Hello, my friends! (New year, new greeting. 😉 )
Well, 2020 is behind us. It felt like we’d never be able to say that there for a while, huh? 😛 Anyway, today I’m back with my annual year-in-review post! This has been the weirdest, and in many ways the hardest year of my life, but it’s also taught me gratitude in a way normal years just can’t. So here’s a recap of lessons learned, highlights of the year, my favorite books and music, blog stats, and goals/resolutions.
This year I also have an exciting announcement + a little survey for you guys if you’re interested! Okay, this is going to be a loooong post, so let’s get started.
I shall start with important highlights or events from this year, in no particular order and interspersed with some of my favorite photos I took in 2020. Click on a photo to visit the post it came from!
COVID-19 happened. Well that isn’t news to anyone. You all know very well what the pandemic is, so I won’t go on at length. Mainly I’m super grateful to live on a farm and in an area not terribly affected by the virus. Still, this year was filled with masks, social distancing, Zoom calls, pandemic-restriction communion at church, frightening and confusing news, teaching classes virtually, and trying to separate the truth from the lies. The pandemic taught me to take nothing for granted – especially not human connection, or that God is in control, not us.
Mom had heart surgery. One night in March, Dad called the ambulance because Mom felt about to pass out from heart issues – and that’s nothing to brush off when she’s had a cardiac arrest in the past. After months of confusion, it turned out one of her heart valves was leaking and she needed surgery. Praise God, it went well and after a long recovery, she is healthy again! I am so, so grateful. But yeah, such a big surgery compounded with the coronavirus made this year extra strange and sometimes scary. And yet, God was faithful as he has been every single time – showering us with so many blessings, meals from friends, and love from those around us that turned those months into something beautiful.
We finally sold our old farm! In happier news, we finally closed on all the land from the farm we lived on before we moved! This has been in the works for like three years, so to say we were relieved and happy is an understatement. AHHH YAY.
Started art tutoring. I started tutoring in August, and I now give private art lessons to three students. It’s so much fun! I also finished my first year teaching art at the co-op where I work, plus started my second year. Teaching art takes a big portion of my time and effort these days, but it’s rewarding.
Danced a lot, though still not enough. 😛 We had so many lovely dances planned that got canceled because of COVID. Sadness. 😦 We were still able to attend some great bigger dances before the pandemic as well as a few small ones with at friends’ houses, so that was fun. I still love barn dancing so much, and hopefully we’ll get to do more of it next year!
Helped with the hay business. The hay and straw part of our farm flourished this year, and though I didn’t help that much compared to my brothers, I still went on a bunch of deliveries and helped with several rebalings. We rebaled/sold a combined total of 38,000 small square bales this year.
Watched the church plant group grow. In my last yearly wrap-up, I mentioned that we were starting plans for a local church plant with a small group of other families. I’m so happy to say that the group has grown to about 40-50 people and it’s beginning to feel… well, real! It’s really happening! Although I’m still sad at the prospect of leaving my beloved current church family, it’s really exciting to be part of spreading God’s word closer to where we live.
Helped in two friends’ weddings! Ahh, DEFINITELY highlights of the year. I first got to be the maid-of-honor in my best friend’s wedding (see the post here), and then got to help host another good friend’s wedding at our farm! Both events were… just incredible. I felt so privileged and ecstatic to be a part of such beautiful, important days. ❤
Hosted friends at our farm. Besides hosting a wedding, we had a bunch of friends over, including people from out-of-state (like this weekend) and good friends from where we used to live. Despite COVID, we still found ways to fellowship together, and it made the year so much better.
Designed a planner! By far the biggest art-related project I completed this year was designing a planner for Jill at theprariehomestead.com. I talked more about it in this post if you’re curious, but yeah. It was such a stressful yet incredible opportunity that taught me so much!
I read 65 books this year, including audiobooks. Here are a few of my favorites, not counting re-reads.
- The Gospel Comes with a House Key, by Rosaria Butterfield
- Wolf Hollow, by Lauren Wolk
- The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J. K. Rowling
- The Last Dragon, by Silvana de Mari
- The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy
- Truman, by David McCullough
- Augustine’s Confessions, by St. Augustine
- The Hole in Our Holiness, by Kevin DeYoung
I discovered the musical “Hamilton” this year, so I listened to that a ton. XD I also listened to a bunch of Switchfoot, NeedtoBreathe, JJ Heller, Cody Fry, and songs like these:
- “The Good Parts,” by Andy Grammer
- “Photograph,” by Cody Fry
- “You Already Know,” by JJ Heller
- “This Cup,” by Sara Groves
- “Flying,” by Cody Fry
- “Souvenirs,” by Switchfoot
- “Amanda,” by Johnnyswim
- “One Last Time,” from Hamilton
- “Rainbow Connection,” by Sleeping at Last
- “Child Again,” by NeedtoBreathe
- “When Your Feet Don’t Touch the Ground,” by Matthew Morrison
- “seven,” by Taylor Swift
- “Old Churchyard,” by the Wilin’ Jennys
- “Tightrope,” by Jon Guerra
- Followers – current: 9,358 (last year: 7,006)
- Posts Written: 49
- Words Written: 58,646
- Most popular post: The Ultimate List of Pen Pal Ideas (21,887 views?!)
