve taken, blog stats, goals and resolutions, etc. Enjoy a little scrapbook of my past twelve months!
Got engaged! Obviously, the most memorable and important part of my year was Sully. 🙂 We met around February, started dating in May, and got engaged a couple of weeks ago! So many of my favorite days from this year were spent with Sully or our families – day trips, family reunions, or just nice dates and long conversations. Also, thank you all so much for the sweet comments on the announcement post. If you haven’t read it yet, here’s the link. I can’t wait to answer your questions with Sully soon! (First photo below taken by Aria.)
Published my third poem book. I published Seeing Beyond in October and am really proud of the result! It’s the longest collection so far and the cover turned out lovely. To learn more about it, click here for the post and here for the book itself.
Finished visiting the 48 contiguous United States. My family and I went on a big road trip this February and finished visiting all the states except Alaska and Hawaii! It was such a fun trip. If you want to read about it, here’s part one, part two, part three, and part four.
Church. This was kind of a crazy year church-wise. Our pastor resigned, which was really sad (I’m actually housesitting for them as I write this!), but we’re in the process of calling another pastor for my current church as well as the church planting group we’re part of. The church plant group has grown a lot and started meeting in a cute old schoolhouse. Those Bible studies have been a big and wonderful part of my life this year.
Music. I’ve also started playing piano for worship team and the Bible Study! I’ve really improved with playing leadsheets and also playing by ear or composing my own music. I’ve also listened to TONS of new music (well, old music) thanks to Sully. 🙂 He’s taught me a lot about music appreciation, and my worship leader has taught me a lot about playing music.
Did a lot of photoshoots. I got to second shoot a friend’s wedding, photograph another friend’s wedding reception, be an event photographer for a Spring Fest and Fall Fest, and do a senior photoshoot for another friend. I definitely grew my photography skills a lot this year!
Redesigned the planner. Remember how I designed Jill’s Prairie Homestead planner last year? I got to redesign + update it for 2022, so that project kept me busy for a few months while not being as overwhelming as last year, thankfully. I also did multiple smaller graphic design/art jobs that grew my skills and stretched my creativity.
Got to attend a Rooted small group. Sully’s church hosted an intensive 10-week study on the basics of the Christian faith. He’s already been through it twice, once as a leader, but attended it again with me. That’s been our date night for several months and I really enjoyed it! I grew a lot, mostly in being taken out of my comfort zone and meeting new people.
New employee on the farm. My dad hired Chessie’s dad to manage the hay business! Chessie’s my brother’s girlfriend and their family goes to our church and is good friends with ours. It’s worked out splendidly thus far! We’ve had our best year yet as far as sales, and I enjoy going on hay deliveries with him and my brothers.
Reached 500+ sales on my Etsy shop. It might not seem like a big milestone, but I was excited to hit the 500 marker on The Color Box Studio! I’m getting close to 600 sales currently – maybe next year I can reach 1,000! I’ve painted a *lot* of miniature landscapes this year, including an order of 150 for a wedding.
Dances! I got to go to several big events with dances, attend a ballroom dancing class, and recently, a lovely Christmas Ball. I know a lot more dances than I did last year! And I have a new dance partner. 😉 I still love barn dancing, ah.
Lots of personal growth. I feel like I’ve matured this year more than any other. I still have so far to go, but I’m a little less terrified of life and worried about what others think of me and… I just feel older, I guess. In a good way! I give part of the credit to Sully. All of our questions and answers this year forced me to look closely at myself and my own life and explain my choices, as well as see the world through someone else’s eyes. In many ways, my 21st year has felt like a pause on the top of a hill – a time to reflect on where I’ve been before I begin the journey to where I’m going.
Gratitude List (A Selection)
- Playing pretend with my art students – dragons and orphans and invisible girls.
- Going to the beach with Sully, and other day trips with his family.
- Double dates!
- Laughing, talking, driving, and hanging out with my family.
- Finding and playing pianos in random places.
- Long text conversations with Sully, Chessie, and Aria.
- Sharing my story with others and getting to hear theirs.
- A beautiful flower garden + cute flower truck.
- That I get to have my dream job and that so many of my friends are enjoying their jobs too!
- Thrifting with my sisters.
- Book club with friends from where we used to live.
- Cute little kids. 🙂
- Recording songs at a friend’s studio.
- Current followers: 12,543 (last year: 9,358)
- Posts Written: 52
- Words Written: 51,243
- Most popular post: 100 Questions to Ask Your Pen Pal
- Weirdest search term: “questiond to ask a pebnpal”
last year’s goals
- Refine my photo editing and stick to a few presets. I sort of accomplished this. I still like to experiment with different styles, but I’m starting to embrace that.
- Add new Etsy products regularly. Yep, I think so. I can never remember when I added what thing. But I added several listings and have some fun ideas for next year.
- Continue to practice setting work boundaries. I spent so much time with Sully and his family or at various events that I was forced to not work all the time. And you know what? That’s been so good for me! I’ve made many more memories focusing on other people or volunteering at church or for friends than I could have made spending that time on my work.
- Practice contentment. I’d say at any given month this year, I was overall really happy with my life. So that counts as contentment I guess? I definitely looked forward to getting engaged before that happened, but God kept opening my eyes to the blessings of the moment and I was often able to focus on the present instead of longing for the future.
- Update blog design + pages. Eheh, not really. I did update the design and my About page a little bit, but not enough.
- Create some online courses for you guys! Phew, I thought I’d be able to churn out a couple of these, but I only made one mini blogging course. My time kept disappearing, and I decided this was the project to put on the back burner. I did make about half of the video content for the hand lettering course I’m working on, but I’m not sure when or if I’ll finish it because next year’s going to be crazy. Speaking of next year….
Next year’s goals
- Get married! 😀 Clearly, this is my biggest goal/plan for 2022. I’m making very few definite goals other than this because I know I’ll already feel overwhelmed with all the big changes and decisions to make.
- Take a video every day. I did a “video a day” challenge in 2020, and want to do it again next year since, you know, it seems like a good one to remember. I have a much better phone camera now, so I’m just going to use my phone to take few-second clips every day and then put them all together at the end of the year. I already can’t wait to see the result!
- Update my blog design and maybe URL. I won’t be living on a farm after I get married, so I want to change my blog name to just Allison Marie. I’ll also need to revamp the design and pages and just give it a refresh.
- Rely on God, not others, myself, or my opinions. I’m sure I’ll realize my need of a sovereign, gracious, wise Heavenly Father this year more than ever. He’s grown me in my trust of Him so much in these past months; I want to keep growing and strive to make God the greatest love and most important treasure of my heart instead of making everything about myself or trying to please others. I’m so, so grateful for all the blessings He’s given me this year, but especially for a Savior who is far better than any of them.
And there you go! A snapshot (or several) of my 2021. Happy New Year from our family to yours! Thanks ever so much for following along with me this year. I can’t wait to share 2022 with you as well!
What were some highlights of your year?
Thanks so much for reading, my friends, and have a lovely new year!