Goodbye 2017.

Here I sit, this last day of 2017, facing my computer with a bowl full of chocolate chips. There are many things on my mind as this year draws to a close, and I'm juggling my feelings of pride and disappointment as I ponder our successes and my perceived failures over the past year. 

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In no particular order, this year was full of so many triumphs... 

  • My husband graduated from the police academy and found his professional calling as a police officer.
  • We lived our first full year in the most beautiful rental home we've ever lived in.
  • We clawed our way out of the pit of financial poverty and can now look back on our darkest years with humility, wisdom, and gratefulness.
  • We ushered in ages 32, 29, 11, 9, 5, and 2.
  • We began our 7th year of homeschooling.
  • I opened up my first successful online shop.
  • We completed several book series, including Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia and (almost) The Lord of the Rings.
  • Our oldest boy has grown leaps and bounds in his academic independence.
  • Our second boy has taught me that school can be laid back and he will still absorb everything like a sponge.
  • Our third boy started Kindergarten and reminded me how eager the littlest souls are to learn.
  • Our fourth boy has started unwrapping his unmatched personality in the funniest ways.

I am overwhelmed by the growth we've made this year and also eager to move forward. Like most people I have many expectations for the days ahead but I'm wrestling with myself to make them practical and attainable.

My hopes for the upcoming year include...

  • Reading more for my personal growth.
  • Expanding our frontiers as a family by taking our boys camping.
  • Honing my skills as a home maker and practicing the art of home with passion and grace.
  • Practicing and refining my craft as an artist... not being afraid to take risks and try new mediums.
  • Diving head first back into the world of writing, to fill my blog with my heart.
  • To avoid commercialism in my online space... to pour out my heart and keep this space pure and free of impractical quick fix schemes, overrated tutorials, or unnecessary pop ups or affiliate links.
  • To find my voice and understand my audience more deeply.
  • To leave fear in 2017 and move bravely and boldly into 2018.

I've not been able to write much in this online space because I have struggled so much with not knowing what to say. What do I have to share? What do my readers want to hear?

I thought I would know the answer by the end of the year but it still seems to elude me. But I'm afraid I'll just have to accept that if I don't start somewhere, it will never go anywhere.

At this point in time I feel like I am on the brink of something, but what is over the edge I just cannot say. So I will end 2017 with the hope that I can boldly capture my voice and my path in 2018. And I hope that by this time next year I will be shocked at the distance I have come.

If you've read this far this year, you're probably one of very few. But let's meet back up this time next year and compare notes... my guess is you and I both will have come a long, long way.

Happy New Year, friend.

-Ashley