Thursday, December 31, 2015

Thoughtful About . . . the Old Year, and the New

I know, I know. Every blogger in the whole blogosphere is reflecting now on the exit of 2015 and the entrance of her baby sister. But under the firm belief that reflection is good for the soul, I must join in. ;-)

As I look back over 2015, I see a year full to bursting with moments, milestones, and new missions that won't just pass into history with the dawn of a new year.

This year, the very first novel I wrote saw publication, after 20 years of revisions and rewrites, and after 9 other published novels. I can't quite explain how that feels, to have poured so much love into a project over so long, starting when I was twelve, and finally hold the finished project in my hands. It's exhilarating. And it's humbling. And it's terrifying. Because now my very first baby is out in the world, and there are people who love it and people who hate it, people who judge those characters who have been so close to me for so long...yeah. But for all the negatives that come with putting out one's work, they've got nothing on the positives. Thank you, Bethany House, for making this dream come true and pushing me to make this last version the best one by far!

This year, my designing took off in ways I honestly hadn't expected. By my quick calculations, I designed over 60 book covers in 2015. For someone who thought she'd just take on freelance projects for some fun and extra cash, it's been big fun and quite a blessing. I so love all the new writers and publishers I've gotten to meet through this, the new relationships formed, new discoveries made. God has really blessed me through this designing gig, and I'm so grateful to Him for the opportunities He provided.
Xoe in the Nutcracker -
I would post one of Rowyn,
but he refuses to be captured
on camera!

This year, my kids have grown up on me! Okay, not fully. But Xoe is 10. Double-digits. And starting to look like a young lady. And sometimes I just want to, as my mother always threatened, put a brick on their heads so they stop growing! It's so cool to watch these fun little people learn and laugh and become who they are. They're in 5th and 2nd grades now, and being their teacher continues to be something that wears me out but fills me up. I love being a homeschooling mom!

My post-Christmas project

This year, I took up knitting. Technically, this fall. And I am totally hooked! I made a lot of Christmas gifts this year--and as gifts, I received yarn, circular needles, blocking mats, and giddiness as I got to dive in and create some new projects--like the boot toppers for my mom, above.

This year, my husband started chasing his dream. He's long been interested in TV and film, and this year he took the first steps toward learning how to produce it. He went on two mission trips to Bulgaria in 2015, in March and October. During the second one, he visited a refugee camp with camera in hand and a heart to hear the stories of the refugees, and he came back with interviews that have become his first film. Along the Path is finished and ready for viewing; I'll post a link next week. I'm so crazy-proud of this guy, who has always said that his calling is to help others reach their calling. It led him to start the Appalachian Relief Mission, took him an ocean away twice so far, and fills him with purpose. One of my greatest honors this year, and one of my biggest goals for 2016, is to support him in his dreams as he has always supported me in mine.

This year, my focus hasn't changed much on the outside...but it's changed a lot on the inside. Somehow, in the last few years, I've stopped caring about the things that surround me. I just want to be the woman God has made me. I just want to serve Him. I just want to help others know Him better.

And this year ended with a joy I'm not at liberty to share just yet. ;-) But it's a promise of stories to come and a 2016 filled with words, and it made this holiday season pretty darn bright for me!


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