For those that have followed this blog all these years, you may remember that it usually takes me a while to look back on the previous year and officially (in my mind, at least) “close it out.” My end of year posts are meant to simply appreciate the previous year’s blessings and struggles, celebrate and learn from them, and move on.
Usually, it takes me several days to do this for some reason. Last year, for instance, I did my wrap up post well into January. Last year I was especially excited to be entering 2020. Little did I know what 2020 would bring for us all. I cannot say it was all bad, because that would be ignoring the every day blessings that God gives us, but it was a challenge. And as we know, even then we need to be thankful, because God is blessing us in ways we cannot see, helping us grow even though it is painful, and pulling us from comfort so we can further rely on Him.
Usually in posts like this, I do a wrap up of all the highlights from my art and writing over the past year. The wrap ups are then a place to come and get acquainted if you’re new around these parts, and while I will still add a few items, I’ll also add a personal note. As I write this, the death of my father-in-law is still so fresh and raw that I cannot see beyond it. Here is the post I shared about his death.
His death was a blow, and yet the way he passed was a blessing. It was peaceful and filled with love. I do believe that the quiet moments my husband and I spent with him as we held his hands were the biggest gift God could have given us this year. He was a true friend to me and at the end told me he loved me as his only daughter, which meant everything to me. We talked often and he freely showed emotion with me and welcomed my tears during the hard times. I will forever miss him and the only thing that brings me comfort is that I do believe he is with God and I will see him again.
Dad was also very supportive of my creative business. When I entered the family I had come off a 20-year background in marketing, and we talked about entrepreneurship and building a business. As I moved from marketing to freelance writing to full-time creative entrepreneur, he was interested in all the ways I developed new products, promoted my works, and gained followers.
The year 2020 changed everything about my business. Shows were canceled, shops closed, exhibits were ended or went online, and I was not able to get out and sell my work as I would have normally. During the one show I was able to do, we offered hand sanitizer and encouraged masks.
Exhibits continued in a different and limited way in 2020. I was especially grateful to be in the “Happiness” Exhibit at the Cedarburg Cultural Center (where one of my art globes and my first-ever sculpture were shown) and the Art Annual at the Neville Museum in Green Bay, where my painting “The Blessing of Work” was shown.
Art globes and sculptures were, in fact, new for me this year. I was branching out, trying new things as this challenging year filled with social distancing and sheltering in place continued. I was especially proud of my globe entitled “Worldwide Sisterhood,” which was shown at the Anderson Arts Center in Kenosha, WI.
Writing poetry has been a constant of mine since I was little, and in the last few years I’ve illustrated them in different ways, including video. This year that included “The Difference Now,” “Encourager” and “I Show You My Shame.” I released a book of new poetry called “Belonging.”
Live Sales and Other Stuffs
If there is one thing I never thought I would do, it is go LIVE on Facebook to sell my work. But 2020 was a unique year with all that. I did a few LIVE sales and was grateful for everyone who tuned in. (This is not easy for someone like me, ya’ll! I’m happy for those who gave me grace with that adventure.)
I was able to create several new ecourses, including a free one that focused on fear and anxiety and what the Bible says about some of those things. That ecourse in particular seemed especially important (to me) this year, given how much fear and anxiety I felt. I needed to hold on to my faith even stronger than before.
I was able to do a small show this year and had the thrill of meeting the creator of the Beastie, Dennis Pearson.
Puzzles and Garden Flags
Functional art is a big part of my business. This year I developed puzzles that sell in various stores and online, including at the Milwaukee Art Museum, as well as garden flags, calendars, laptop sleeves, and bunting. I also added new pillows and phone covers.
As always, I am hopeful for the future, but mindful that now, this moment and this day, are what really matter. I will continue to try to be encouraging in this dark world, and find ways to be a blessing and grow closer to God. That is the only thing that matters. If this year has shown us anything, it is how much we need our Lord.