2017 in review

One Word 365 - Joy

It’s the end of the year already! How did that happen?!

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One of my favorite business gurus to follow is Tara Swiger. Last December, I joined her program called The Starship. Sadly, I haven’t used the program nearly as much as I could have, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned this year is that is as much as it is key plan and break things down into manageable steps, but to review, Review, REVIEW. She sends reminders every month and every quarter to review what your goals were. So that’s what I’m doing this week.

So how did 2017 go? I can sum it up in one word:


For some reason, the whole year had this gray uninspiring feel to it. Some of it had to do with a life-sucking project at my day job that surprised us in March and continued for more than 6 months. This leech has finally had its fill and its needs are just a trickle now. But what else happened?


Somehow my daughter continued to elude my attempts at keeping her young and turned 7 without our permission. We had a small gathering with a few of her friends at a local indoor playground. The theme she chose this year was mermaids, so Mama made the best cake possible – with melted chocolate mermaid tails and seashells, tongue-coloring blue frosting for water, and pulverized graham crackers for the sand.

7th birthday

She keeps losing teeth too. She’s lost five already and one more is hanging on – I’ll be surprised if the tooth fairy doesn’t come before New Year’s Day.

This year brought trips to visit family near Milwaukee and in Florida and camping trips with friends.  I attended a few yarny events with my mother while she was local/north.

I lost weight!!  Close to 20 lbs (it was 20 but you know … the holidays happened).  I’m planning to write a post about how I managed it soon.

I began reading again. I made the lofty goal of reading 100 books in 2017. I made it to 111 before other things took over in November and I wrote my own book!

I won NaNoWriMo 2017

Many were small novels – easily read in a couple of hours. Little Chick read more than twice that amount! I was trying to track all her home reading (once per book) but stopped around the same time. It got to be too hard as school and library books would come and go almost daily.


I published a whopsy (word compliments of The BFG) four designs this year – one of which you don’t know about because it’s under contract still.  If you compare that to the 34 designs I released in 2016, this year was a Big. Fat. Failure.

However … between the money I received for the contract design, the sales I had for the Indie Design Gift-a-long, and a couple of homesteading affiliate deals, I earned quite a bit more in income than the previous year.  Now granted, in 2016 I earned next to nothing, so even 8x that amount isn’t much – but it’s progress.  See that during my review was a big enlightenment!

I spent way more money than I should have on supplies – especially beads and findings for stitch markers. I probably have enough to sustain me for a couple of years! I even made a small stash of markers … and then didn’t make them available for sale.  I’m slowly getting the shop updated with my backlog.

A Simple Homestead

I didn’t write posts as much as I had originally planned – in fact, it was half the amount you’ve seen here in the last 3 years running. Some of that was due to the fact that I didn’t have as much crafting to share … because I wasn’t crafting as much!

We lost a couple of hens, including the beloved Opal. Now we’re down to just six.

Our garden did rather well. We learned a new way to trellis tomatoes and that growing potatoes is easy! We lost our fruit crops to insects or weather. Our area was hard-hit by major flooding in July, but thankfully it didn’t really affect us.

As I’ve done in the past, I have chosen a word for the year:

One Word 365 - Joy
JOY Definition

Joy is mentioned over 200 times in the bible (at least in the NIV translation), many of them as “shouts of joy” or “sing for joy”! Some of my favorites include:

  • The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. (Psalm 28:7)
  • When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. (Psalm 94:19)
  • Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. (John 16:24)
  • But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23a)
  • Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (James 1:2)

Last year I may have been happy at times but Joy was lacking which made the whole year feel Meh.

So how do I plan to live out JOY in 2018?

  1. By surrounding myself with people – those who make me smile and are encouraging.
  2. Holding on to my values and losing the fear of speaking out about them.
  3. Acknowledging gratitude for the good in my life.
  4. Doing the things I love.
  5. Finding purpose.
  6. Listening to my heart.
  7. Being open to change.
  8. Basking in simple pleasures.

Some specific plans I have include spending a week with my parents in Florida with Little Chick. Our visit will overlap with my sister and BIL’s visit … which usually results in laughing until crying (or other leakages. ahem). My sister’s birthday is shortly before our visit and Little Chick and I have plans for a fun, crafty cake for her.  For connecting with my husband – we have a weekend “date” planned in a couple of months to see Mark Gungor in his “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage”.

Old Bible Study

Stay rooted in The Word. This is key. I’ve spent more time “worried” about keeping up with bible studies than I have been reflecting what God might be saying to me.  So I need to find a way to have quiet time for contemplating.  That said, I am doing a study starting Jan 22, called “Defiant Joy”. It’s hosted over at Study Gateway with the author Candace Payne. Or for those that have seen the video – “Chewbacca Mom” (I didn’t realize she was a Christian author!).  It sounds like it won’t be a fast-based reading and I’m also not going to worry about keeping up if it’s a struggle.

I want to hold a party. Nothing elaborate, but we haven’t spent much time with several friends that we’ve known for decades, and it bothers me. I also need to plan visits with a couple of friends and family (aunts/uncles) that are further away.

I’m going to do a lot more crafting this year. As I mentioned, I didn’t do as much in 2017 as in previous years. That needs to change – both professionally (designing) and because I need the stress relief. Little Chick LOVES crafting with Mama on the weekends and as she ages it’s easier to have her do more complex crafts. This weekend our plan is to make pom pom bunnies. Wish me luck!

I want to keep reading, but I may not do as much as last year. I was reminded recently I have a large stash of non-fiction books to wade through. It’s harder to find the gumption to curl up on the couch under warm blankets with one of those as they require thinking and processing, but I should either read them or let them loose into the wild.

new design collage - ASimpleHomestead

I’m going to release more designs.  In 2016 I made myself deadlines and a publication schedule.  Although I almost burned out from it all when things got backed up due to issues, I need to do that again if I’m going to push forward.  This time I’ll just add more “wiggle” room.  My accountability partner, Novella from MadeByNovella, and I have worked up a couple of collaboration ideas that hopefully will come to fruition in the new year.

I’m going to post more so you know what’s happening in my life!  Just like the designing, it appears I need to make myself an actual calendar-type schedule to follow.

How did 2017 treat you – and do you have goals for the new year?

Feel free to comment or email me – I love hearing from you!

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