happy new year, peeps
Most of y’all won’t remember my Welcome to 2021 post, but to sum up, I did a lot of praising God for His many blessings, for protecting my family, for providing for us in 2020. And I’m not saying that 2021 wasn’t a good year—it was, and I am beyond thankful for God showing up and showing out—but it definitely didn’t end as expected.
On Christmas Eve morning, the day we celebrate with my mom’s side of the family, my grandmother was rushed to the hospital in the middle of having a massive heart attack that should have killed her. After being flown out to St. Vincent’s in Jacksonville, she received two stents in her right bypass and will have stents put into her left bypass sometime this month or early the next. She came home on the 26th, and she’s doing so well, you’d think she’d only pulled a muscle!
That was...it was crazy, y’all. That was my mom’s first Christmas without her parents and my first Christmas without my nana and papa (or any of my grandparents, actually, since my dad’s parents don’t celebrate Christmas). Despite that, all of uncles, aunt, and all of my cousins were able to get together this year not only for Christmas but also to be there for Nana. (It’s a rarity that we’re all together on Christmas Eve these days, since my cousins have wild schedules and one uncle is an NCIS agent and the other lives in Denmark.) But thanks to all of my amazing friends and family praying and God’s grace and mercy, she’ll be all right.
I’m just glad she’s still with us. So many of my family and friends have lost loved ones—including my papa’s sister earlier this summer and my dear friend’s father this fall. Life is a fragile thing and not to be frittered away—but keep in mind that our life on this earth is only a shadow, a mere reflection, of our eternity in Heaven.
In the middle of all this happening, my four-year-old sister had an allergic reaction to a bee sting and my dad’s parents were robbed. Let’s just say that I’ll never forget Christmas 2021!
A lot of things transpired last year, some of which were awesome and others that were...not so awesome (not including the above).
One of the not-so-awesome things was my dual-enrollment classes with my local tech school. Back in 2019, I took some online core classes with a college a couple hours away, and I’d planned on continuing with that school until I graduated from high school, thereby receiving my associate’s degree. However, the law changed, cutting back the dual-enrollment hours that the government pays for, making it kind of pointless to keep on taking those classes if I wasn’t prepared to continue furthering my education after high school and, well, paying for it (spoiler alert: I wasn’t).
So I took 2020 off from dual-enrollment (which was for the best) and did my research, finally settling on tech school and a TCC in small business marketing management. A TCC is a technical certificate of credit, and it basically amounts to a traditional degree in all that you learn, as well as preparation for immediately entering the workforce upon completing the required courses. To be honest, I haven’t enjoyed these classes as much as I did the core classes I took, and I’ve encountered a LOT of issues with my professor, BUT I am learning and growing (even if I feel like I’m teaching myself sometimes) and I will have a lot of knowledge to put towards marketing my books and maybe even doing some freelance work in the future.
Although I was supposed to be able to complete all my courses in one semester, one class was offered in the spring and the other one, which was supposed to be available in spring too, is actually offered in the fall, so it’ll take me three semesters to finish only five classes. *groans* I’m not too adept at time management and all, though, so it’s for the best.
Anyway, that’s been a struggle (can’t tell y’all how many times I’ve complained to my parents, grandparents, and friends about it), and I hate how sensitive I am to the stress of school (not that constantly PMSing helps any), but it’ll be worth it in the end.
ON A HAPPIER NOTE. My family has been longing to visit the crystal blue waters of the Gulf Coast for YEARS, and we finally got to do so this summer! Granted, the good beaches were crowded and it rained a couple days and the water is not very pretty at 6 in the morning...but I’m glad we went! We’ll probably stick to day trips instead of week trips from now on, though. Packing nine people into a car, driving for 5+ hours, and cramming ourselves into a rental house isn’t necessarily our preferred method of vacationing.
Besides, I haven’t been to Summer Waves in, like, more than two years, and I’m dying to get on Pirate’s Passage again and try out Man-o-War! (Y’all know I’d be a Summer Waves fan with rides with names like that! *winks*)
As I was nearing the end of the year—it was perhaps sometime in November—I looked back on what all I had done and despaired because I felt like I’d accomplished nothing. So, I pulled out my planner and starting jotting down all the things I did and projects I took on and things I tried. What better than sharing the highlights from that list with y’all!
(For context, my goals when I began 2021 were (1) publish Bound and Determined, (2) dual-enroll, and (3) get my driver’s license. I’m actually intentionally holding off on getting my license until next year, so that I’ll get more practice in and my sister and I can go together to get her learner’s and my driver’s.)
Published Six O’clock. I actually wrote this story for a contest back in October/November of 2020. When I didn’t win, I decided to release it on Kindle in the late winter/early spring of last year.
Published Daylight. Armed with my street team and some amazing beta readers, I went for my first full-on launch when this short story released on 9/11. Plus, I got the chance to try out a new publishing method!
