2016 In Personal Retrospective

It’s been an amazing year.

It really has. It just has also been a roller coaster of ups and downs and sudden left turns I didn’t see coming. There were definitely times I had whiplash. But in the end, sitting here at my desk in a new house, listening to my children, I have a warm happy fuzzy feeling about it all. It’s not perfect. Life never is, and besides, if it were, where would be the incentive to learn, and grow, and improve?

On the writing front, it’s not been a productive year. My least productive since 2012, in that I put out a short story collection, and a novella. I’d planned more, but it wasn’t to be. Next year, I have plans and goals to meet, and they might not happen, either, but I’m not quitting writing. Never! I need to have that creative outlet. 

I did complete a year of doing art daily, with a few holes and missed days. I’m quite proud of that. I’m not sure it was a huge help to me as an artist, but I’m not sure it wasn’t, either. In the coming year, I will turn my focus from art to prose, but I have finally taken the step to produce prints in-house on demand, so you should start to see reasonably priced reproductions appear in my shop soon! And I’ll go back to taking photos more often. I was talking to a prospective web host, who is also a friend, and he was encouraging me not to quit, when I was apologizing for how image-heavy this site is. That felt good.

“Ink Fumes”
now available in signed prints, pick from 8×10″ or 11×14″

And school… was a challenge. It has been all along, but this year was exceptional, since, as I get into below, I had more family obligations than before. It all came to a climax in the second week of December, however, and then I walked up to a stage, had the pleasure of one of my favorite professors reading my name, while I held an empty folder. I still don’t have the actual paper – that’s supposed to arrive next month. A week after that, I found out what my final grades and GPA were. It was a bit nerve-wracking to make that walk without knowing for certain I’d passed all my classes! With school’s end, the next adventure started: job hunting. More on that these next few weeks, I’m sure.

One of the girls took this – not sure which one, they were trading the camera back and forth.

And family. Perhaps the most significant changes and challenges in my life came in the family department. At the beginning of 2016 the First Reader and I were still living like honeymooners (or broke college students) in a little run-down house, just the two of us and a dog. By the end, we’d moved into a significantly larger, nicer house, and there are five of us, and a dog. The in-between bits were quite an adventure, one that I won’t take the time to detail here. It’s been interesting, let’s just say, in the full sense of that word. The Eldest isn’t with us, but she is safe and happy with family, and that set my soul at ease for the first time in years.

I couldn’t have gotten to that moment without the First Reader’s support and encouragement. I love this man more than I can express.

We were delighted to host my mother, grandmother and sister for a few days. They flew in from Oregon for my graduation. Four generations getting together for that occasion, and the holiday, was a sweet and special treat. Such a blessing to be in the new house and be able to have them all under one roof with us. Depending on what happens with the job front, hopefully the next get-together can be out West.

Mom. me, my sister Juniper, Grandma, LM, the JMS, and OP.

Life is slowly finding it’s groove again, although it won’t truly settle into a routine until I’m working. But we can use a bit of peace, perhaps a little boredom, and certainly a chance to unwind and decompress after the events of this past year. Who know what 2017 holds? There are things I’m looking forward to, and concerned about… but that’s tomorrow’s post. Today, I am counting my blessings!

It’s been a good year. I’m blessed, and happy, and looking forward to what comes next. I couldn’t ask for more.