Guys, I am blown away. *blows away* Hehe but seriously, I am so grateful for all the support you guys have given me this past year! Making posts for and chatting with you guys makes me so happy. ❤ I’m… not sure what else to say. Thanks. 🙂
Last Year’s Goals
- Take a short video each day. Last year I said, “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.” WELP. This was definitely an important and memorable year. I did in fact complete take a video each day, minus forgetting maybe two days. (*sniff*) I was going to show you guys the video but I’m not finished editing it and I need to post this awhile. Would you be interested in seeing it another time?
- Help with Aria’s wedding! YESSSSS! Seriously one of my favorite parts of the year! Again, click here to read all about my best friend’s wedding.
- Reach 200 sales on my Etsy shop and launch new custom listings. In fact, I reached 260+ sales, hooray! I didn’t add the particular custom listings I was planning, but I did add a bunch of other fun ones, especially stickers and art envelopes.
- Publish website. Check! It feels a little pointless right now, but here’s my portfolio website if you want to check it out.
- Finish Institutes [of Christian Religion] + start at least one other Great Book. Yep! Although I decided there are books that would probably benefit me more than Dad’s Great Books series, so I kind of stopped with the series…
- Read the whole Bible. YES! I’m so happy I completed this goal! To be honest, it’s easy for me to make excuses not to read the Bible, so having a reading plan and being able to see the Scriptures more as a whole rather than in one-chapter chunks was really, really good.
- Memorize through Romans 7. I’m getting close to finishing Romans 7, but I’m not quite there. Only nine more chapters to go after that, hehe.
- Make more meaningful art. Yep! I made a couple of pieces that actually had meaning and that I was proud of, plus, of course, working on the planner and other special commissions.
- Put people over projects. *sigh* You know, I don’t think I accomplished this very well. Especially with the planner, I kind of allowed my work to take over my life. It’s so hard for me to strike a balance between being responsible and accomplishing what I said I would do, and setting boundaries even when they can seem selfish (because they probably aren’t 😛 ). I realized this is not a checkbox kind of goal, but something I will probably have to work on my whole life and will continue to work on in the new year.
- Post flexibly. Well I was pretty inflexible in only posting once a week, but I did enjoy the slower posting schedule! I definitely don’t have time to post twice weekly like I used to, haha.
- Pursue goals with grace. I don’t know… maybe. The pandemic restrictions ruined so many plans that I had to learn that I simply can’t do everything I want to, you know? So in that way, yes, I have learned to hold my goals a little more loosely. Just a little.
This Year’s Goals
I don’t have as many goals this year. Maybe 2020 ruined that illusion. :’D Anyway, here are a few things I hope to work on in 2021.
- Refine my photo editing and stick to a few presets. My editing was all over the place this year, as you may have noticed. It’s not a terrible problem, but I would like to make a few presets style I can use cohesively instead of constantly creating new ones.
- Add new Etsy products regularly. I tended to leave my shop to its own devices this year, again, partly because of how much time I spent on the planner project. But I want to intentionally create new products and grow my shop – more tiny paintings, envelope art, and maybe something new!
- Continue to practice setting work boundaries. This is something I’ve always struggled with and it’s not going to magically disappear in a year. But God has graciously shown me that I need to be careful here. My projects are not the most important things in life.
- Practice contentment. Similarly, I want to work on being “present,” as in being content with what how my life is right now instead of longing for the past or being anxious about the future. Another goal that will last me a lifetime…
- Update blog design + pages. It’s been a while. I’m still fairly satisfied with the design… I mean, it works. But it’s time for a refresh.
- Create some online courses for you guys! This is my exciting announcement! A number of you have commented or emailed me, asking if I would ever make tutorials or courses or things like that. And this year, I want to start! I already teach art in person, but I’d like to share my tutorials with my blog readers and a wider audience, plus teach about photography, blogging, or other things you guys are interested in.
A Survey for You
Phew, we’re done! Thank you so much for reading this post and any other’s you’ve come along for this year. You guys have added so much joy to my year – thank you once again for being the best followers. ❤
How was your year? (Honestly!) What are some goals or things you’re looking forward to in 2021?
Thanks so much for reading, my friends, and have a lovely day!