Had a short story published in Imagine: A Collection of Poems and Stories from the Teen Writers’ Nook Family. I took a chance on this, choosing to write a short story for my friends’ anthology instead of for Story Ember’s contest. In the end, I am SO glad I decided to write and submit Cursed!
Completed three of five classes with my tech school (see above).
Interned for six months with Kingdom Pen. This included writing and critiquing articles, which was a great learning experience!
Launched Book Nations, a blog all about writing Christian fiction!
Updated my website. This was no small undertaking. I completely revamped my website and added so many new features—plus, I got the chance to refine my brand and update my image too!
Wrote 13 installments in Reign. Around March/April, I started publishing a chapter a week in my fantasy story...suffice it to say that I was starting to get tired of the story (not to mention I needed to work on Bad) and ended up stopping at 14 installments. I finally took the story down and will probably get around to finishing it and publishing it one day.
Beta/alpha read nine books—actually, it may be more like eleven. *shrugs * Some of the books I got to beta read were Calligraphy Guild by R. M. Archer, The House That Didn’t End by E. K. Seaver, and At Her Fingertips by Kellyn Roth!
Among many other things that I’ll not bore you with, I just recently started making and selling premade covers here on my website! Well, technically, I haven’t sold any...yet...but I’m having fun designing them and can’t wait to start marketing them more heavily (or marketing them to begin with).
Right now, I have a TON of things I want to do in 2022, but I won’t dare list them all here (there are way too many), nor will I hold myself to accomplishing all of them. The main things, though, are as follows:
Publish Bound and Determined (for real this time). I should have this baby finished up by the end of this month, Lord willing!
Get my driver’s license (again, for real).
Get my TCC in small business marketing management.
Release my first issue of Sky’s the Limit Literary Journal (it’s more of a magazine, but journal sounds cooler).
Launch an editing business with my friend E. K. Seaver.
I’d also like to get into podcasting, bookstagramming (which is a word), and YouTubing (that’s a word too, peeps), but I make no promises (I have a survey here if you'd like to offer your thoughts)! There are also some things I’d like to introduce (or at least include more of on my blog), but I’m also probably gonna be cutting back on how often I post (nothing drastic like thrice a month, mind you), so I’m not sure how that’ll work out.
Plus, I’m trying to get into a steady posting schedule for Book Nations—one spotlight, one guest post, one article by me, and one author interview once a week every month—but that all depends on how far ahead I’m able to get the interviews and guest posts put together.
I also have a very special project I hope to begin research on as soon as I can...I’d love to tell y’all more, but at this juncture, I’m zipping my lips. *winks* It’ll be a huge undertaking, and one I’m not prepared for at the moment, so I’m simply preparing to enter the preparation stage right now. But suffice it to say that it is going to be amazing and I can’t wait to share more!
Anyway, enough about me! What about y’all? What did y’all accomplish in 2021? How was your year? Did you enjoy your Christmas? Did you get all the books you wanted? What are your goals for 2022? I want all the details!
Before I sign off (which my new signature, as a matter of fact), I have something special I'd like to share with you. A lot of my friends/fellow bloggers do pick a word for the new year, one that symbolizes what God has placed on their heart and what they feel the upcoming year will bring.
Now, I'd like to do the same, but I (1) want to be unique and (2) couldn't pick just one word.
So, instead, I'm introducing...
Scripture of the Year
I was gonna go with Verse of the Year, but the passage that spoke to me the most is actually three verses - Psalm 91: 14-16. My mama has tasked my siblings and I with reading Psalm 91 every day, for multiple reasons. One of which being how pertinent this passage is - both in the days we're in right now and because of what our family has experienced in recent weeks.
So, instead of trying to sum up 365 days in a single word, I'd like to offer y'all a reminder that will last all 365 days and will remain as unchanging and relevant each of those days.
“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
I hope this stands as a reminder to y'all of God's steadfast love and enduring salvation, how we are covered from head to toe in the blood of Christ, which is a promise of eternity, righteous, protection, and peace.
God will be with you in 2022. He will deliver you from whatever comes your way - anything from a robbery to a heart attack. He will protect you from pestilences, danger, disease, and pain. He will answer you when you call out and He will be with you in trouble, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant the issue or how large and insurmountable. He will rescue you from the toxicity of this world and honor you for standing upon Him and His Word. He will satisfy you with a life of abundance and make His salvation, His works in your life, and His presence with you more clear than ever before.
May you have a blessed year and may you never doubt the promises of God!
Yours in spirit and script,
PS: No one guessed what my January theme is (the clue was wet and colorful, but not a rainbow)...which is watercolor! Technically, the pic I used for today's post graphic isn't watercolors...it's sketches, but it's from a collection by Pure Julia on Unsplash full of watercolors, sketches, journals, and other beautiful designs that I simply adore!