Every year I do a wrap up of sorts. I look back on the previous year and reflect on things I’ve noticed or learned. I don’t do a theme or “word of the year” like some do. I guess I’m not that organized. But I do like to reflect for a moment before I can mentally move forward and as always, this happens a few weeks into the new year. I guess I’m pokey that way.
So as I look back at 2014 I see lots of different things. Isn’t it funny how every year has its own personality? I guess that’s why some people give their years a theme word. I don’t do that. As much as I like words, I prefer to let my year speak for itself. Every year sort of gives me its theme word at the end. But just one? No. A writer cannot live by one word alone.
Like for 2013 I’d say my words were “gratitude” and “faith.” I had so many moments centered on faith, but then again, every year could really be described that way. How would I get through it all without that?
See what I mean about choosing just one word?
Since I haven’t done that yet, I won’t start now. I will tell you that I have a couple goals in mind. That’s always a little scary to put out there because life can change and your goals might make a right turn when you hadn’t expected them to. Still, I look at my vision board often and focus on the things I want for my life and career.
Last year I pondered on what 2014 might bring, and said:
“I want to do more art this year. I want to continue to write. I want to continue to pick up clients and maintain my freelance writing business, which includes other ways to make a living as a creative entrepreneur.”
I did that. More art and got an agent to license it. Forgot I used the phrase creative entrepreneur but I like it.
Change has been a constant in my life for the last several years. I suppose everyone has this, but I’ve felt very pushed and pulled around in different directions. We had our share of personal challenges… medical bills, car problems, health issues… we changed jobs and added clients and moved and it has seemed like I’m always running to catch up but still falling wildly behind.
We’ve dealt with personal challenges and sadness and heartbreak. There are things I can only speak of with the people closest to me, because the pain is so deep. But through it all, we kept God at the center. I’ve been delighted with Him, as I should be, and angry with Him at times, which I shouldn’t. I’ve turned to Him again and again and in 2014 He helped me turn a few emotional corners that I have struggled with for years.
I’ve been asked many times about why I speak so boldly about my past. Don’t I worry about being ridiculed? Judged?
I don’t worry about these things, and not just because worry is a useless emotion. I know people will judge and ridicule. Some of them, anyway. I hear it. Some people use the things I say against me, to put a label on me that is meant to make me feel unworthy and shamed.
But God gives me the strength to tell the truth and not be defined by it. Sure, I still struggle with some things, I always will have obstacles to overcome, but I look at where I am, sitting in the midst of this beautiful life, this marriage I’m grateful for, this creative life I never thought I’d have, friends who I cherish, family who I love… and I see how He’s pulled me through. 2014 was filled with more change… but God has been there with me.
Gratitude and Peace and Faith
Peace and faith and gratitude. These three all comes in different forms and all relate to each other. Gratitude has been one of the most positive forces in my life, especially the last couple of years. Totally transforming and the active practice of it has made me even more focused on the things that are important.
This year I tried to visually take in moments of gratitude. To really stop and notice it and thank God for it. Instagram was great for documenting some of these, and I paid homage to peace in my craft projects and art. We celebrated a new tradition on New Year’s Day by reading the gratitude notes we had written to each other from the previous year.
I’ve received some wonderful feedback on the series-type posts I do. I continued my stuff I love posts, and always get funny, sweet, and awesome feedback on them. I love blogging about my art, because I’ve been sharing how its changed, how I’ve experimented and failed and succeeded, and you all have been so encouraging through every bit of it.
In 2014 I started a series of illustrated poems. The poems I used were all really old ones of mine but they were well received, so I’ll do a few more of these going forward.
You all seemed to get a kick out of my list of “cool things” (which are items you can’t work for, they just have to happen) and I added five more to my list in 2014.
Since I used the words “creative entrepreneur” above, I’ll continue and talk about the business end of things. It’s not all being creative and making art. That would be great, actually, but the reality is that I have to make money at it or I can’t do it. (It’s that needing to pay bills thing.)
I didn’t start any new blogs in 2014. How’s that for a change? But I did drop my tips-based lifestyle blog (21 simple things) and will be looking more seriously at streamlining my creative pursuits. You can only do so much.
In 2014 I talked about some of the silly things I’ve done in the name of book promotion, resurrected my newsletter after a long hiatus, and also redid most of my book covers. Oh man, did those book covers need an update! I also did a Twitter chat with BBC America, joined Instagram, and released a poetry book called My Soul Is From a Different Place. My blog turned 8 years old and my first ever poetry book turned ten.
This year we moved and I couldn’t do as many glass sculptures as I would have liked, but I did manage to do one pretty cobalt blue sculpture that sits in my kitchen now.
I also started making mini canvases to hang in my office, an afghan for our living room (or for the dog, you decide), and a mixed media quilt I just adore.
Hello Out There!
I’m always amazed at the kindness of you! I named one of my poetry books Yes, You as a way to acknowledge the blessings of having readers who get your mission, share your faith, and help promote your work.
This past year I talked about why I love my readers so much.
2015? I have no idea what it will bring. I could say it would be fun to have not to so much change and turmoil in our lives but I know things just don’t work that way. So I’ll say this, I’d like to stay the course, build on all that my husband and I have worked for. I’d like to create art that reaches people’s souls and is licensed on things that bring joy to people, remind them about God’s love. I’d like to write a novel that is so fabulous half of America cannot put it down. LOL! Well, a girl can dream…
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