When each year comes to a close there are a number of stats I like to look back on as a tool for looking back on the year as a whole. I like to see how many books I read in a year, I like to know how much music I listened to compared to other years and note how my tastes have shifted and grown. I also like to see how my garden has grown. I make a collage for my butterfly garden every month so it is easy to track its growth.
As I looked at my garden collages for 2017 and compared my garden with the start of this year to its close, I was amazed in a deeper way at the difference a year makes, finding in my garden a metaphor for my soul.
In January, my garden was frozen and dead. Moldy vines hung limp from the once beautiful arbor. Everything was brown and brittle.
Then one day I got tired of looking out every day at what was dead and gone. So I went out and tore down with my own hands all that was dead, vine by vine, and burned it all. For a long time I felt as empty, raw, and vulnerable as my barren garden.
But once I let go and moved on, my garden, slowly but surely, came to life again.
Green sprung from roots I thought dead–deep roots not reached by the frost, reminding me that God is able and gracious to “restore the years that the locusts have eaten.”
Seasons have come and gone.
I entered into 2017 as a part-time nanny and I left it as a cosmetology student.
I lost many friends to moves last year and gained several new ones. In 2017 I traveled to six countries in the Caribbean on a cruise with my family and to Scotland and London as a nanny.
I played Mary Poppins with my siblings for a week while our parents traveled to Zambia. I roadtripped with a caravan of dear friends to Arizona for the Building Tomorrow’s Church conference. My family mourned the loss of our Mema, my last living great-grandparent.
I experienced Hurricane Harvey, a solar eclipse, and the Astros winning the World Series. Brother-Dear and I completed 9 months of dance lessons. My family buried our dog, Chase, of 12 years. I went to Six Flags and the Houston Rodeo and saw Alan Jackson live in concert. Our house got a makeover with new paint, laminate wood floors, and a gorgeous patio. I wrapped up a year of learning and teaching Latin with my middle brother. My orange hair deepened to 6R red and bounces on my shoulders instead of trickling down my back.
I started writing and blogging here again and taught music theory at a co-op. I clocked 750 cosmo hours, putting me HALF WAY through school. I have three regular weekly clients and am looking at a summer/fall graduation date. I turned 23 and my younger siblings have turned 19, 15, 12, 8, and 6. Then right at the close of the year, one of my dear friends got married, making me a bridesmaid for the first time. (And I caught her bouquet–another first!) I also sprained my ankle on my birthday in October and was in a boot for 11 weeks.
What a year.
Some plants in my garden have died while new ones have sprung up. But the steadfast love of the LORD endures forever.
Two constants remain in my life: my family and my church. These are and will always be my greatest loves out of everything I am and do.
Welcome 2018, I look forward to seeing what you have in store.
Here is a look at some more stats from 2017!
MY BLOG 2017:
For the bulk of 2017, this blog was dormant but
from September 20th to December 31st,
I published FIFTEEN blog posts!!
Here they are again, if you missed any:
MY TOP TEN VIEWED POSTS OF 2017:
Home Page/Archives: 507
Ask Me Anything: 143
Hello Again: 110
About Me: 70
Considering that my blog was inactive for the first 8.75 months of the year, I am very excited about these stats!! Thank you to everyone who read, followed, commented and shared my blog posts from 2017. I appreciate it so much! This is a great encouragement to me in my writing.
I am so glad Spotify Year in Review is back! Here are my stats for 2017:
This is not to mention the many hours of listening to my local country radio stations, 99.3 The Bull and The New 93Q, I have logged on my 1/2 hour drive to and from school!
My music stats are always skewed by the playlist I have for my siblings that we listen to on Mondays when I take them to piano lessons and other times when they ride with me. Hence the reason why John R. Erickson (Hank Songs) is in my top 5. 😂
Instead of these 5 top artists, I’d say these 5 are my actual TOP ARTISTS OF 2017:
Mumford & Sons
Instead of the tracks that I listened to the most in 2017, here is a list of the tracks that meant the most to me in 2017. The ones that came on the radio or my shuffled Spotify tracks and I “turned it up to 11,” the ones that had me crying or jamming at a stop light, the ones that made me 3 minutes late because I couldn’t turn my engine off until they were over.
This is my year in 7 music tracks:
And here is a look at my
2017 READ LIST from Goodreads:
I also BETA READ five short stories by my dear friend, Abby Jones:
Bert and the Beggar Sparrow (25 pages)
Fighting Sullivans (40 pages)
Passing Through (2 pages)
Pile (2 pages)
Ragnarok (2 pages)
In Total: 71 pages
As a side note, Abby has launched a new website for her writing. As her unofficial marketing agent, I am highly recommending that you subscribe. 😉 I was so excited to see her story Ragnarok published in Havok magazine last July!! Also check out her Patreon page here.
And finally, my stats from POCKET of which I am once again, in the top 5% of users.
MY TOTAL BOOKS READ IN 2017: 52
All in all, I am surprised by how much I read this year, all things considered. I read way more than I thought I had, which is encouraging, especially considering how busy 2017 was for me with traveling and starting cosmetology school full-time. I try to read on my lunch breaks but I only read a chapter at most, usually less. It takes me two months to get through books that once upon a time, I would have read in a week. But I /am/ getting some reading in. Listening to audio books on my road trip to Arizona and during my month and a half working in my school’s junior room on a mannequin also helped raise those numbers.
My FAVORITE BOOKS I READ IN 2017 were:
The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures
I hope to eventually review A Series of Unfortunate Events and The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures in 2018. I found the reflections on the darker side of life and human nature in these books fascinating and compelling.
I am CURRENTLY READING:
The Zookeeper’s Wife
A Pilgrim’s Progress (with my church’s Sunday School study)
What is the Mission of the Church? (with my church’s Sunday School study)
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (a read-aloud with my younger sibs)
The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter (a read-aloud with my youngest two siblings)
Besides finishing these, here is a list of
BOOKS I HOPE TO READ IN 2018:
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs
The Faerie Queen
The Hunger Games Trilogy
The Hiding Place
Reformation Women, Rebecca VanDoodewaard
The Sparrow and the Star (hint-hint, Abby 😜)
Better than the Beginning: Creation in Biblical Perspective, Rich Barcellos
Recovering a Covenantal Heritage: Essays in Baptist Covenant Theology
The Lord’s Supper as a Means of Grace: More Than a Memory, Rich Barcellos
Holding Communion Together: The Reformed Baptists, the First 50 Years—Tom Chantry
God Without Passions, Sam Renihan
By Common Confession: Essays in Honor of James. M. Renihan
Confessing the Impassible God: The Biblical, Classical, & Confessional Doctrine of Divine Impassibility
All That Is In God, James E. Dolezal
In 2018 I hope to reintroduce more biographies and theology books into my regular reading while keeping up my fiction. The theology books in particular are something I have really missed and look forward to reincorporating, focusing on works published by the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies (IRBS) and circulated through the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America (ARBCA) and the Texas Area Association of Reformed Baptist Churches (TAARBC), both of which my church is a member.
(Below: Brother-Dear and I ringing in the new year with friends from church)